The Ashida Fund began in 1993 with a donation from Jun Ashida Co. Ltd. for the purpose of developing the fashion industry in Japan and fostering Japanese technologists in the area of dyeing technology. In 1994 this donation was used to establish a fund for carrying out projects relating to these goals, but also including international exchange among technology experts. Finally, from 1997, the aims of the fund were expanded beyond the development of the fashion and dyeing industries to include human resource exchanges in the wider science and technology field.
In particular, the fund is paying attention to the apparent phenomenon of young people around the world losing interest in science and technology, recognizing that this is due to a reduced ability to appreciate the wonders of nature and a diminished sense of admiration and respect for science and technology. In relation to this, the fund is being used to advance projects for inviting experts to conduct lectures and seminars for elementary and middle-school students and their teachers and parents.
Projects that have been carried out so far by JISTEC on behalf of the Ashida Fund include:
- Assisting specialists in the field of technology to study abroad in Europe (initially only covering technology specialists in the fashion industry)
- Carrying out lectures for students, teachers and caregivers (26 such events held up until now)
- Providing support for teaching materials in schools (Donation of audio-visual equipment to elementary and middle schools in Yamakoshi in Nagaoka city, Niigata Prefecture in 2006)
- Provision of assistance toward the hosting of the Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (2003)
- Provision of assistance toward the hosting of the 2010 Japan-China Female Scientist Beijing Symposium