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Frontier Coordination Committee


With the following five technology subcommittees playing a central role, the committee works to determine the trends in state-of-the-art technologies, to promote exchanges and coordination among industry, academia and government, to identify issues and make proposals using a bottom-up approach. The committee also cultivates young researchers from industry, academia and government, and strives to create innovative technologies that lead to the establishment of new industries.

To support the activities of young researchers engaged in researching new chemistry at universities, public institutions and elsewhere, the committee selects the recipient of the New Chemical Technology Research Encouragement Award, and offers one million yen as a supplementary prize. The committee plans to invite public participation each fiscal year for each field by selecting a specific subject or the like.


【The Advanced Chemistry/Materials Technology Subcommittee】

Taking up the theme of the challenge for innovation in chemical technology in advanced areas, the subcommittee investigates the technical trends in the fields of catalyst materials, new raw materials, and computer chemistry through the following three sectional meetings. The subcommittee also facilitates exchanges and coordinates among industry, academia, and government.

■ Working Group for Highly Selective Reactions
The activities of the meeting are based on the policy that important research issues concerning chemical reactions, the seeds of innovative catalytic reaction processes, and so forth, are to be investigated and supported. When engaging in its activities, the meeting is always aware of reducing the burden on the environment (using raw materials that have a small environmental load, reducing the amount of waste, reducing the amount of harmful material discharged, reducing energy consumption, and so forth). Also, it engages in investigational activities by centering on what kinds of latent possibilities (as construction of reaction fields and catalyst carriers) various types of new materials have. These materials include nano materials, which have been the subject of active development in recent years, in the field of catalytic reactions.

■ Working Group for New Materials
In recent years, raw materials and composite materials have been newly developed and proposed that demonstrate new functions, centered on "nano" as the keyword. These materials have a broad scope of application that includes the fields of electronics, bioengineering, energy and the environment. The Working Group for New Raw Materials is tasked with inventing and finding new materials, and will also focus on providing the required social and economic value, i.e., material invention that leads to material solutions. The sectional meeting will provide opportunities for open discussions by focusing on topics and research results that have an impact from the viewpoints of [1] materials that demonstrate new functions that have not previously been found; [2] materials of a level that demonstrates functions that far exceed the level achieved in the past; and [3] materials that are environmentally friendly, versatile, inexpensive and able to be substituted for the functions of existing materials.

Since the areas of application of new raw materials vary widely, it is expected that social and economic value will be created in helping to solve problems associated with energy, resources, and the environment, etc. Therefore, this sectional meeting plans to implement its activities while seeking to hold joint meetings with other sectional meetings as appropriate and sharing the benefits of such meetings according to the existence of assumed materials

■ Working Group for Computer Chemistry
This sectional meeting identifies specific issues intended to improve the technical level of the person in charge at each company and engages in subworking group activities, such as those of the Polymer Subworking Group and the Next Generation CC Subworking Group, that involve performing calculation and analysis.

○ Polymer Subworking Group
This subworking group holds polymer simulation training courses and deepens the "Utilization and Research of Integrated Simulator for Soft Materials, OCTA." In addition, this group holds training courses in the basic physical properties of polymers to increase understanding of the actual phenomena of their general physical properties with the objective of continually expanding the range of the computer chemistry field.

○ Subworking Group for the Next Generation CC
This subworking group holds training courses in the next generation of computer chemistry and strives to develop the "Utilization and Research of Quantum Chemistry Calculation Software - Establishment of Reproduction and Prediction Technologies and Its Application to Molecular Design."

○ Subworking Group for Polymer Investigation and Research
This subworking group conducts research into polymers with the aim of matching new needs with existing seeds, while taking account of proposals for national projects.

The activities of these subworking groups include lecture meetings to promote theoretical understanding. Lecture meetings concerned with the technical trends in the computer chemistry will also be planned in fields that attract attention, such as materials development and catalyst development. The results of subworking group activities will be actively publicized in academic societies, and they will be simultaneously issued as reports. Moreover, the common technical problems encountered by corporate researchers will be actively communicated to academic societies and other organizations, and solutions will be pursued on a broad scale, including technical interdisciplinary collaboration with other working groups and so forth.


【The Life Science Technology Subcommittee】

The life sciences are an important technical field. They were identified as an area of growth in the "New Growth Strategy", and they are related to the promotion of "Green Innovation". There is an increasing need for the life sciences to help solve problems in medical science, medical treatment and welfare, as well as in resources, the environment, and energy on a global scale. In the meantime, recent developments in science and technology have seen an increase in areas that need to be combined with the technologies of life sciences. Biology is expanding into new fields of application through a combination with chemistry and physics.

