The IR3S’s main activities in research and education and
The promotion of research and education about sustainability science
While continuing to systematize sustainability science further as a holistic academic field greatly different from other preexisting disciplines, our institute promotes strategic research into visions to enable the simultaneous solving of both global issues such as climate change, the depletion of natural resources, ecosystem degradation, and regional issues such as the aging of society, natural disasters and poverty. At the same time investigations will continue into how
sustainability science can rank alongside already established disciplines and develop individuals who can take both holistic and specialist approaches.
The contribution of sustainability science to the plans for recovery in
the wake of earthquakes
The Great East Japan Earthquake had made it imperative that not only Japan but the whole world reevaluate the mechanisms of the systems that make up society. What is demanded of our recovery planning is not a 20th-century development-based type of recovery, but rather a resilient 21st century approach which enables a society to function in harmony with nature while making use of natural resources and energy. Through the application of interdisciplinary sustainability science methods which incorporate both natural and human sciences, IR3S creates a vision for recovery that fully takes into account the systems of society as a whole, as shown in the regeneration of the region through satoyama and satoumi land use. At the same time, the findings of such research are also published internationally in English.
The promotion of research and education through collaboration with the
United Nations University and the holding of international symposiums
Through working as one with the United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP), which was established in 2009 at the United Nations University Headquarters, the only UN agency headquartered in Japan, research and education is actively promoted with international
symposiums and workshops related to these issues being held world-wide.
In particular, with regard to research and education promoted by the Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research (CECAR), symposiums and workshops are held in various places in Asia and Africa. Furthermore, to add to the past contributions made by climate change groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the field of climate change research, international symposiums and workshops are also held in collaboration with the UNU-ISP to support global efforts such as the activities of the United Nations Decade for Biodiversity (UNDB) and the Intergovernmental Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
The formation of a meta-network with universities and research
institutes inside and outside of Japan
The IR3S plays a leading role in the running of the International Conference on Sustainability Science (ICSS) and the Asian summit ICSS Asia, the regular summit meetings for the formation of a meta-network both within Japan and internationally. The IR3S makes a significant contribution to the topics of discussion and the planning and running of meetings and is strengthening its function further as a world-standard research institute in the field of sustainability science. In addition, the IR3S has acted as the first head institute and office of the established International Society for Sustainability Science (ISSS) and oversees the formation and development of the meta-network of institutes.
Furthermore, with regard to the formation of a meta-network of universities and research institutions, the IR3S is actively involved in the general incorporated association Sustainability Science Consortium (SSC) and through the running of joint research and education programs it is contributing to the formation of the meta-network of universities and research institutes that are interested in the field of sustainability science while strengthening its ties with local governments, industry and NPOs.
The publication of international academic journals, academic literature
and educational books
In collaboration with the UNU-ISP, the regular publication of “Sustainability Science” is continuing and great efforts are being made to increase its impact and make it the most influential journal in its field. With regard to academic literature, material is being published
in English through the United Nations University Press and other publishing companies. As for education books, the University of Tokyo Press’s 5-part series on sustainability science is to be followed with the publication of academic books in Japanese, as well as continued publication of the educational magazine “Sasutena”.
Giving the benefits of research back to society
The research findings from the “Energy Sustainability Forum” held as a joint research project with Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. will continue to be presented in the same manner as they have been up to the present. Research findings are presented at the end of each year to industry representatives at the Marunouchi Building Hall & Conference Square. In addition, there are also plans to further spread the benefits of research through the continuation of the IR3S Public Symposium that is held in February with support of Nikkei Inc. at the Yasuda Auditorium which is attended by around 1000 people every year.