Institute for Future Initiatives（IFI） was established in April 2019 to organically integrate the Policy Alternatives Research Institute（PARI） and UTIAS Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science（IR3S）. It constitutes one of the core organizations that support the Future Society Initiative (FSI) of the University of Tokyo, which aims to accelerate university-wide efforts to promote and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To create a sustainable future society, IFI makes policy and social recommendations on future society issues and pursues research in collaboration with society toward those ends. It also serves as an international network hub integrating university knowledge related to future society and as a platform for collaborative creation between industry, government, academia, and citizens to provide research-based alternatives for creating our future society and to help develop the human resources necessary to achieve it.
Society today has greater need than ever of universities as a public good serving society on various issues and expects them to become stronger network hubs that integrate knowledge at universities and stronger platforms that connect universities and society. As scientific technology advances and globalization drives economic expansion, environmental degradation and resource depletion have intensified, while regional disparities, religious conflicts, refugee issues, financial crises, and other issues have grown more complex. In response, the international community has begun establishing Sustainable Development Goals （SDGs）and far-reaching policy measures, with practical initiatives already being undertaken at the national and international level by industry, government, and citizens.
With these issues in mind, IFI was newly created to organically integrate the Policy Alternatives Research Institute （PARI） and UTIAS Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science （IR3S） to promote stronger interdisciplinary research and societal collaboration for our future society. By integrating PARI and IR3S, which already possess extensive international networks and represent a broad range of compl ementary research fields into sustainable development goals （SDGs） and future society, IFI will serve as an even stronger network hub for scientific insights and stronger platform for societal collaboration at the national and international level.
To create a sustainable future society, IFI makes policy and social recommendations on future society issues and pursues research in collaboration with society toward those ends. It also serves as an international network hub integrating university knowledge related to future society and as a platform for collaborative creation between industry, government, academia, and citizens to provide research-based alternatives for creating our future society and to help develop the human resources necessary to achieve it.
We take the following three approaches to construct and bring about a vision of the future.
We not only tackle already obvious risks such as resource and environmental dilemmas, financial and fiscal crises, and social and technological disparities, but also uncover latent risks and issues relevant to our future through systemic knowledge, meticulous societal fieldwork, and penetrating insights that enable us to present a vision of future society that encompasses members of society, including generations to come, who have not yet had the opportunity to leverage strengths that have been excluded until current social and economic arrangements.
We are engaged not only in solving particular issues healthcare and medicine, energy and resources, state security ̶ and presenting a vision of future society built upon advanced technologies, but also in addressing fundamental, normative questions what does it mean to be human, what shape should society take ̶ and creating and organizing the knowledge needed to sketch a vision of the future.
We seek to reveal science and technologies, social and industrial structures, and visions of the future that will lead to the creation of a better future society by overcoming the tradeoffs that exist between competing value systems and visions of society. By building a platform for collaboration creation between industry, government, academia, and citizens, we are engaged in transdisciplinary work aimed at bringing about a vision of future society.
- Teruo FujiiPresident, the University of Tokyo
- Hideaki ShiroyamaDirector, Institute for Future Initiatives, the University of Tokyo
- Policy Alternatives Research Institute（PARI）
The Policy Alternatives Research Institute (PARI) was created in 2008 as an organization under direct supervision of the Oﬃce of the President and relaunched in 2013 as a university-wide center to integrate the intellectual resources possessed by the University of Tokyo, conduct policy research aimed at solving the various issues of our day, and communicating its ﬁndings to society. Through its seven research areas, it has pursued research on issues related medicine and health, risk and technology governance, innovation policy, security studies, universities and society, and sustainable development goals (SDGs) to sketch policy alternatives and make policy recommendations for the sake of future society. Past PARI activities can be viewed on the archived site.
- Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science（IR3S）
The Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), a University of Tokyo Institute for Advanced Study (UTIAS), was established in 2005 and has pursued integrative, interdisciplinary research and education related to sustainability as a network hub for sustainability studies at the University of Tokyo and at the national and international level. Having founded Sustainability Science, an international academic journal, and supported portions of the research activities and administration of Future Earth, a large-scale international project related to sustainability, IR3S has engaged in important research and education activities at the international level as well. Past IR3S activities can be viewed on the archived site.