Innovations Inspired by Nature Research Support Program

Fostering the Next Generation Through Programs Based on the Characteristics of Our Businesses.

To aid the utilization of scientific knowledge learned from nature and the workings of nature in invention, Sekisui Chemical Group has been running the “Sekisui Chemical Innovations Inspired by Nature Research Support Program” since fiscal year 2002 as a program in commemoration of the 55th year since Sekisui Chemical’s founding.

In fiscal year 2019, there were 257 applications, with assistance granted for six “manufacturing” themes and six “fundamental research” themes, for a total of 12 grants.

Research findings relating to themes granted support as part of the “Innovations Inspired by Nature Research Support Program” were published in preliminary form in the online edition of the British science journal Nature Communications. (Affiliations and positions are those at the time of receiving awards)

FY2018 Support Themes

Shiki Yagaia (Professor, Chiba University)
“Development of new supramolecular polymer materials based on lessons learned from protein topology”

FY2014 Support Themes

Masayuki Endo (Associate Professor, Kyoto University)
“Creation of an artificial signal transduction system inspired by the cellular receptors”

FY2019 Support Themes

Manufacturing Theme

Name Affiliated institution Position
(Affiliations, positions, and so forth are those at the time of receiving the grant award)
Grant-Receiving Research Theme
Tetsuo Morita Professor, Maebashi Institute of Technology A Study on Compact City Planning for the preparation of the Next Large-Scale Disaster: Learning from Natural Disasters and the Local History
Hiroshi Yabu Junior Principal Investigator (Associate Professor), WPI-Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR), Tohoku University Creation of Catalytic Carbon Materials Inspired by Marine Biology
Hisashi Yamamoto Professor・Director, Chubu University Institute of Science and Technology Research Development new peptide synthesis
Nobuo Kimizuka Professor, Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University Photon upconverting molecular systems inspired by thylakoid membrane
Takuji Koike Professor, Department of Mechanical and Intelligent Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications Development of pest control and crop cultivation method utilizing vibration response of organisms: Towards sustainable agriculture with environmentally friendly technology using vibration
Tetsushi Taguchi Group Leader, Biomaterials Field, Research Center for Functional Materials, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) Design of surgical adhesives learned from the denaturation behavior of collagens of organisms living in different temperatures

Fundamental Research Theme

Name Affiliated institution Position
(Affiliations, positions, and so forth are those at the time of receiving the grant award)
Grant-Receiving Research Theme
Midori A. Arai Associate Professor, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University Innovation of immunosuppressants inspired by invasive evolution of pathogenic microorganism
Norikazu Ichihashi Professor, Komaba Institute of Science, Graduate School of Arts and Science, The University of Tokyo A new method for directed evolution of enzymes based on artificial cells
Muneyuki Matsuo Project Researcher, Exploratory Research Center on Life and Living Systems, National Institutes of Nature Science Development of Self-organizing Soft Materials Inspired from Intracellular Liquid-liquid Phase Separation
Shunsuke Shigaki Assistant Professor, Department of System Innovation, Osaka University Construction of spatial cognition system using olfactory sense learned from active sensing of insect
Shigeru Kondo Professor, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences Osaka University Finding a new modeling technology by applying the principle that lobster transforms from flat larva to three-dimensional shrimp.
Kenjiro Tadakuma Associate Professor, Tough Cyberphysical AI Research Center, Tohoku University Research and development of a super exhaustive deployable robotic hand mechanism that learns from the ejection proboscis of nemertea

The recipients of the Fiscal Year 2019 Innovation Inspired by Nature Research Support Program

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Holding of the Innovations Inspired by Nature Forum

Sekisui Chemical Group has considered the environment to be a core aspect of management ever since its founding and is contributing to the development of a sustainable society with the goal of resolving environmental problems and the social problems which result from them.

The Innovation Inspired by Nature Forum is held to report the results of the Innovation Inspired by Nature Research Support Program, which gives grants to research that utilizes foundational science knowledge learned from nature and the functioning of nature in innovation, as well as to promote research exchanges among the involved researchers, the graduate students who will be the researchers of tomorrow, and others.

At the fiscal year 2019 Innovation Inspired by Nature Forum, Yoshinori Osumi, Honorary Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, who won The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, gave a lecture on “Importance of basic research supported by curiosity”. In addition, there were lectures based on examples of innovation inspired by nature and presentation sessions for posters created by fiscal year 2018 research grant recipients and others.

Innovations Inspired by Nature Forum 2019

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  • 9-1021-03
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  • Honorary Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Yoshinori Ohsumi

  • Professor, Nagoya Universit
    Hidekazu Yoshida

Poster Presentation Sessions and Research Exchanges

A valuable opportunity to come into contact with the forefront of “innovations inspired by nature”

  • Announcement of grant research theme results (fiscal year 2018 grant themes)
  • Introduction of Sekisui Chemical’s business and research and development structure, environmental initiatives
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