Innovation in measurement and analysis processes aimed at solving social issues


Cutting-edge R&D centers are expanding their research targets to include practical materials that are characterized by complex and heterogeneous hierarchical structures and nonequilibrium states. The approach of moderate improvement, such as condition-based matching or simple improvement of conventional measurement and analysis technology is no longer sufficient, and therefore, breakthroughs in measurement and analysis methods are required in order to be able to accurately capture the complex and mysterious phenomena in target materials. Looking back in history, progress in science and technology has made great strides through “seeing” and “noticing”. As it is shown through the expression, “Measurement is the mother of science”, the history of science and technology has also always been the history of measurement technology. The innovative measurement technology has the potential to lead to whole new research fields that hitherto never even existed, as well as the potential to delve even deeper into existing research subjects. Without breakthroughs in measurement and analysis methods, it will not be possible to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 or resolve global social issues such as the SDGs, and there is no doubt that measurement and analysis technology will be one of the indispensable key technologies for strengthening international competitiveness in the future in many research fields such as materials, drug discovery, medical care, and the environment and energy.
In this strategic objective, further developing the “Intelligent Measurement Analysis” field (a field that aims to enable to detect of physical quantities/material states, their changes, and latent factors that could not be found in the past by combining measurement technology with information scienceetc.), which was pioneered as the 2016 strategic objective named “Integration of measurement technology and advanced information processing for cutting- edge R&D activities including materials science” will be continued. Then, by thoroughly pursuing next-generation measurement and analysis technology, and by innovating the process of advanced measurement to knowledge extraction, in other words, “seeing → noticing → understanding”, the aims are to build the foundation and basis for practical technology development geared towards resolving social issues, and to create a robust innovation system so that Japan will be able to continue taking on the challenges at the forefront in the coming 10 to 20 years in the international community where R&D competition is intensifying.
The points for promoting this strategic objective are as shown below.
(1) Break through the capability limits of conventional measurement methods and open up the possibility of “seeing” through the sophistication and sharpening of the measurement process and the hardware itself.
(2) Establish innovative methods of analysis that take into consideration the process of “noticing” and “understanding” to efficiently draw out and utilize new knowledge from complex measurement data that is difficult to understand intuitively, by making full use of informatics, etc...
(3) Develop measurement technology that obtains multilayered information such as multi-scale and multi-modal, and analysis technology to construct more complete models by integrating and analyzing multi-faceted measurement data.
(4) Develop a model case for utilization research aimed at resolving social issues so that this new approach of research serves to make a technological breakthrough in research and development that contributes to solving various social issues, without falling into the self-serving objectives such as “measurement for the sake of measurement” and “informatics for the sake of informatics”.
In Society 5.0 advocated by Japan, a huge amount of information from sensors in physical space is accumulated in cyberspace, this huge amount of big data is analyzed by AI beyond human capabilities, and the results are fed back to humans. The aim is to bring new value to industry and society that was previously not possible. The innovative measurement and analysis process aimed at resolving social issues in this strategic objective is expected to be a tool to break and implement an ideal form of Society 5.0 in the research and development process.


Strategic Planning, Research and Development Division