Outline: Institute of Sustainability Science (ISS)

The Institute of Sustainable Science (ISS) was established in 2006 as an interdisciplinary research unit that targets, without being disturbed by the borders between traditional departments/ research areas, problems related to survival of the human beings, society, and environment. ISS has been achieving integrated interdisciplinary studies on those problems through collaboration of researchers within and out of ISS (including those out of Kyoto University). As of 2011, ISS became a constituent member of newly organized Center for the Promotion of Interdisciplinary Education and Research (C-PIER) but has been keeping its research direction.

ISS is currently supported by seven member departments in Kyoto University, Institute for Chemical Research, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Institute of Advanced Energy, Research Institute for Sustainable Hemisphere, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, and Institute of Economic Research. ISS has its bottomup character of Planning/conducting interdisciplinary and borderless collaboration of researchers working in various fields that are highly specialized and finely subdivided in the current academia. The organization of ISS serves as a platform supporting such researches, and this standing point of ISS has not changed since its establishment (even after the participation in C-PIER).

ISS, in its starting form, achieved three types of researches, “Exploratory Research”, “Integrated Research”, and “Comprehensive Research”, with the aid of financial support from its member departments and of outside funds. As of 2009, ISS started a 4-years program with its own, allocated budget to conduct “Mobile Site Type Research” in addition to “Exploratory Research”. The former type of research, combining the integrated studies at ISS and the mobile field studies at the research sites in Aomori and Shiga prefectures, led to a significant progress related to possible methods of achieving area-specific survival. In addition, this type of research was helpful for young researchers to acquire an interdisciplinary and comprehensive viewpoint through their field studies at those sites.

After the allocated budget expired in 2012, ISS returned to its starting form of operation (based on the support from the member departments) to further develop the “Exploratory Research” pursuing a newly settled theme, the “lifetime” of human beings, society, and environment. Researches succeeding the “Mobile Site Type Research” have been conducted as well. Needless to say, the human beings, society, and environment unavoidably have the lifetime. Perspective of sustainability science that includes the lifetime as a necessary and important ingredient fits well with the current situation in the world. ISS is now attempting to pioneer the research on the basis of this perspective.