THE HUMAN FRONTIER SCIENCE PROGRAMME: A WINDOW INTO TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY RESEARCH FOR AUSTRALIA
By Stephen Utick
Japan’s Human Frontier Science Programme, tacitly endorsed in the 1988 Toronto Summit Declaration, is examined in the context of converging Japanese economic and social imperatives. The two key research areas of the programme, elucidation of brain functions and elucidation of biological functions through molecular level approaches, are both ones in which Australia has research strengths. Opportunities for major investment in the biological component of Australia’s basic research infrastructure and postdoctoral training are emerging, which could greatly assist Australia’s research capability in the biosciences. Assuming successful establishment of the programme, there are several challenges which will need to be faced whether Australia participates at a managerial level or not. Issues such as intellectual property rights and drainage of research talent will undoubtedly emerge, although largely as a result of a potential ‘new protectionism’ among Summit countries, rather than from Japan in isolation. In addition, the social policy driving the Human Frontier Science Programme is poorly conceived, and may lead to contention in certain areas of research.
page: 239 – 253
Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation
Volume 7, Issue 2