OSAKA– Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. will set aside some 500 million yen annually to nurture extremely promising research ideas that have yet to embark on the path to realization, a company official said Thursday.

Eight such proposals are now at the preresearch stage, said Osamu Yamazaki, director of Matsushita’s central research laboratories.

Some of them will be given the go-ahead by yearend, he said, noting that one or two will likely be launched each year. The term of one project is about five years.

“While companies are shifting their research areas to specific fields from comprehensive ones, this might make companies unable to find a niche technology,” Yamazaki said. “It is thus necessary to create a system that allows researchers to pursue technological breakthroughs.”

If a certain project is found to have market potential, it would be transferred to the appropriate Matsushita research laboratory, he said.

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