On April 1, 2001, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (the new AIST) began operations. AIST is a newly formed research organization that is the result of an amalgamation of the 15 research institutes previously under the former Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (the former AIST) in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Weights and Measures Training Institute. The new AIST is Japan's largest public research organization with many research facilities and around 3,200 employees in all.
What are the responsibilities of the new AIST?
- Advanced Research by exploring broad spectra of research fields and integrating multidisciplinary subjects to promote innovation in versatile fields that strengthen the competitiveness of Japanese industries in the world market and create new industries.
- Interdisciplinary and Cross-Disciplinary Research that enables planning long-range governmental policies by exploiting the current and future needs of society.
- Basic Research that maintains and strengthens competitiveness of national science and technology by developing and maintaining high standards of scientific and engineering research under the sole responsibility of AIST.
It is essential to use and integrate scientific and engineering knowledge that is fragmented into various disciplines to address versatile and highly complex socio-economic needs that change rapidly with time.
AIST defines such research as Type-II Basic Research, which integrates multiple disciplines and creates methods for the use of integrated knowledge; traditional basic research is defined as Type-I Basic Research, which is the pursuit and discovery of novel rules, laws and principles that govern natural phenomena.
AIST places its highest priority on the pursuit of complete research, "Full Research", ranging from Type-I Basic Research to the development of products by conducting intensive Type-II Basic Research.
Each Unit of AIST places its highest priorities on establishing an integrated research system that enables researchers with different scientific backgrounds to participate in scenario-oriented research projects to address the needs of society.