12 Dec 2013

Task Force Put in Gear to Move Okinawa R&D Cluster Forward

Contributing to the self-sustaining development of Okinawa, along with the equally important task of contributing to the advancement of science and technology worldwide, is a core mission for the OIST Graduate University. As part of its strategy for self-reliant development, Okinawa aspires to become an international hub of research and development by fostering an R&D cluster. In 2010 and 2012, international workshops toward the development of an R&D cluster in Okinawa took place at OIST. Attended by Japanese and foreign government officials, corporate representatives, and scholars, the workshops discussed the necessary steps to develop a successful cluster in Okinawa. As a result, the workshop participants recommended establishment of an autonomous organization to promote cluster development, the primary role of which would be to put forward cluster initiatives and to maintain long-term cluster operation. A task force for this promotion organization has now been launched, and its first meeting took place at OIST on December 8 and 9.

An R&D cluster is composed of companies, research universities, and institutions, with academic and research entities at its center. In the cluster, facilities, advanced knowledge, research infrastructure, and human resources are shared among these organizations, and close communication and collaboration among them will bring about world-class technological innovation, creation of new industries, and revitalization of the local economy.

The Task Force comprises three Working Groups. In each of these, experts and stakeholders focus on the Promotion Organization’s a) core mission, charge, and milestones, b) structure, entitlement, and stewardship, and c) financial models for formation and long-term sustainability. Task Force members will complete a preliminary report by March 31, 2014, in which recommendations will be made to the Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories, the Okinawa Governor, and to leaders of public and private organizations in Okinawa.

President Dorfan, who chairs this Task Force, says, “The Task Force is the critical next step towards realizing the vision of Okinawa as an international hub of research and education in science and technology.”

By Yukiko Shibata


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