Policy discussion for STI requires perspectives of future society and a prospect of cutting-edge S&T. NISTEP attempts to see the tomorrow that S&T and its achievements can bring by developing new methods for envisioning the future. NISTEP also utilizes external networks to uncover cutting-edge S&T trends that are emerging in spheres and fields throughout the world.

Science and Technology Foresight

Since 1971, large-scale science and technology foresight surveys have been conducted roughly every five years in Japan. These surveys are designed to gain a picture of what S&T will look like in the future. NISTEP has been implementing these surveys since the fifth survey in 1992.
NISTEP’s science and technology foresight surveys are characterized by their long horizons, broad participation and diversified perspectives. They take a medium- to long-term forward view of 30 years, gain the participation of numerous experts, and utilize broad-ranging discussions that take into account the views of not only the seeds side (i.e., scientists and engineers) but also the demand side, including humanities and social science experts. Combining a variety of methods, NISTEP provides visions of the ideal society and then identifies S&T that can realize those visions. NISTEP also develops new methods that the future is likely require.
NISTEP works to enhance international networks concerned with foresight activities by participating in international projects and training young researchers from emerging countries. All of these activities make NISTEP a global leader in the field.

Society in which various diagnostic technologies and systems are incorporated in daily life and health maintenance by individuals has started to prevail

Society where individuals proactively contribute to global warming prevention and environmental preservation

Society where people have begun to cope with various disasters

Surveys and research

Science and technology foresight reports

Roughly every five years since the fifth survey in 1992, NISTEP has been conducting large-scale surveys to identify medium- to long-term directions for a broad range of S&T fields. For the ninth survey (2010), NISTEP combined Delphi, scenario and workshop methods to form a vision of the ideal society and then study S&T and social systems that can help realize the vision. The results were compiled into three-volume report. The summary report provides an outline of these activities together with an integrated analysis.

International activities related to science and technology foresight

NISTEP engages in information-sharing, discussions on future directions of S&T foresight, improvement of foresight methods, and other relevant matters with experts from overseas organizations. Its international contributions include carrying out training programs for emerging countries, etc. and dispatching lecturers.

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Science and Technology Trends

NISTEP conducts surveys and performs analysis on such matters as changes in the orientation of science and technology R&D in each field and sector, R&D issues to be tackled in the future, and the various elements of S&T systems and issues concerning them. When conducting these surveys, in addition to engaging in independent information-gathering and analysis, NISTEP works with external experts by, for example, holding lecture meetings to which experts are invited and using the S&T Experts Network operated by the Science and Technology Foresight Center.

NISTEP attempts to analyze movements in specific fields and sectors to a deeper level by comparing research trends in the world and Japan, extracting problems in the area of human resources development, and studying changes in universities’ intellectual property activities and in international mobility. Through such analysis, NISTEP seeks to illuminate problems and encourage debate toward their resolution.

Surveys and research

Detailed analyses of specific fields

NISTEP publishes the bimonthly journal Kagaku Gijutsu Doko, which presents the latest trends in specific fields as well as in-depth analysis of development trends in specific fields, R&D issues requiring attention, and requirements for social systems. It also publishes Science & Technology Trends—Quarterly Review, which contains English translations of these analyses. NISTEP selects the themes of reports appearing in these publications based on their social impact, including their potential contribution to solving social issues.

Surveys and research on research trends

NISTEP conducts surveys and performs analysis of international changes in research orientations and conditions in Japan from various perspectives, including changes in research fields, problems concerning human resource development and mobility, and intellectual property.

To Library (List of Survey/Research Achievements)

The Science and Technology Foresight Center operates a network comprised of some 2,000 experts for use in S&T-related questionnaire surveys and other activities. The network is always looking for highly specialized participants from all fields. If you are interested in becoming part of the network, please contact the Science and Technology Foresight Center (stfc@nistep.go.jp).

The S&T Experts Network


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