Organizational strength bringing together the power of industry, academia and government as a catalyst for innovation in Hokkaido
Building Hokkaido brands in biotechnology
Bio-S is an industry-academia-government collaboration project launched in 2007 as part of the Knowledge Cluster Initiative* introduced by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Hokkaido is blessed with a splendid natural environment characterized by fertile land surrounded by rich oceans. However, there are still a number of remaining issues in regard to how the market value of the region's primary commodities can be maximized in the future. The Sapporo Bio Cluster "Bio-S" includes a variety of projects starting from research and development with the aims of applying scientific analysis/evaluation to the superior materials produced in Hokkaido and advancing the practical application and commercialization of sound and reliable functional and nutritional components. Expectations for biotechnology are rising constantly due to increased health consciousness and the need to resolve pressing issues such as the surfacing problems that an aging society brings. In order to meet these needs, we are striving for the creation of a Hokkaido brand known for its value to firmly establish a stellar reputation for the region in terms of quality in market segments such as that for functional foods, which are expected to grow rapidly in the future.
* Renamed the Regional Innovation Cluster Program (Global Type, 2nd stage) under the Project for Developing Innovation Systems supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in April 2010.
Focus on market needs and collaboration with companies from R&D to product development and commercialization
With the Governor of Hokkaido as Chairman and the Mayor of Sapporo as Vice-Chairman, the Sapporo Bio Cluster "Bio-S" project promotes collaboration with research institutions at Hokkaido University, Sapporo Medical University and Asahikawa Medical University as well as with businesses in related fields in Hokkaido and elsewhere. The project is also periodically reviewed by a variety of advisors and an external evaluation committee, while the Knowledge Cluster Headquarters Conference performs overall management.
Toward mutual understanding and cooperation to meet the needs of society
Adding market value to Hokkaido's primary industry output and creating a health sciences industry cluster require close industry-academia-government collaboration. We have addressed a wide variety of research topics under the Bio-S initiative, and choosing areas where there is a high need for commercialization in society requires consideration from the viewpoints of both industry and academia. There is demand for the constant pursuit of matching for research seeds and business needs in every research area and topic.
Bio-S was initiated based on the idea that an internationally competitive cluster can be formed only when solid collaboration among industry, academia and government is realized. Our networks have spread to cover the industrial and business communities as well as research institutions and researchers in Hokkaido, thereby strengthening the framework for cooperation year after year. Supporting these solid cooperative relationships is a commitment to forging ahead toward common objectives and mutual understanding. We also work closely with parties from the Hokkaido University Research & Business Park, the Future Drug Discovery and Medical Care Innovation Program and the All-Hokkaido Translational Research Project for Advanced Medicine, and continue activities as part of a core project in the Hokkaido Government's biotechnology strategy.