About us

Research Center on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues, Osaka University

Since the Declaration at the 1999 UNESCO World Conference of Science in Budapest, science and technology in the 21st century has been required to play a role as a public good that contributes to humanity’s grand challenges. Governments and industries in each country are investing heavily in research and development of new and emerging science and technologies, and it is expected that overall wellbeing within society will be improved through their uses. This will force a change in the style of research and development in science and technology. It is necessary for us to consider which factors will improve well-being and how each science and technology contributes to it from the early stages of research and development. In other words, in addition to pursuing the excellence of science and technology, ELSI being identified and addressed appropriately at an early stage becomes essential to achieving research and development. Such examinations could guarantee an effective research environment.

With this awareness in mind, Osaka University established the Research Center on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (“ELSI Center”) in April 2020 as a comprehensive body for research on ELSI of emerging science and technology. The center has the following four functions:

  • To study the response to and governance of ELSI by integrating knowledge of the social sciences and humanities across academic disciplines.
  • To become a hub to connect researchers with knowledge of ELSI in various academic fields to researchers engaged in the research and development of emerging science and technology.
  • To connect stakeholders such as business, government, and citizens by conducting workshops on ELSI of emerging science and technology.
  • To provide educational courses to foster human resources that can contribute to the identification, assessment, and response to ELSI (ELSI human resources).

The establishment of this center is positioned to be at the heart of achieving the goal of becoming a “world-leading innovative university that will contribute to social transformation” through co-creation with society. The rapid development of emerging technologies—such as life sciences and information technologies—has the potential to make a significant contribution to humanity. However, to fully take advantage of the benefits, considering ELSI is inevitable. This center promotes a wide range of research exchanges both inside and outside the university, activates interdisciplinary research, and presents new innovation models that contribute to the wellbeing of society by integrating the knowledge of sciences and technologies with social sciences and humanities.

We sincerely request your support and participation.

NISHIO Shojiro
Osaka University President