[Report] The 102nd STIG PoP Seminar (#6 The Practical Application Session : Specific Topic Session (1) Bio/Environmental Energy & Industrial Technology; (2) Bio x Art”)

Below is the provisional translation of the original Japanese seminar: 第102回STIG PoPセミナー

[The objective of the bioeconomy seminar series] Since a bioeconomic report was created by the OECD in 2009, many countries in Europe and the United States have developed policy documents highlighting the bioeconomy and the momentum for the bioeconomy has been growing. It has also been declared in the Bioeconomic Strategy 2019 that Japan will create the world’s leading bioeconomic society by 2030 and update and promote its bioeconomic strategy every year. However, the bioeconomy concept is extremely broad and its specific overview is not sufficiently certain. This seminar therefore aims to invite experts of domestic/international trends and share information about the current status of bioeconomic developments with the participants. Through this interaction, we will consider the significance, strengths, and challenges of bioeconomies.

● Session Information
Date and time: March 10, 2021 (Wednesday) 9:00 AM ~ 11:00 AM
Venue: Online via Zoom
Organizer: Education and Research Unit, Science, Technology, and Innovation Governance (STIG), The University of Tokyo
Co-organizers: SIP’s (Strategic Innovation Promotion Program on Technologies for Smart Bioindustry and Agriculture) consortium for public understanding (Masashi Tachikawa and Makiko Matsuo, in charge of overseas regulatory trends); Takashi Yamamoto, Project Leader of the Bio x Digital Transformation (BioDX) industry-academia co-creation center (for creating the world’s most advanced bioeconomic society from Hiroshima) and the professor and head of the Hiroshima University Genome Editing Innovation Center
Number of participants: 35

● Program
Explanation of purpose and overview of previous session: Makiko Matsuo, The University of Tokyo
(1) Bio/Environmental Energy & Industrial Technology (NEDO’s Initiatives)
 Wataru Mizunashi, Director General, Bioeconomy Unit, NEDO Technology Strategy Center
(2) YCAM’s initiatives in bio and art
Kazutoshi Tsuda, senior bio-researcher of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) and Kiyoshi Suganuma, Lecturer of the Department of Design and Architecture, Kyoto Institute of Technology and bio-researcher of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM)

● Session report
 In the beginning of this session, the moderator (Makiko Matsuo, The University of Tokyo) shared the purpose of this study session and the overview of the previous session, and then had each speaker present their topic.
 First, Wataru Mizunashi, Director General, Bioeconomy Unit, NEDO Technology Strategy Center gave an overview of NEDO’s initiatives including the formulation of technology strategies and giving policy recommendations to policy-making authorities including the councils of METI. He also talked about the TSC Foresight Brief Report (The bio industries that contribute to the environment/energy fields – The challenges and possibilities of bio manufacturing) that was announced in February 2021. He also gave an overview of the report’s visualization of the degree of environmental contribution of bioeconomies and the analysis of and potential measures for the challenges to the proliferation of bio-products (i.e. high cost), as well as pointed out the importance of case studies involving flagship target configurations and platform formations. He also introduced examples of institutional designs of regional symbiosis spheres and public-private sector-wide cooperation. During the lecture, he indicated the importance of achieving both social significance and economic rationality by visualizing the ideal future self, and sparking collaboration between various entities.
 Next, Kazutoshi Tsuda (senior bio-researcher) and Kiyoshi Suganuma (bio-researcher) of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) explained the initiatives of YCAM regarding bio and art. During the first half, Suganuma explained YCAM’s various initiatives for promoting collaboration between education, art, and communities. During the second half, Tsuda gave specific examples particularly of YCAM’s initiatives in bio-related fields (i.e. biological researches in the kitchen to learn about biology from familiar objects; genome bento box; forest DNA picture book), similar activities in various countries, and examples of collaboration between YCAM, companies, universities, etc. During Q&A, we had various discussions such as regarding the relationship between technology and art, the roles of art, and challenges to developing a multifaceted relationship with society.