The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. has established the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award" since 2004 with the aim of contributing to the sustainable development of chemistry and the chemical industry. In particular, this award is designed to recognize researchers who have made outstanding achievements in catalysis science.

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. announced the winners of the "2016 Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award" and the "2016 Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award of Encouragement".

The winners of the awards are as follows:

*  Assignments and positions are those at the time of receipt of awards.

2014 Winners

The Winner of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

F. Dean TosteF. Dean Toste
University of California Berkeley, U.S.A.

"Introduction of Concepts and Catalysts for Organic Synthesis, including those based on Homogeneous Gold Catalysis and Chiral Anion Catalysis"

Professor Toste has pioneered the development of novel catalysts with gold complexes, high-valent metal oxides, and chiral counteranions including: (a) homogeneous low-valent gold catalysts; (b) high-valent metal oxide catalysts; and (c) chiral counteranion-assisted asymmetric metal-free phase-transfer catalysis. More recently he has developed metal catalyst-fermentation hybrid processes for the synthesis of biofuels and chemicals from biomass.

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award of Encouragement"

Kazuya YamaguchiShunsuke Chiba
Associate Professor
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

"Development of Single-Electron-Transfer Redox Catalytic Systems for Synthesis of Azaheterocycles"

Hideki YorimitsuNaoya Kumagai
Chief Researcher
Institute of Microbial Chemistry, Japan

"Development of Cooperative Asymmetric Catalysts and their Application to the Streamlined Enantioselective Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals"

Dr. Chiba has developed unique molecular transformations based on single-electron-transfer oxidation-reduction (redox) in the copper-catalyzed aerobic oxidation and in the manganese-catalyzed radical reactions and thereby paved a way to synthesize azaheterocycles, a family of nitrogen-containing heterocyclic compounds that are widely used in medicine, agriculture, and materials science.

Dr. Kumagai has developed novel cooperative asymmetric catalysts with soft Lewis acid/hard Brönsted base and rare earth metal/hydrogen-bonding ligand combinations and thereby achieved the highly efficient enantioselective synthesis of a variety of pharmaceuticals and related chemicals.

2011 Winners

The Winner of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

David W. C. MacMillanDavid W. C. MacMillan
Princeton University

"Development of Organocatalysis"

Prof. David W. C. MacMillan has developed the concepts of “Organocatalysis”, especially for asymmetric synthesis, and realized environmentally benign nonmetallic catalysts that have a practical value and play a central role in the organocatalysis field.

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award of Encouragement"

Kazuya YamaguchiKazuya Yamaguchi
Associate Professor
The University of Tokyo

"Development of Highly Active Heterogeneous Catalysts Based on the Properties of Metal Hydroxides"

Hideki YorimitsuHideki Yorimitsu
Associate Professor
Kyoto University

"Development of Palladium-Catalyzed Regio- and Stereoselective Allylation of Organic Halides with Homoallyl Alcohols"

Dr. Kazuya Yamaguchi has introduced new molecular design concept in the field of Heterogeneous Catalysts, and clarified that an efficient organic synthesis can be achieved by supported ruthenium hydroxide catalysts. This was realized with well-known materials by his excellent point of observation, and will be widely used in the future.

Dr. Hideki Yorimitsu has achieved an efficient cross-coupling reaction by palladium catalysts with skillfully designed neutral molecules such as homoallyl alcohols in place of commonly used active organometal compounds. This method is regarded as a breakthrough in the field of environmentally benign catalytic science.

2009 Winners

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

John F. HartwigJohn F. Hartwig
University of Illinois

"Development of New Practical Catalytic Reactions Including Efficient C-H Bond Activation and Coupling Reactions"

Kyoko NozakiKyoko Nozaki
The University of Tokyo

"Development of Novel Catalytic Reactions for Coordination Copolymerization of Polar Monomers"

Prof. Hartwig made pioneering contributions to catalytic carbon-hydrogen bond activation, one of the unsolved challenges in catalytic science, and realized new types of transformations including highly efficient coupling reactions, especially with deep understanding of reaction mechanisms.