Against this backdrop, the Life Science Technology Subcommittee engages in investigational activities with the aim of returning the results of biotechnology to society from the standpoint of the chemical industry. To achieve this objective, the subcommittee focuses on ascertaining important subjects that affect the field of medical treatment, encompassing pharmaceuticals and diagnosis technologies, as well as the fields of new raw materials, the environment, energy and so forth. Specific subjects of investigation include the following
1) Medical treatment, health, cosmetics (all of these focus mainly on material development)
2) New biomolecular materials other than the above
3) The utilization of new genomes and genes
4) Bio-refinery, bioconversion
Activities are basically performed in units of working groups, in which areas are divided into two. However, topics in boundary areas are examined as necessary in coordination with the entire subcommittee or other subcommittees. Each working group engages in investigational activities about the selection of new promising technologies and their utilization in industries by centering on discussions in meetings and lecture meetings to be held about four times a year. In addition, it is planned that site visits that are considered useful in the investigation of subjects will also be held.

■ Working Group for Life Sciences - Materials
This working group covers areas 1), 2) and 3) above. It is believed that these subjects overlap areas of the so-called "nano bio" area in many respects. This working group conducts its investigation from the standpoint of the chemical industry by centering on the development of new raw materials on the basis of physiological activity, sensing, and so forth, as well as the development of new industrial materials that utilize the self-organization of molecules, and others. This working group particularly welcomes the participation of members from other industries that are related to areas other than the chemical industry.

■ Working Group for Life Sciences - Reactions
This working group covers areas 3) and 4) above. Areas subject to investigation include fine chemicals and new trends in the use of bio-processes (including adsorption and degradation reactions). Since biomass utilization technologies will also be taken up in the Biomass Working Group of the Energy and Resources Technology Subcommittee, this working group will exchange information with the aforesaid working group. This working group will also investigate bio-refinery, mainly focusing on metabolic control technologies and suchlike after biomass decomposition.


【The Energy and Resources Technology Subcommittee】

The advent of global warming, increases in population on an international scale, and the stimulated economies in emerging countries have given new urgency to the problems concerning energy and resources. To ensure the sustainability of the planet, these problems should be addressed earnestly and from a long-term perspective by science and technology. However, rare elements have become tangible social problems in recent years, and the accidents in nuclear power facilities caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami have once more clearly highlighted the importance of electric power and energy problems to the entire world.
Against this backdrop, this technical subcommittee holds lecture meetings, engages in subworking group activities, conducts investigations and issues reports concerning new materials, parts and technologies related to the field of energy. This field spans the creation of energy, including biomass, and the storage of energy. It also encompasses the field of resources, including rare elements. In dealing with these topics, this subcommittee focuses on issues concerning energy and resources from the standpoint of the chemical industry, with the aim of achieving a low-carbon society.
Activities are basically conducted in units of the following three working groups. However, when dealing with topics in boundary areas, the activities are conducted through coordination with the entire subcommittee or the working groups of other subcommittees. Each working group strives to identify the latest trend in technologies as well as promising materials and technologies.

■ Energy Working Group
The Energy Working Group takes up promising materials, parts, and technologies concerning the creation and the storage of energy, excluding biomass, or emerging new technological research that leads to these technologies. Specifically, they are: 1) research and development into the creation of energy, including solar power generation, utilization of solar energy such as photocatalytic reaction, and other renewable forms of energy; 2) research and development concerning energy storage, such as secondary batteries and capacitors; and others.

■ Biomass Working Group
The Biomass Working Group takes up technologies, materials, and processes that convert energy and products originating from petroleum resources by using biological resources. Specifically, they are: 1) biological decomposition (mainly, saccharification); 2) decomposition of biomass by means of physical and chemical techniques; and 3) efficient production (culture, cultivation) and collection, etc. Regarding 1), activities are carried out in coordination with the Reactions Working Group of the Life Science Technology Subcommittee.

■ Working Group for Resource Substitute Materials
The activities of this working group center on the Clever Materials Subworking Group. The term "Clever Materials" has been coined to refer to materials that do not include rare or precious elements, that do not cause environmental problems, and that contribute to reduced energy consumption. Specifically, they are: 1) highly selective catalysts that do not use metals from the platinum group; 2) ferromagnetic materials that do not use rare earth elements; and 3) parts for high-functioning electronic devices that do not use rare elements. Since their areas of application are diverse, activities are carried out in coordination with the Advanced Technology Subcommittee and New Raw Materials Working Group, as well as other technology subcommittees and working groups.



【The Electronics and Information Technology Subcommittee】

In recent years, there has been remarkable technical innovation in the materials and processes of key devices in the filed of electronic information technologies. And this area is about to undergo a major transition. It is expected that the increasing global need for environmentally aware technologies will see the deployment and permeation of these technologies into fields that differ from the conventional ones. For this reason, there is a need for further coordination and exchange in the fields of sciences, technologies and industries, including chemistry, physics, biology, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering and so forth.

With the start of the new association, this subcommittee will engage enthusiastically in its activities that cover a broad range of areas, from very topical subjects to subjects that are directed toward the next generation. Three meetings will serve as the centers of activities: the working groups of the MEMS-Subworking Group and Printable Subworking Group, and the Electronics Exchange Meeting.

With each working group and the exchange meeting playing a central role, emphasis will be on activities, study meetings, and investigation and research that facilitate exchange with researchers and engineers in state-of-the-art technologies as well as activities that facilitate the participation of young engineers and researchers, without being confined to specific fields.

