Innovation opportunities for the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been expanding rapidly in a variety of industrial sectors, driven by the cumulative development of information and communications technology, fueled by a major breakthrough in artificial intelligence. The fundamental solutions to overcoming limits to economic growth, such as potential constraints from preserving the earth environment, for saving energy resources and for preventing pandemic, could be provided only by innovations involving the development of new technologies and their diffusions. The goal of the Innovation Program is to develop original data that can capture the foundations of these innovation processes—the process of creating and exploiting new knowledge for problem solving —and to use these data to analyze the policies, institutions, and organizations that can accelerate these innovations.
The first characteristic of this program is that it aims at developing original data that can capture the processes such as knowledge-creation, entrepreneurship and innovation. R&D and innovation are driven by new knowledge. The amount and quality of available knowledge stocks, the industrial capability to integrate and combine these stocks, and the ability to exploit knowledge in broad markets and for problem solving determine the performance of R&D. As demonstrated by the progress of extensive vertical specializations in innovation, industrial organization can also significantly affect its innovation progress. By constructing datasets from wide sources (new surveys, those constructed from published data, including patents and their citation data, official survey data concerning corporate activities and R&D, and the inventor surveys administered by RIETI in the past), the research projects in this program will advance systematic understandings of such innovation process as well as the individuals and organizations pursuing such activities.
The second characteristic of this program is that it aims to explore evidence-based policy implications, by conducting original analyses of the policies and institutions supporting innovation, covering R&D supports, supports to the development of entrepreneurship eco-systems, the intellectual property regime, standards systems, and industry–academic collaboration. Currently, the importance of "Science for science policy" or evidence based policy making for science, technology and innovation policy has become internationally recognized. Japan has a program that supports this approach. Furthermore, key patent offices, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, have established the Office of the Chief Economist, which have made available an extensive data set on intellectual property and have carried out an extensive analysis of the relationship between innovation and intellectual property, using such data sets. This program, in collaborations with these developments, contributes to evidence-based policy analysis.
The third characteristic of this program is that it conducts studies from an international perspective. R&D Competition is inherently international in nature and the appropriability of R&D depends on the how globally its output can be exploited. In addition, there has been an increase in R&D activities that have integrated resources across borders and nationalities. Furthermore, institutions and organizations that support R&D and innovation are diverse internationally. Thus, it is useful to undertake analyses from an international perspective for us to understand the source of Japanese strengths and weakness, and to identify potential areas for their improvements. The program will conduct research from an international perspective, including international comparisons of industrial performance, based on the datasets with global coverage, including Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-Europe inventor surveys.