Prof. Nozaki realized innovative catalytic reactions for coordination copolymerization of olefins with polar monomers, which is an important topic of catalyst science, through accumulated basic studies of reactions mechanisms.

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award of Encouragement"

Shigeki MatsunagaShigeki Matsunaga
Lecturing Professor
The University of Tokyo

"Development of Multimetallic Asymmetric Catalysis through Chiral Ligand Design"

Yoshiaki NakaoYoshiaki Nakao
Assistant Professor
Kyoto University

"Development of Cooperative Metal Catalysis for C-C Bond Forming Addition Reactions"

Dr. Matsunaga demonstrated the validity of the idea that catalytic reactions can be controlled by multimetallic catalysts, leading to useful organic compounds.

Dr. Nakao realized new carbon-carbon bond forming addition reactions through the cooperative action of nickel catalysts with Lewis acid catalysts.

2007 Winners

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

Zhaomin HouZhaomin Hou
Chief Scientist

"Development of Polymerization Reactions Based on New Organo Rare Earth Metal Catalysts"

Gregory C. FuGregory C. Fu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Coupling Reactions and Asymmetric Synthesis Based on Novel Catalyst Designs"

Dr. Zhaomin Hou has discovered the regio-, stereoselective polymerization and copolymerization of a wide range of olefins and dienes by use of new organo rare earth metal catalysts, thereby opening up the path to new polymer materials.

Prof. Gregory C. Fu developed new designs for chiral catalysts that are based on planar-chiral asymmetry, and he greatly expanded the scope of coupling reactions.

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award of Encouragement"

Jun TeraoJun Terao
Assistant Professor
Osaka University

"Carbon Bond Formation Reactions Using Anionic Transition Metal Complexes as the Key Catalytic Intermediates"

Michael C. W. ChanMichael C. W. Chan
Assistant Professor
City University of Hong Kong

"Importance of Weak Attractive Polymer-Ligand Interactions in Olefin Polymerization Catalysis"

Dr. Jun Terao has established that anionic olefin transition metal complexes are useful as new catalysts for carbon-carbon bond formation reactions including coupling reactions and addition reactions, thereby opening up a new field in organic synthesis.

Dr. Michael C. W. Chan experimentally demonstrated the feasibility of weak attractive polymer-ligand interactions and their significance in olefin polymerization processes, and thereby presented new guidelines for the design of polymerization catalysts.

2005 Winners

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

Eric N. JacobsenEric N. Jacobsen
Harvard University

"General Asymmetric Catalysts for Oxidation, Hydrolysis, and C-C Bond-forming Reactions"

Shu KobayashiShu Kobayashi
The University of Tokyo

"Development of Novel Catalysts Directed toward Environmentally Benign Organic Synthesis"

Prof. Eric N. Jacobsen has formulated several key principles in asymmetric catalysis; these principles can be applied in industrially important target molecules.

Prof. Shu Kobayashi has developed new organic reactions using water as a solvent, by inventing the water-stable Lewis acid, which indicates a new direction for environmentally benign research for processes.

The Winners of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award of Encouragement"

Ryoichi KuwanoRyoichi Kuwano
Associate Professor
Kyushu University

"Development of New Asymmetric Catalysis and Transition Metal-Catalyzed Reactions"

Kenichiro ItamiKenichiro Itami
Assistant Professor
Kyoto University

"Removable Directing Group Strategy in Metal Catalysis"

Associate Prof. Ryoichi Kuwano has developed a new chiral phosphine ligand, whose trans-chelation property was essential for the high degree of chirality.

Dr. Kenichiro Itami has developed removable directing groups, particularly in palladium catalyzed reaction and has succeeded in enhancing the efficiency of organic synthesis.