About the R-GIRO Purpose
Founding Philosophy of the Ritsumeikan
Global Innovation Research Organization (R-GIRO)
Pursuing an Affluent Society that is Able to Operate Sustainably
The 20th century is often referred to as the century of science and technology. It saw the fruits of scientific and technological progress bring immense benefit to humankind answering our demand for material goods and longer life. These benefits were the collective result of the efforts of countless individuals over many years, all of whom used knowledge as a powerful tool to respond to humankind’s curiosity about the hidden truths of nature, create a ubiquitous society and respond to the growing demand for a more comfortable lifestyle.
However, we must not forget that only those living in developed nations have been able to fully enjoy the benefits that science and technology have brought. Moreover, we must also remember that there are always negative aspects to balance out the positive. While the word 'Growth' can be used to summarize the rapid advances in our material society produced by scientific and technological innovation in the 20th century, such innovation has also facilitated the global destruction of nature, exemplified by global warming, the depletion of resources, and food shortages. Additionally, the previous century has also left humankind with an unprecedented number of unresolved issues, such as the polarization of wealth, moral decay, and the escalation of religious conflict.
Science and technology in the 21st century must tackle these inherited issues and work towards the creation of a society capable of co-existing with nature. As we battle with issues concerning the destruction of Earth's natural environment, there is no doubt that we must work towards creating an affluent society that is able to operate sustainably.
Research Program towards Realizing a Society Capable of Coexisting Sustainably with Nature
R-GIRO aims to contribute to society through education and research, focusing on the issues that need to be overcome in order to create the kind of sustainable society we need. To this end, R-GIRO has identified six areas which need to be urgently addressed: environment, energy, food supply, materials & resources, medical treatment & health, and safety & security. Since April 2008, R-GIRO has been conducting policy-driven, systematic research in these six areas, primarily in the natural sciences.
In addition, several new research areas were added in AY 2009 as part of our efforts to work towards the realization of a sustainable and affluent society from a humanities and social sciences perspective, namely human life & value, peace & governance, and Japanese & regional studies. Also included in AY 2009 was a newly-created integrated research area that combines natural sciences with humanities and social sciences.
The First-Phase R-GIRO Research Program for Specific Research Areas and the Second-Phase R-GIRO Research Program for COE Formation have so far supported the implementation of a total of 42 projects – 28 projects in natural sciences and 14 projects in humanities and social sciences – through which nature has been re-examined from a multitude of angles through innovative dynamism arising from various interdisciplinary collaborations, industry-academia partnerships, and cross-institutional alliances. These projects have also been playing an important role in developing future scientific talent, researchers who will become the future drivers of innovation.
We also anticipate further development in our integrated research involving natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences, and we are confident that the results of research conducted at R-GIRO will contribute towards humankind's primary aim for the 21st century - the realization of a society capable of coexisting sustainably with nature.
Research Program towards Realizing a Society that Enables Human Coexistence
Ritsumeikan University’s medium-term plan to promote the enhancement of research activity aims to increase the University’s presence as a “global research-oriented university” both in Japan and abroad. To secure our position as a research-oriented university, we need to establish an international-standard research system, promote original research, and produce a large number of outstanding research results. R-GIRO is expected to play a role in achieving this ambitious goal. To fulfill its responsibility under the leadership of the President of Ritsumeikan University, R-GIRO has launched the Third-Phase R-GIRO Research Program in AY 2016 as part of the third-phase measures to promote the enhancement of research activities.
The founding philosophy of R-GIRO is to “create an affluent 21st-century society that is able to operate sustainably.” The First- and Second-Phase R-GIRO Research Programs (2008 – 2015), which were implemented with the aim of building a model for a society capable of coexistence with nature (the earth’s return to nature), brought about numerous research achievements. Meanwhile, Japan and many other developed countries have been facing the powerful tide of aging population with a declining birthrate. There is a pressing need for Japan to come to grips with various problems arising from this issue, in terms of both policy and research.
The Third-Phase R-GIRO Research Program for COE Formation (research centers I – V) started in AY 2016, under which research projects to form researchcenters were launched with a focus on the “building of a dynamic and creative society model for human coexistence.” These projects have been expected to contribute to resolving issues resulting from aging population with a declining birthrate.