Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. has established the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Awards" 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.

2018 Winners Archive

The winners of the awards are as follows:

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

2016 Winners

The Winner of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

Shannon S. Stahl

Shannon S. Stahl

Professor
University of Wisconsin - Madison

“Catalysts for Selective Aerobic Oxidation of Organic Chemicals”

Dr. Shannon Stahl is a pioneer in aerobic oxidation catalysis. His work has demonstrated general catalytic strategies to use air or molecular oxygen in the selective oxidation of organic molecules, including fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and has illuminated the fundamental mechanistic principles underlying these reactions.

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

Neil K. Garg

Neil K. Garg

Professor
University of California, Los Angeles

“Breakthroughs in Non-Precious Metal Catalysis and Harnessing Catalytic Transformations in Total Synthesis”

Dr. Neil Garg has made seminal contribution to organic synthesis through the development of new efficient synthetic reactions related to heterocyclic compounds including natural products by exploiting non-precious metal catalysis and highly strained molecules.

Shingo Ito

Shingo Ito

Assistant Professor
The University of Tokyo

“Polymer Synthesis Based on Innovative Retrosynthesis”

Dr. Shingo Ito has developed new catalysts and new reactions for the synthesis of functionalized polymers based on a concept “innovative retrosynthesis”: (a) phosphine–sulfonate palladium and related catalysts for α-olefin–polar alkene copolymers; (b) “Ping-Pong Polymerization”, an iterative and alternating allylation and hydroformylation to give vinyl alcohol–ethylene alternating copolymers; and (c) o-arylene (co) polymers from “arene equivalents” (oxabicyclic alkenes).

2014 Winners

The Winner of the "Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award"

F. Dean Toste

F. Dean Toste

Professor
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"

Shunsuke Chiba

Shunsuke Chiba

Associate Professor
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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

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.

Naoya Kumagai

Naoya Kumagai

Chief Researcher
Institute of Microbial Chemistry, Japan

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

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. MacMillan

David W. C. MacMillan

Professor
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 Yamaguchi

Kazuya Yamaguchi

Associate Professor
The University of Tokyo

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

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.

Hideki Yorimitsu

Hideki Yorimitsu

Associate Professor
Kyoto University

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

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. Hartwig

John F. Hartwig

Professor
University of Illinois

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

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.

Kyoko Nozaki

Kyoko Nozaki

Professor
The University of Tokyo

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

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 Matsunaga

Shigeki Matsunaga

Lecturing Professor
The University of Tokyo

"Development of Multimetallic Asymmetric Catalysis through Chiral Ligand Design"

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

Yoshiaki Nakao

Yoshiaki Nakao

Assistant Professor
Kyoto University

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

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 Hou

Zhaomin Hou

Chief Scientist
RIKEN

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

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.

Gregory C. Fu

Gregory C. Fu

Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

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 Terao

Jun Terao

Assistant Professor
Osaka University

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

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.

Michael C. W. Chan

Michael C. W. Chan

Assistant Professor
City University of Hong Kong

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

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"

M. Christina White

Eric N. Jacobsen

Professor
Harvard University

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

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

Shu Kobayashi

Shu Kobayashi

Professor
The University of Tokyo

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

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 Kuwano

Ryoichi Kuwano

Associate Professor
Kyushu University

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

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

Kenichiro Itami

Kenichiro Itami

Assistant Professor
Kyoto University

"Removable Directing Group Strategy in Metal Catalysis"

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