Message from the Director

Director TOKITOH, Norihiro
(Professor, Laboratory of Organoelement Chemistry)


 The Institute for Chemical Research (ICR), launched in 1926 as the first research institute at Kyoto University, will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2016. However, its factual roots date back to 1915 (Specialized Center for Chemical Research founded at Kyoto Imperial University, College of Science for the study of special medicinal substances, “Salvarsan,” that is, arsphenamine, and so on). Our founding vision was to “Excel in the Investigation of Basic Principles of Chemistry and Their Applications.” Since then, the ICR has continuously produced outstanding research achievements, and we have flourished into a large-scale organization with five research divisions: Synthetic Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Biochemistry, Environmental Chemistry, and Multidisciplinary Chemistry, and three research centers: Advanced Research Center for Beam Science, International Research Center for Elements Science (IRCELS), and Bioinformatics Center. Currently, about 120 faculty members, 210 graduate students, and 60 researchers are engaged in research activities in 30 different laboratories in total supervised by full-time professors. Furthermore, we have 5 laboratories supervised by visiting professors.

 Research at ICR encompasses the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, and informatics. Our core covers chemistry fields including physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, materials chemistry and biochemistry. The graduate schools to which our laboratories belong as cooperative ones accepting graduate students cover diverse fields of science, engineering, agriculture, pharmaceutical sciences, medicine, and informatics. These laboratories are spearheading cutting-edge research, and yielding outstanding results in their own and correlated research areas. The legacy of our founding philosophy continues today and describes the essence of our research activities. With this vision in mind, we have entrusted our scientists to choose and pursue research topics at the forefront of advanced chemistry with bottom-up paradigms. Whether or not the human race maintains sustained growth is a key issue of this century.

 The ICR encourages its members to be actively involved in research projects with bottom-up in mind, and to value the development of unique interdisciplinary research projects, in order to create new knowledge as well as to contribute to the future of our society in materials-related fields. Actually, one of our major issues is the creation and development of bio-inspired smart materials from the viewpoint of not only academic interests but also a policy aimed at fabricating a sustainable society, as these will fulfill highly efficient respective functions enabling reduction of the effects/loads on the environment and so on. The ICR collaborates with the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere and the Institute of Advanced Energy to start the MEXT-supported joint research project on the bio-inspired smart materials as of April 1, 2015.

 The ICR is currently collaborating with domestic/overseas universities and research organizations (with 69 official international collaboration agreements) and is functioning as a Joint Usage/Research Center proclaiming the Frontier/Interdisciplinary Research Core for Deepening Investigation and Promoting Cooperation in Chemistry-oriented Fields supported by MEXT (2nd stage since 2016); these activity for the 1st stage received a high commendation on the final assessment last year. In addition, the ICR, IRCELS in particular, is making a significant contribution to the MEXT Project of Integrated Research Consortium on Chemical Sciences (IRCCS; 2016-2021) as one of four core research institutions from Japanese national universities. Further, we also strive to foster and secure young researchers through these activities as well as the graduate education mentioned above. For instance, in 2012 we restarted an in-house annual grant system named “ICR Grant for  Promoting Integrated Research.” This strong collaboration basis, which has been constructed in-house thus far, will ensure that the ICR serves as a global research core that propels chemistry-oriented fields.

 Finally, we appreciate your continued encouragement and support.

October 2016


Our Vision

The founding philosophy of the Institute for Chemical Research (ICR) is to “Excel in the Investigation of Basic Principles of Chemistry and Their Applications.” Our research is grounded on the core values of freedom, independence, and harmony. As a key part of Kyoto University, the ICR is committed to contributing to the harmonious development of the global community by solving fundamental chemical issues.


We regard chemistry as a broad area of the natural sciences, and strive for balanced development; the platform of basic research into the true nature of matter serves as a foothold for more applied studies. We aim that strive to be flexible and responsive to the challenges of our global society.


Through research in an integrated environment of world-class laboratories, we aim to train and develop talented people with broad experiences, and high-level of problem solving skills, capable of providing leadership towards the harmonious development of the global community.

Relationship with Society:

As researchers and educators of chemistry, we endeavor to deepen our exchanges with local communities and the Japanese society. We envision contributing to solving global problems through active scientific exchange with international researchers and institutions. Lastly, we commit to our accountability to society through internal reviews and information disclosure.