Message from the Director

Director SHIMAKAWA, Yuichi
(Professor, Laboratory of Advanced Solid State Chemistry)


Founded in 1926 as the first research institute of Kyoto University, the Institute for Chemical Research will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2026, two years from now. As the 36th director of the Institute with such a long history, I have assumed the responsibility of carrying on the traditions and achievements of the Institute, and I will do my best to develop the Institute into the future.

Our Institute has the founding philosophy of “excelling in the investigation of the basic principles of chemistry and their applications”. With this philosophy in mind, the Institute has consistently embarked on diverse and innovative pioneering research by flexibly and actively adapting to the changing times. In the course of an era that is about to enter its 100th year, significant advances in science and technology have drastically changed people’s living environment, and the chemistry we target and the chemistry society demands have also changed significantly. In line with these changes, our Institute has developed high-level research by broadening perspectives and strengthening collaborations with other institutes based on our own curiosity and drive for improvement. Research at the Institute for Chemical Research, which began 100 years ago with the synthesis of an antibiotic drug compound known as Salvarsan, was mainly synthetic chemistry using flasks and beakers. Today, however, we can design and synthesize novel chemical compounds at the atomic and molecular levels, and analyze their structures and properties using state-of-the-art quantum beams and informatics. In doing so, our institute has contributed to the development of society through a wide range of sciences, including chemistry, physics, biology, and information technology. Indeed, we are proud that the knowledge and technology we have accumulated over the years, the many experimental and analytical instruments currently available, the competent personnel within the Institute, and the extensive domestic and international networks have enabled us to meet the needs of society and industry in various ways.

Nevertheless, in order to adapt to the rapid changes in modern science, including AI technology, and in the roles of universities and research institutions, it is now more necessary than ever to have greater perception, sensitivity, and judgment not only in research but also in the management of the Institute. It also requires passion and effort to translate these judgments into action and results. Our Institute is in an important position to reflect on its long history and traditions, and to discuss its future for the next 100 years of development. In fact, the government policy and the future vision of Kyoto University are moving towards the establishment of a new framework, University of the International Research Excellence. We believe that strengthening the presence of our institute at the international level and nurturing the next generation of young people who will play an active role in the world are essential tasks that we should focus on. We would like to outline a new vision for the University and the Institute, including collaborative efforts both within and outside the Institute to support a prosperous future.

With the announcement of the WHO’s declaration of the end of the public health emergency associated with coronavirus infection, everyday life seems to indicate the end of the pandemic. We have entered a new era, with many activities returning to their pre-pandemic status and adopting various new approaches developed during the difficult environment of the past four years. The research activities of our Institute are also entering a new era after a period of turmoil. However, it is truly crucial to remember that technological innovations that support society and enrich the future are always based on the results of fundamental research. We should reaffirm our founding principle of ” excelling in the investigation of the basic principles of chemistry”.

From this April, under the leadership of myself, Vice Directors Profs. Tatsuo Kurihara and Toshiharu Teranishi, and Director of the International Joint Usage/Research Center (iJURC) Prof. Teruo Ono, we are committed to further developing both our research and the Institute. We hope to enjoy building a great future with our faculty, staff, and students. We sincerely appreciate your continued encouragement and support.

April 2024


Our Mission

The founding philosophy of the ICR is to “excel in the investigation of the basic principles of chemistry and their applications,” and the core values of its research lie both in independence and integration. Following this philosophy and core values, the ICR is dedicated to solving global chemical challenges to benefit society.


Our research is based on examining fundamental questions about the wide field of chemistry with a viewpoint that considers how answering these questions will contribute to solving ever-changing global challenges.


Providing excellent research opportunities in a world-class enviroment, we train our people to have high-level problem solving skills and leadership skills to globally push forward the field of chemistry. Our success comes from the success of our students becoming top scientists in chemistry.

Outreach :

As researchers and educators of chemistry, we endeavor to deepen our exchanges with local communities and Japan as a whole. At the same time, we actively work with international researchers and institutions to solve global problems. By joining the ICR, researchers have the accountability to the public and the opportunity to work closely with leading scientists around the world.