Message from the Director

Apr. 1, 2012


UTokyo Policy Alternatives Research Institute was established to connect and integrate research undertaken in diverse fields at the University of Tokyo, a comprehensive university, and thereby consolidate our joint endeavors into leading-edge research results that may stand as evidence in the policy making process. This allows us to fulfill our primary goal, which is to propose policy alternatives that offer solutions to a range of social challenges, and disseminate them.

It is a little over four years since our institute was set up in 2008. Today, we have 14 research Units as well as 3 Research Demonstration Projects, in which 92 researchers conduct interdisciplinary research, in collaboration with civilian agencies such as private companies, media or NPOs, as well as with external researchers. We have released 11 policy proposals so far.

Though the Policy Alternatives Research Institute is a small organization, we function as a hub that connects and integrates research done in departments across the University of Tokyo, linking with external stakeholders to confront a range of challenges now facing society. In addition to our domestic networks, we have also taken steps to develop and strengthen our international connections.

We have recently relocated to a new building, the Ito International Research Center, next to Akamon, where we now operate as a new University Wide Center, with a mission to work as the university’s window to society on policy issues. Our new designation allows us to develop our activities more openly and widely, in concert with scholars from all departments and faculties of the University of Tokyo.

More precisely, as ever, we will continue to tackle major social issues, including our aging society, healthcare, science technology, energy, and the evolving multifaceted risk and security issues facing Japan.

Our activities remain centered on integrating the research of various academic disciplines at the University of Tokyo and communicating our findings to society. While seed-oriented research, that is, research initiated and hammered out by researchers, is of vital importance, we also plan to lay out additional mechanisms for need-oriented research. This entails that we first discover pressing social needs, then structuralize them and establish a corresponding interdisciplinary research team within the university. Our new mission thus also includes the incorporation of social demands into the research process. To that end, we will seek more effective public relations and communications strategies. Our activities have entered a new phase.

Hideaki Shiroyama
Director, Policy Alternatives Research Institute,
The University of Tokyo,
April 1, 2010

Message from the Director