Entering the 21st century, in the midst of large changes in the structure of industry for creating a sustainable society, the roles and responsibilities of scientists and technologists are becoming ever greater. Modern society is now emerging as an information-oriented culture as a result of the information technology coupled with advances in biotechnology, and genetic engineering. The availability of information will fundamentally change methods of production, and will become the second industrial revolution. On the other hand, in this age, we face a crisis in terms of the earth’s biosphere along with shortages in energy and resources, acid rain, global warming and large amounts of waste. Thus, it will become increasingly important to promote many sectors of industry ,academia and society to work , think and plan together.
The Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan (SCEJ) is one of the few organizations that functions as an expert group that consists of chemical engineers, chemical engineering practitioners and students. Making most of its human resources, SCEJ is striving to establish a system by which we can respond promptly to society’s demands with activities and services such as providing : (i) opportunities for domestic and overseas researchers and technicians to exchange research results and technologies, (ii) programs for members to improve their skills and occupational status, (iii) proposals in scientific research for national projects, (iv) methods for accepting outsourcing of projects, and (v) member services such as publicity activities and distribution of bulletins.
In the 21st century, to respond to rapid changes in science and technology, SCEJ will establish an organizational system that we can create new technologies and industries that will contribute to establishing sustainable society. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to form a new academic framework for science and technology immediately that encompasses peripheral science and technology into the existing academic framework of chemical engineering. Science and technology in this sense refers to not only those peripheral sciences and technologies used in high-tech industries, but also to new engineering systems for production that harmonize with humankind and the environment including fields such as arts, social sciences and law.
SCEJ is now presenting its identity to the public to improve social outreach. Chemical engineering has always been considered as a rigorous academic field. In our vision the growth of the SCEJ can be greatly accelerated by promoting the details of our activities to the public and outreach organizations including mass media. Most engineering departments of universities and colleges in Japan are made up chemical related fields, which is unique to Japan. This means that there are great opportunities for promoting many multidisciplinary researchers for solving problems facing humankind including food and water supply, energy and quality of life.
To address some of the challenges just mentioned , SCEJ is setting organizational structure , public perception, education, forth science and technology, and local section activity. Firstly, we will continue to reevaluate and renew the chemical engineering system, and publicize results of such assessments. Secondly, we will establish an organization that enables one to understand details of chemical engineering at a glance within SCEJ (i.e., promotion of the division system lead by the Division Coordination Team). Thirdly, we will develop engineers, who can accommodate the needs of the future by using engineering education systems to promote chemical knowledge. Enhancing Education Center. Fourthly, we will promote research and technology development that can match the “seeds” of research to society’s “needs” through joint research, consignment studies and technical consultations obtained with small scale research conducted at the laboratory level to the proposal of large scale joint projects conducted in collaboration between the government, industry and universities (i.e., Establishment of the Center for Collaboration between Government, Industry and Academia). Finally, to revitalize the community, we will strive to develop and grow technologies and industries unique to the community by reevaluating our branch system and supporting activities conducted in each district, as well as collaborations between the headquarters and branches. Through these activities, it is our hope to appeal to many members of the community as well as SCEJ members.
To achieve these goals, the structure of SCEJ will be changed signification. Figure 1 (-omission-) shows the organization’s functions that SCEJ is aiming to achieve. Research, education/personnel training and service/contribution are set out as the three pillars of the organization, and “community revitalization” and “collaboration between government industries and academia exists as “opportunities” to make the most of these pillars. To effectively use these functions, it is essential to establish a firm operational foundation that makes efficient use of information networks. This will be the highest priority subject for realizing VISION 2011. It is also crucial to keep the organization’s activities for achieving these goals as transparent and easy-to-understand as possible for its members . For this reason, we will improve the area of information/services and further enhance member services by establishing an Information Service Center.
In the next and subsequent sections, each of the current functions of SCEJ mentioned above will be described in terms of ideal circumstances and then specific measures for realizing these ideal functions will be given. Establishment of the VISION Promotion Committee will help to realize these ideal functions rapidly.