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Concept-Oriented Research and Development from Social and Cultural Perspectives

Katsuhiko Shirai

Waseda University and Open University of Japan, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract

Throughout human history, research and development (R&D) has progressed mainly as a result of advances in science and technology. Discoveries of new scientific knowledge have been the origin of R&D. If we consider the content and methods of engineering education developed in technologically advanced countries, retrospectively for the past century, we can see the clear progression of change in R&D. In the 1950s, most technologies and products were developed for special users. In the 1980s, the number of products increased, and we experienced an explosion in science and technology applications. In an engineering department lecture, an effective method was proposed to explain the principles of products that used the same technology. Several new engineering technologies were developed that were not directly coupled to only one material or machine. The first and most important was the systems concept. Various types of systems have been invented, and industrial technologies have dramatically increased in scale, complexity, and efficiency. During this stage, attitudes toward R&D were reoriented from technology to solution. This occurred because consumer needs and social demands assumed an important role in R&D. Also, advances in technology have made it possible to develop many products much needed in society. Moreover, ...

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