Vol.8 No.2 2015

Research paper : Study of the top 70 NEDO Inside Products (M. YAMASHITA et al.)−71−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.8 No.2 (2015) (Fig. 1). Note that we are well aware that the companies require over ten times the amount NEDO invest in an R&D project for the practical application and commercialization of the project outcome; we were unable to take this into account because the information regarding the companies’ actual expense is not always available. Yet, the method for comprehensive impact we present in this research will help clarify the direction of future R&Ds by giving ballpark figures of the R&D project outcomes in which NEDO invested, and we believe that this study should be of great significance to academic, socioeconomic, and public policy research.2 Selection of NEDO Inside Product candidatesNEDO’s R&D projects started in FY 1980; 100~200 projects or more are conducted each year, and over 3 trillion yen of development fund have been invested so far. At first, it was exceptionally painstaking to find out how many of NEDO project outcomes had actually been put to practical use and directly contributing to the products’ sales. Hence, we decided to extract the products and the processes that were considered to be the products of NEDO project outcomes from NEDO’s 20-year, and 30-year achievement reports. The preliminary selection of candidate products was subsequently made by perusing past press releases, corporate web-sites, journal articles, NEDO accomplishment reports, and follow-up surveys. For the secondary selection, questionnaire surveys and interviews to the participants and others involved in the projects were carried out. A group of external experts examined the degree of contribution to practical application and the sales status of the project outcomes, and finally, prospective “NEDO Inside Product” candidates were selected. The selection criteria are explained below.2.1 Selection method for “NEDO Inside Product” candidatesIn selecting “NEDO Inside Product” candidates, the products with most recent sales figures being substantial, and those with marginal sales figures but bringing about extensive gross social benefit are extracted referring to the publications including industrial reports, NEDO achievement reports, and corporate reports; which is followed by questionnaire surveys (on current and future sales and gross social benefit) and interviews to the companies participated in NEDO projects at the time of development. The sales figures and gross social benefit listed in the corporate survey are carefully reviewed through the interviews to industrial associations or at a committee of experts. In cases where the answer to questionnaire does not provide sufficient amount of information, we perform supplementary calculations using the data published by industrial associations and private research institutions. These results are adopted after consulting with the participating companies and industrial associations. This specific survey method and the selection method of 70 products are explained as follows.2.2 Scope of NEDO Inside ProductsNEDO projects are generally designed to commercialize basic research findings from universities or public research institutes which have been major academic impact. In an effort to tackle complex social issues which cannot be resolved by a single group or company for their risky nature, particularly in case of emergency, NEDO also manages technology development projects in collaboration with industry and academia with practical application in mind. For these reasons, many of NEDO Inside Products are the products of core technologies evolved from NEDO projects, having achieved remarkably high development targets and utilized their realization/commercialization know-how. The core technologies developed in NEDO projects can be defined as the technologies developed via industry-academia-government collaboration, and innovative technologies essential for practical applications. Specifically, they include the technologies which enable high conversion efficiency, high-speed separation, high-speed reaction, ultra-long life span, ultra-lightweight, high durability, surface control, energy savings, high-efficiency combustion control, high-reliability evaluation, and the emergence of reciprocal functions. The reason for setting the contribution rate of the project outcomes 100 % is that almost all the eligible products: (1) were developed through multiple mid-to long term projects; (2) addressed topics the companies would seldom consider and had difficulty obtaining funding for the purpose; (3) were in need for support from external experts, which was difficult to obtain in corporate research, (4) would never be put to practical application if it were not for the NEDO project outcome; (5) must be realized as corporate obligation owing to the funding support from the tax during the critical phase of development; (6) may differ in contribution rate and the companies are unable to grasp; and (7) were realized following the completion of the project and their subsequent commercialization was more likely due to the know-how and the companies’ manufacturing effort rather than the funded research opportunity. As all the products share at least two of the points above, the calculations are performed with 100 % contribution rate on ResultMethod(2) Evaluation of gross social benefit ・Social impact (Net sales, sales of derived products, etc.) ・Job creation effect ・CO2 reduction effect ・Ripple effect (Technological, social, and induced economic effects)(1) Selection of subject products ・Definition of subject products ・Selection ・Narrowing-down ・CategorizationImpact of NEDO Inside ProductsFig. 1 Structure of the selection method and gross social benefits of the NEDO Inside Products


page 14