■ MEMS Working Group
Centering on the search for new chemical materials in the MEMS industry, this meeting carries out investigational activities by considering the fields of [1] environment and energy, [2] medical treatment and welfare, and [3] safety and security. This working group regards these fields as important, both from the material development side and from the side that develops devices and systems by utilizing materials. These activities are directed toward the investigation and research of trends in searching and studying materials that aim at the further fusion of technologies in the aforementioned fields and MEMS. This working group plans to hold research meetings as well in coordination with other relevant associations.

■ Working Group for the Next Generation of Electronics
This working group is concerned with materials, manufacturing processes and markets that contribute to a new sense of value. It strives to achieve a deeper recognition between the aforementioned areas and chemistry, thereby facilitating discussions about issues that should be addressed by the chemical industry to expand the areas of application and markets. Discussions will be held concerning the expectations and requirements of chemical technologies that contribute to development. These discussions include: [1] the points of contact among organic materials/metal materials/oxide materials and their promise; and [2] process control concerning the sizes and shapes on a nano level. Specifically, it is planned that activities will center on lecture meetings, site visits, and investigation contracted to the external suppliers.

■ Working Group for Current Electronics
This Working Group consists of two subworking groups: [1] Application Technology, and [2] Mounting Technology. This group aims principally at identifying state-of-the-art technologies in the specialty field and seeking fertile environments for exchange and coordination with chemistry-related industries. Specifically, each subworking group plans and implements lecture meetings, site visits and so forth centering on topical subjects of keen interest to the members.



【The Environmental Technology Subcommittee】

Japan has become a world leader in environmental technology after overcoming two oil crises as well as the problems of pollution, which represent a negative aspect of the period of rapid economic growth after World War II. Japan has achieved its technological superiority by taking advantage of these problems as opportunities for innovation. However, Japan has now fallen behind various other countries, including those in the Asian region, in such fields as solar power generation and the development of cutting-edge materials, which are areas in which Japan was a world leader several years ago. Due to its sluggish globalization in such areas as environmental and energy policies, Japan's inherent strengths in these fields is not always apparent. Against this backdrop, the "New Growth Strategy" advocates that Japan should strive to become "the world's leading power in the area of environment and energy" by pursuing the highest level of cutting-edge environmental technologies and their deployment on an international scale by promoting a comprehensive package that includes "green innovation”. The problems associated with the environment and energy, including those associated with climate change, are already beyond the scope of issues that can be addressed by individual element technologies. To maintain our current high living standards, and to achieve a society that is low in carbon emissions and that ensures that economic growth is compatible with environmental protection, it has become very important to promote innovation in a systematic, integral and complementary manner, from a comprehensive perspective by using the advanced technologies of various fields interwoven with environmental technology.
Our technology subcommittee will expand its activities based on this status of environmental technology by expanding its considerations of boundary areas as well. Centered on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, the technology subcommittee will investigate technological trends, hold lecture meetings and seminars, conduct site visits, and engage in activities to facilitate exchanges among people in industry, academia and government. The technological subcommittee will perform these activities in relation to the issues below.
As necessary, we will also cooperate flexibly with other subcommittees to achieve the optimum benefit from our activities and to maximize the results. Also, to help bridge the gap between academia and industry so that the results of industrial technology are returned to society more quickly, our subcommittee will also focus on the effective management of research incentive awards as well as the participation of young researchers, engineers, and other personnel in state-of-the-art fields.

Examples of issues
□ Environmental technologies concerning the securing, utilization, and recycling of resources
○ Use and utilization of recyclable resources (especially, use as raw materials for chemicals)
○ Reduction, immobilization and effective utilization of CO2
○ Use and utilization of coal, natural gas, etc. (especially, use as raw materials for chemicals)
○ Technologies for promoting the three Rs (recycling of critical metals, etc.)
○ Technologies for the management and utilization of water resources
○ Substance circulation flow model (LCA), etc.)
□ Environmental technologies concerning the reduction of the environmental load in industries
○ Energy-saving, environmentally friendly processes (environmentally friendly product manufacture)
○ Technologies for high-efficiency treatment, reduction and detoxification of substances of concern that have occurred through industrial activities
○ Environmental conservation and restoration technologies

□ Environmental technologies concerning improvement in industrial safety
○ Analysis of industrial systems (visualization of sustainability indexes, evaluation of resource performance, economy, and social acceptance, etc.)
○ Technologies for safety evaluation and management, technologies for evaluation and management of the risks of new materials
○ Comprehensive evaluation and management of chemical substances
○ Technologies for measuring substances of concern, etc., technologies for evaluating and predicting environmental impact


When engaging in activities, consideration is also given to improved efficiency in business that would enable the benefits of participation to be enjoyed with minimum effort. Bearing in mind the diversification of the networks of participating members and information sources, it is expected that people from various fields having different viewpoints regarding environmental technologies, irrespective of entrances or exits, will participate.
Please note that, in view of the history of the start of these subcommittees, with regard to the scrutiny of issues being considered and the establishment of working groups and subworking groups, it is planned that design and construction will be conducted as early as possible through flexible discussions with participating members.


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