The six Japanese Moonshot candidates

Proposed goals and targets for the new Japanese Moonshot programme for transformative research and innovation was specified together with international experts at the International Moonshot Symposium on December 17-18. The symposium was an important step in setting up the programme, that has an initial budget of 100 billion JPY over five years. The symposium was set up by the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI) at the Cabinet Office, with support from the funding agencies JST and NEDO, where around 800 participants discussed possible Moonshot goals and potential for international collaboration to achieve them.

The symposium included high-level presentations from Japanese ministers, funding agency presidents, university president and company ceo:s, as well as chair and members from the Moonshot Visionary Council, and the CSTI. The EU Commission was represented on deputy director general level on stage, and through video messages from the current and former EU Commissioners, as well as from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy. The possibility of international collaboration between the Moonshots and the Missions in the forthcoming EU Framework Programme, Horizon Europe, was pointed out from both the Japanese and EU side.

Preceding the symposium, the Moonshot Visionary Council had specified 25 possible areas for the Moonshot Programme within the overall priorities of Tackling declining birthrate and aging society with radical innovation; Recovering our civilization and healthy global environment; and Pioneering new frontiers with science and technology. The Visionary Council’s 25 areas were condensed into six topics for which goal candidates and targets were discussed and proposed during the international symposium. Additionally, cross-cutting issues were addressed and these included: Ethics; Mathematics; Management structure; People and Cross-sectional teams. From the Swedish side, OSI, RISE and Vinnova participated.

The following Moonshot goals and targets were proposed as result of the symposium:

Moonshot 1

By 2050, realization of a society in which human beings can be free from their limitations of body, brain, space, and time with harmonious empowerment.

Target

  • Cybernetic Avatar Capitalism for Diversity and Inclusion: By 2050, develop technologies and infrastructure to carry out large-scale complex tasks using combinations of large numbers of avatars and robots that are teleoperated by multiple persons.
  • Cybernetic Avatar Life: By 2050, anyone willing shall be able to augment their physical, cognitive, and perceptional capabilities to the level of the best experts of selected domains.

Moonshot 2

By 2050, realization of ultra-early disease prediction and intervention based on the Whole-Body Network Atlas for longer, fuller and happier lives.

Target

  • By 2050 establish a system for disease prediction and evaluation of the pre-symptomatic states: This will be achieved by integrated analysis of the entire functional network between human organs and will ultimately realize the suppression and prevention of disease.
  • By 2050 establish a strategy that enables the conversion of a pre-symptomatic state to a healthy state: Functional changes in human physiology along life course will be clarified from the viewpoint of a comprehensive network between organs.
  • By 2050 identify disease-related network structure, including molecular targets as its component, and establish innovative prevention, diagnosis, and treatment methods.
  • Establish non-invasive techniques applicable to human subjects for observing and manipulating organ networks, etc.

Moonshot 3

By 2050, a robot can autonomously learn, adapt to the environment, evolve itself in intelligence and act with human beings.

Target

  • By 2050, development of AI robots, that humans do not feel uncomfortable, have physical abilities equivalent to or better than humans and grow with human life.
  • By 2050, the development of an automated AI robot system that aims to discover principles and solutions by thinking and acting in the field of natural science.
  • By 2050, development of AI robots that autonomously judge and act in environments where it is difficult for humans to act.

Moonshot 4

By 2050, realization of sustainable resources circulation to recover the global environment.

Target

  • <Cool Earth> By 2030, development of circulation technology for green house gases, which is effective also in terms of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in a pilot scale.
  • <Clean Earth> By 2030, development of technology in which environmental harmful substances convert into valuable or harmless materials in a pilot scale or as a prototype.
  • <Cool and Clean Earth> By 2040, several small markets for the circulation technology will be created.

Moonshot 5

By 2050, create a new food production system which will enable both an “expansion of the amount of food supply” and “conservation of global environment”.

Target

  • By 2030, develop a proto-type system with model crops or other organisms, and then conduct feasibility test.
  • Beyond that period, expand the number of target crops so that the new system will be extended all over the world by 2050, with parallel discussions on ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications).

Moonshot 6

By 2050, realize a fault-tolerant universal quantum computer that will revolutionize economy, industry, and security.

Target

  • By 2030, development of NISQ (Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum) computers of a certain scale, and effectiveness demonstration of quantum error correction.
  • By 2040, demonstration of distributed NISQ computer and calculation of useful tasks under quantum error correction.
  • By 2050, realization of large-scale/fault-tolerance.

The goals and targets have an initial research focus, with transformative innovation aspirations. Next steps for the programme will include the decision-making process of the Moonshot Goals at the CSTI in the Cabinet Office, nomination of programme directors for each Moonshot Goal, followed by calls for programme managers and proposals. The calls will be launched by JST (Japan Science and Technology) and NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization). The calls will be open for international collaborations, and most likely also for non-Japanese management. The conditions concerning i.e. reciprocity and set-up are still to be specified. At the symposium, Cabinet Office also indicated extension of the programme beyond the current five-year budget, towards the long-term goals of the ambitions.

Let’s join forces towards the moonshots, co-creating transformative innovations!