IR3S was founded with a vision of building a sustainable society through linking global, social and human systems. While maintaining and developing research centers of transdisciplinary sustainability science of the highest global standards, it also aims to build an international meta-network that links research and educational institutions in developed and developing countries.
Activities for the achievement of the aforementioned aims
The promotion of research and education about sustainability science
The organization of research and education-related international symposiums and other events
The formation of a meta-network with universities/research institutes inside and outside of Japan
The publication of international journals, academic books and educational books, etc.
To give the benefits of its research back to society
Other activities necessary for the accomplishment of objectives
Following the adoption of the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science initiative at the 2005 Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology (Program for Encouraging the Development of Strategic Research Centers), an institute bearing the same name (IR3S for short) was set up at the University of Tokyo with a chancellor as its director.
By the year 2009, which was the final year of financing by the Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology for the development of the IR3S, the institute had collaborated with 5 participating universities (Kyoto University, Osaka University, Hokkaido University and Ibaraki University) and 7 cooperating institutes (Toyo University, the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tohoku University, Chiba University, Ritsumeikan University, Waseda University and the United Nations University). Such a network of universities and research institutes that excel in the field of sustainability science in Japan has made it possible to build research centers of the highest global standards, thus achieving substantial success.
Upon the termination of governmental financial support, the aforementioned network of universities and research institutes was succeeded by the general incorporated association Sustainability Science Consortium, SSC for short, which was newly established in May 2010. (Director: Hiroshi Komiyama, President Emeritus, the University of Tokyo)
On the other hand, the University of Tokyo has continued to run the IR3S since 2009 mainly in the form of conducting activities such as the formation of an international meta-network of sustainability science, promotion of research education and social partnerships, etc., financed by the project budget for the development of sustainability science related international research and education linkage centers contracted under Special Funds for Education and Research (Special Funds for Encouraging the Strategic Development of Research), along with other competitive funds, subcontracting project budgets from government offices, donations from private companies and other sources of funding.
In 2011, the Graduate Program in Sustainability Science – Global Leadership Initiative (GPSS-GLI), a leading doctoral program that was proposed alongside the Graduate Program in Sustainability Science (GPSS) in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, was adopted and thus started promoting educational and research collaboration on an international scale.
It has also been decided that from 2013 onwards, the IR3S will become a secondary research institute under the umbrella of the Todai Institutes for Advanced Study (TODIAS) which combines the world-leading research institutes within the University of Tokyo (Kavli IMPU acts as the primary research institute).