Faculty MembersVerspieren Quentin

Verspieren Quentin

Graduate School of Public Policy
Visiting Research fellow
Quentin Verspieren
PROTECT Accelerator Coordinator, European Space Agency


Science and technology are the foundation of human societies’ evolution and development. The wheel, the plough, the steam machine are all technical inventions that drove civilizational revolutions. However, technology itself is not enough to realize such revolutions. What matters is how it is used, spread, shared, regulated, in other words how it is governed. Let us look at an example from my field of expertise: space technology development and utilization in developing countries. Many countries around the world are willing to initiate a certain level of space activities and invest important amounts of resources to secure knowledge and technology transfers from advanced countries in order to successfully develop their first satellite. However, for most of them, this first satellite is also the only one, for a long time. Why is that? Because technology and technical knowledge development are not enough. Sustainability in space programs, as for any technology-based venture, is brought by policy, law, strategic thinking, project management, innovation, etc. Conversely, in addition to contributing to the realization of technological revolutions, social sciences often play the role of safeguards. Not all technical innovations are welcome. As French 16th century writer François Rabelais wrote: “Science sans conscience n’est que ruine de l’âme” (Science without conscience is but ruination of the soul). Science and technology without ethics and moral can be extremely dangerous.

In turn, policymaking can benefit from hard sciences: modelling, quantitative impact assessment, probabilities, etc. are extremely valuable contributions to the development of sound policies. However, integrating hard sciences’ methods in policymaking does not make it a hard science. Policymaking, public administration, public policy, the science of government, however we call it, remains a social science. As such, it contains philosophical and anthropological dimensions that cannot be comprehended by hard sciences. Therefore, relying on scientific methodology, while not luring ourselves into believing that policy and economics are hard sciences is a fine line to navigate. The STIG program aims to help you navigate this ocean of uncertainty and complexity. Welcome aboard!


Quentin Verspieren is project researcher at the Science, Technology, and Innovation Governance (STIG) program of the University of Tokyo. His research focusses on diverse areas of space policy and international security: space safety and sustainability, civil-military relations in space policymaking, as well as space development and space policy in developing countries. At the STIG program, Dr Verspieren leads research studies related to space affairs for the Japanese Ministries of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Apart from his work at the University of Tokyo, he is also a fellow at the Japan Space Forum in Tokyo, an associate research fellow at the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna, Austria and serves as technical advisor for Japanese government agencies (e.g. Cabinet Office, JICA). In addition, he is the Director of International and Government Relations of ArkEdge Space Inc., a multi-million-dollar start-up specialized in small satellite technology development and utilization.

Dr Verspieren has two master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from ISAE-Supaéro (Toulouse, France) and The University of Tokyo and a Ph.D. in public policy from The University of Tokyo.

Selected publications

“An early history of the Philippine space development program” (with G. Coral, B. Pyne and H. Roy), Acta Astronautica 151, 2018, pp. 919-927. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.06.043

“Satellite Remote Sensing in ASEAN: A Critical Review of National Data Policies,” Advances in Astronautics Science and Technology 1(1), 2018, pp. 61–68. doi:10.1007/s42423-018-0013-5

“From the Seas to Outer Space: the Reverse Dynamics of Civil-Military Situational Awareness Information and Responsibility Sharing” (with H. Shiroyama), Space Policy 50, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.spacepol.2019.07.003

“The role of Multilateral Development Banks in Mainstreaming the Use of Space and Geospatial Technologies for Sustainable Development,” Business Strategy and Development 3(3), 2020. doi:10.1002/bsd2.102

“Store and Forward 3U CubeSat Project TRICOM and Its Utilizations for Development and Education: the cases of TRICOM-1R and JPRWASAT” (with T. Matsumoto, Y. Aoyanagi, T. Fukuyo, T. Obata, S. Nakasuka, G. Kwizera, J. Abakunda), Transactions of the Japanese Society for Aeronautical and Space Science 63(5), 2020, pp. 206-211.

“The United States Department of Defense Space Situational Awareness Sharing Program: origins, development and drive towards transparency,” Journal of Space Safety Engineering, 2020. doi:10.1016/j.jsse.2020.10.001