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06/05/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2024 07:02

Fostering 'Love of the Earth' and Realizing a Sustainable Society through Protective and Proactive Sustainability Start of joint research based on a shared vision between[...]

Tokyo - June 5, 2024 - NTT Corporation (hereinafter "NTT") and Waseda University (hereinafter "Waseda") have begun joint research with a shared vision that aims to create new values in the fields of the global environment, energy, food, sports, and health to foster a "Love of the Earth" and realize a sustainable society.
This joint research will be conducted on four research themes, starting with "protective sustainability" and "proactive sustainability". The two organizations will promote a system that integrates the humanities and sciences, transcending the boundaries of each specialized field, which has not yet been achieved through their previous joint research.

1. Background

In recent years, there has been an urgent need to solve global issues related to the survival of humanity, such as global warming and energy, environmental, and food crises. In addition, internet traffic has increased by approximately 90 times, and power consumption has increased by more than 5 times in 20 years due to the widespread use of smartphones, AI, IoT, etc. As a result, network delays, congestion, energy depletion, and greenhouse gas emissions have worsened. To solve these issues, it is necessary to promote two energy conservation efforts: "protective sustainability", which is an effort to prevent the current situation from deteriorating through energy conservation and environmental preservation, and "proactive sustainability", which is a proposal for drastic solutions through new ways of energy creation and food supply methods.
NTT and Waseda University have launched this research with the intent to leverage their strengths and contribute to creating new values and realizing a sustainable society (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Joint Research Concept

2. Significance of this joint research system

Waseda University boasts strong research capabilities, not only in the fields of science and engineering represented by emerging technologies such as nano-energy, ICT, and robotics, but also in the humanities and social sciences such as politics, economics, law, business administration, literature, and linguistics.
In preparation for the 150th anniversary of the University, Waseda will establish 3 global centers to promote the convergence of knowledge that contributes to society in order to realize a Waseda that shines on the global stage. In 2024, the University established the Global Research Center (GRC), which will serve as the research command center, to develop, advance, and integrate original research that can bring change to our society. Under the leadership of the president and provost, Waseda will be a research university that contributes to the world by working towards solving the world's most pressing issues. This program will strengthen the University's top-down research capabilities along with the creation of original and innovative research foundations from the bottom-up.
Under the IOWN concept1, NTT is researching and developing a next-generation communication infrastructure that utilizes cutting-edge optical and information processing technologies to create a smart world. With IOWN's low power consumption, high capacity, high quality, and low latency network, NTT aims to create new values and realize a global sustainable society.
Although Waseda and NTT have conducted a number of joint research projects in the past, it has been common practice to conduct joint research limited to labs related to each subject, and the system was not designed to involve multiple organizations or researchers. To solve today's complex social issues, the two organizations have introduced this shared vision approach because they believe it is necessary to share a common vision, build a research system that works across multiple organizations and between multiple researchers, and bring various skills and ideas to the table.
In addition, it is not enough to create technologies through research. It is also important to propose how to deploy the technology and how to build business models to implement it into the existing systems.
Therefore, within the framework of this joint research, NTT and Waseda will focus on the integration of the humanities and science across multiple research institutions.
Through this collaboration between Waseda and NTT, the organizations will create new technologies that can contribute to the future of humanity.

3. Overview of joint research

(1) Create a joint research vision and determine research topics

At the start of the joint research, NTT and Waseda decided on a vision, "Love of the Earth"based on the joint research theme that combines the fields of the global environment, energy, food, sports, and health with IOWN, NTT's R&D program, based on "protective sustainability" and "proactive sustainability" (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Joint Research Vision

39 researchers from Waseda and NTT from various fields and careers came together and decided on research topics that were in line with the shared vision (Figure 3).

<4 research themes>

  • A world that values people, society, and the earth
  • A world free from international conflicts and wars
  • A world of sports and health that is full of fun and enriches the mind
  • A world where the joy of eating leads to global happiness

Figure 3 Joint Research Theme

(2) System for joint research

In this joint research, all research institutes from Waseda under the leadership of the Global Research Center (GRC) and seven research institutes from NTT will participate (Figure 4).

■ Waseda University

  • Waseda Center for a Carbon Neutral Society
  • Faculty of Sport Sciences
  • Advanced Collaborative Research Organization for Smart Society (ACROSS)
  • Green Computing Systems Research Organization
  • Research Organization for Nano & Life Innovation
  • Center for Data Science
  • Institute for Business and Finance
  • Research Institute of Business Administration
  • Waseda Institute of Political Economy
  • Waseda Research Institute for Science and Engineering
  • Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences  etc.

■ NTT

  • NTT Human Informatics Laboratories
  • NTT Social Informatics Laboratories
  • NTT Computer and Data Science Laboratories
  • NTT Network Service Systems Laboratories
  • NTT Space Environment and Energy Laboratories
  • NTT Communication Science Laboratories
  • NTT Basic Research Laboratories

Figure 4 Joint Research Formation

4. Outlook

This joint research will be carried out over the span of three years. In the first year, the research content will be concretized and examined. In the second year, the technology will be verified, and in the third year, the demonstration of the social implementation will be carried out. In addition, the results obtained through joint research are not limited to research, the organizations will also promote social implementation led by the NTT Group.
Waseda and NTT aim to contribute to society through the co-creation of a sustainable society with the vision of fostering "Love of the Earth" and new values that inspire people in the fields of global environment, energy, food, and sports based on "protective sustainability" and "proactive sustainability".

1IOWN: Innovative Optical and Wireless Network. The next-generation communication infrastructure concept is being promoted by the IOWN Global Forum, an organization that promotes the development of IOWN technologies and use cases globally. (https://iowngf.org/)

About NTT

NTT contributes to a sustainable society through the power of innovation. We are a leading global technology company providing services to consumers and businesses as a mobile operator, infrastructure, networks, applications, and consulting provider. Our offerings include digital business consulting, managed application services, workplace and cloud solutions, data center and edge computing, all supported by our deep global industry expertise. We are over $97B in revenue and 330,000 employees, with $3.6B in annual R&D investments. Our operations span across 80+ countries and regions, allowing us to serve clients in over 190 of them. We serve over 75% of Fortune Global 100 companies, thousands of other enterprise and government clients and millions of consumers.

About Waseda University

Located in the heart of Tokyo, Waseda University is a leading private research university that has long been dedicated to academic excellence, innovative research, and civic engagement at both the local and global levels since 1882. The University has produced many changemakers in its history, including nine prime ministers and many leaders in business, science and technology, literature, sports, and film. Waseda has strong collaborations with overseas research institutions and is committed to advancing cutting-edge research and developing leaders who can contribute to the resolution of complex, global social issues. The University has set a target of achieving a zero-carbon campus by 2032, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015.

To learn more about Waseda University, visit https://www.waseda.jp/top/en