President, Hokkaido University
In the 3rd Science and Technology Basic Plan, which was launched in 2006, strengthening of a competitive environment to create continuous innovations was stipulated as one of the themes, and the national project, "Creation of Innovation Centers for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Areas" Program was initiated. An innovative industry-university-government collaboration project "The Matching Program for Innovations in Future Drug Discovery and Medical Care" was adopted in accordance with this policy, where Hokkaido University will conduct innovative research and development to enable drug discovery and medical care that will contribute to the welfare of the next generation through the collaboration with leading companies in Japan.
Having undergone a review in the third year, the project that started in 2006 was adopted as one of the four outstanding projects to be continued. The adoption may be ascribed to the following efforts: the pioneering activities by the collaborating companies including the establishment of "the Shionogi Innovation Center for Drug Discovery," which is the first research facility established in a National University by a private company in Japan, and the initiation of clinical research by developing a worldwide acknowledged innovative semiconductor PET system; establishment of the "Frontier Research Center for Post-genome Science and Technology," which is an interdisciplinary research center for industry-university joint research in the life-sciences field, and also of the "Collaborating Research Center," which is an advanced medical research hub.
In the second stage, started in 2009 after the review, three companies, Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd., Nihon-Medi-physics Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. joined the project and were added to the already participating Shionogi & Co., Ltd. and Hitachi, Ltd. Working with these five leading Japanese companies, we have had three fruitful years moving ahead towards the goals of the project.
In the seventh year, 2012, the project underwent an interim evaluation. The result was that, showing the achievements made in the past six years, the project was evaluated to have progressed as scheduled. Then, this year we are at the final stage when the project must be accelerated toward completion.
The goals for the research include "organizing an environment that makes it possible to identify promising chemical compounds," and "making proposals for noninvasive tailor-made medicines that reduce patient stress." Further, we will orient the project toward building a center to accelerate the creation of support structures for industry-university joint research, as well as fostering the development of young researchers.
The fundamental ideas of the project are "the frontier spirit" to attempt to make high risk innovations, "a spirit of valuing practical science" leading to the creation of new industries through collaboration between industry and academia, and "cultivation of internationalism and all-round education" leading to the training and development of talent that will play a leading role in international society. All are coincident with the basic philosophy of Hokkaido University. Thus, the project can be seen to express the basic leading projects Hokkaido University will pursue in the 21st century. With a clear aspiration we will make the best efforts for another three years until the completion, closely working with the collaborating companies. We wish to express our gratitude for the continued cooperation by everybody involved in the project.