Innovation and Public Research Institutes: Cases of AIST, RIKEN, and JAXA

Author Name SUZUKI Jun  (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)) /TSUKADA Naotoshi  (Research Associate, RIETI) /GOTO Akira  (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. May 2014 14-E-021
Research Project The Role of Public Research Institutions in the Japanese National Innovation System
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In this paper, we focus on three large public research institutes (PRIs) in Japan—National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)—and investigate their roles in helping Japan's industry by examining their patents. First, the background and history of the development of these institutions are described briefly. We employ four measures drawn from patent data (inventor forward citation, examiner forward citation, family size, and generality index) to describe the inventive activities of PRIs. Universities' and firms' patents are used as benchmarks. The impact of the PRIs' research collaboration with the private sector is analyzed as well. We found that each of the three PRIs has been playing a unique role in Japan's innovation system. In addition, we found out that universities' patenting activity has been facing difficulties particularly in recent years. Finally, we discuss the factors that might affect the research outcome.