Vol.8 No.2 2015
Research paper : Study of the top 70 NEDO Inside Products (M. YAMASHITA et al.)−88−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.8 No.2 (2015) to obtain the information on how innovation can be reflected in the input coefficient, but such organization as NEDO should be capable of acquiring the data. As your future topic, and as a part of NEDO’s product evaluation activity, the implementation of the new method of exploiting the table deserves further discussion. In addition, the selection criterion for the calculation method shown in Fig. 4 may need an explanation referring to past literature.Answer (Masaru Yamashita)I appreciate your corrective guidance. In this paper, we aimed to demonstrate the impact of NEDO Inside Products on society. NEDO’s mission is to promote national projects in the areas of environment, energy, and industrial technologies. From this standpoint, each product falls under one of the following categories: The product “(1) is a pioneer of the market, (2) is competitive in international markets, (3) pushes the boundaries of the technology, and (4) addresses any social issue.” Over half of the products belong to category (4) reflecting the primary objective of NEDO’s establishment. After careful examination of these technologies, we found that it would make more sense if we divided (4) into social demands and everyday life issues. Having consulted with external experts, we re-categorized the item (4) as (4) solutions to resources and energy issues, and (5) providers of safety, security, and comfort. As a result, we have five categories. This process is explained in detail in subchapter 2.6.For the inter-industry relations analysis, we eventually added the reference detailing relevant information in subchapter 4.3 due to the word count of this article. As you pointed out, it is a method frequently used in LCA and other analyses, but to calculate the effects NEDO Inside Products induced using the inter-industry relations table, we made investigation from different perspectives focusing on these two points: (1) Distinction must be made between the products amenable for the calculation of induced effects and those that are not, and (2) the threshold values need careful examination. As a result, B-to-B products were chosen subject to estimation as they have no problem calculating the induced effects using the inter-industry relations table, and for B-to-C products, calculations were performed on the assumption that there were hardly any induced effects among the industries and the only contribution being made was the sales revenue of NEDO Inside Products. In future, we are willing to utilize the inter-industry relations table to calculate the benefits and induced effects for environmental effects and CO2 ripple effects analyses as well as sales figures.4 Industry-academia-government collaboration and contribution rate to the NEDO projectsQuestion and comment (Akira Kageyama, Naoto Kobayashi, and Ayu Washizu)On top of the funding awarded by a NEDO project, there must be an amount of expense given from participating enterprises. How did you handle this burden on participant companies when looking at investment efficiency? You posited the contribution rate of NEDO’s R&D outcome to be 100 %, and your initial explanation for this was: 1) practical application would have been seriously delayed or could not have been achieved without given project outcome; 2) many of the products underwent development phases from basic/generic to demonstration, and 3) the project’s contribution rate to practical application differs depending on the product and cannot be specified due to the difficulty associated with verification. As the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated a semiconductor plant and it affected the operation of automobile manufacturers around the world, the product’s whole supply-chain goes dysfunctional however tiny the missing part may be. Assuming a 100 % contribution rate is a way to represent certain viewpoint. However, it is seemingly inevitable for you to face criticism for overestimating the rate.In the theory of R&D management, there is a widespread saying: Surviving “Valley of Death” to confront “Darwinian Sea.” The manufacturers, in particular, are aware that they will never arrive at a new product or business without crossing Darwinian Sea. Furthermore, “practical application would have been seriously delayed or could not have been achieved without given project outcome” holds true (necessary condition) and is critical. But, considering the additional investmentNote* of substantial amount necessary to record sales from a new business or a new product (sufficient condition), it is essential to examine and account for the basis of the 100 % contribution rate.Note*) (1) Reproducibility of the technology, (2) investigation on yield increase, (3) investigation on scalability and subsequent optimization, (4) marketing, (5) close cooperation including joint research with user companies, (6) establishment of quality-assurance system, and etc.Answer (Masaru Yamashita)Thank you for such pertinent advice. We have received the same question from a number of researchers regarding the point you mentioned. For the products taken up as NEDO Inside Products, their sales figures are presented after obtaining approval from the developers, relevant bodies, and the researchers involved. Moreover, the contribution rate was set at 100 % because two or more of the following conditions would apply to almost all the 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.The maximum (sales) effect was calculated accordingly. We have added the above text and revised the items for subchapter 2.2 “Scope of NEDO Inside Products.” In chapter 7, we have also inserted, “For the realization and commercialization of R&D outcomes, the companies are known to make investment an order of magnitude larger than the funding awarded by NEDO”. 5 Understanding of R&D expenditure for NEDO projectsQuestion and Comment (Ayu Washizu)It is always an issue when considering R&D expenses how to evaluate the expenditure on failed R&D projects. Since the scope of this research is the development projects that were successful, it is most unlikely that you have included the R&D expenditure on failures. Nonetheless, even a failed development project may have technological ripple effects as shown in Fig. 5, and it could be valuable because it establishes the fact that “this doesn’t work.” This may eventually be a factor leading a project to success. Therefore, the expenses on failures have supposedly contributed to successful results. In the cost-effectiveness calculations, you figured out the maximum effect assuming a 100 % contribution rate. Taking those expenditures into account, you might have to consider slightly exaggerating the figures when conducting sensitivity analyses.