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NatureInterface > No.01 > P102-103 [Japanese]

WIN's Goals and Objectives

WIN's goals and objectives

WIN, the non-profit organization (NPO) established by University of Tokyo faculty members and others, was established to conduct technological and sociological research in cooperation with government, industry and other universities with a focus on environmental issues and IT. WIN will make its activities known to the public and will use the findings from its research for practical applications, in order to improve the human condition and the Earth's condition.

Traditionally, as shown in Figure 1, the involvement of universities in society has focused primarily on academic fields. Recently, technology licensing offices (TLOs) are getting attention in the expectation of a flourishing of venture businesses. Sixteen certified TLOs, so far, have been awarded grants based on the Law for Promoting University-Industry Technology Transfer, including those based at the University of Tokyo, the University of Tohoku and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

WIN's goal is to develop a mechanism to foster collaboration between universities and society in environment- and society-related fields. This collaboration will take the form of a broad-based NPO, as opposed to a narrow organization aimed at university-industry only collaboration. We coined the phrase "society-university collaboration," which involves society and universities, as a broader concept than "industry-university collaboration." NPOs are defined in the special law of Civil Law Article 34 (Provisions concerning establishment of organizations for public benefit) and are allowed to engage in for-profit projects in order to pursue their aims. NPOs are between organizations for public benefit, such as corporations, and business organizations, such as incorporated companies, and can play both functions. Industry-university collaboration can readily be pursued by taking the form of an NPO.

WIN engages not only in not-for-profit but also in for-profit projects, as declared in its statutes of incorporation (shown in Figure 2). We created an organizational structure for project implementation, which is shown in Figure 3. Five departments - Organization/Public Relations, Project/Society, Publishing, Technology and Management/Planning - report directly to the board of directors.

The publishing department will publish internationally the magazine "Nature Interface," by outsourcing its publication to Nature Interface Ltd. The management/planning department makes proposals for research and development to obtain external funding, using all the intellectual and technical resources that industries and universities have available.

The correlation among the above is shown in Figure 4. This organization is a body in which a group of 100 members, mainly consisting of the faculty and staff of the Environment Information laboratory and environment-related laboratories at the University of Tokyo (including students), and 200 members of WIN are loosely networked. In this organization, research and development teams are working in such fields as wildlife research, material flow survey, bio-information communications, comfortable space development, micro-generators, micro-actuators, micro-optoelectro-mechanics, micro-sensors, wrist watch type micro-memory, wearables for industrial environments, and natural environment monitoring systems.

The publication of the international magazine "Nature Interface" will begin early in the twenty-first century. The company that will publish this magazine was established in November. This magazine will focus on environmental IT and is designed for a readership that includes the general public, engineers and business administrators, and will be distributed in an electronic format over the Web as well as in a paper format.

Through the activities mentioned above, WIN will accumulate and disseminate various technologies, and thus diversify its activities.

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