Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute (Incorporated Foundation) was established in September 1940 in Nishi-Shibaura, Shiba Ward, Tokyo-shi by Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation and the eldest son of Sakichi Toyoda who invented the automatic loom.
The purpose of this establishment was to promote and develop independent science and technology in Japan and to contribute to the development of science and industry.
This institute produced numerous research achievements including the formula for large crystallization of Rochelle salt, storage batteries and direction finders. Some of these reached the stage of acquiring patents and being manufactured into products. However, due to post-war inflation, it was inevitable that proprietary research activities were curtailed.
In 1961, in order to efficiently implement the purpose with limited financial resources, the office was moved to Toyota Central R & D Labs in Nagoya and its main activities were changed to designated research and cultivation of researchers. The successes of this era include the practical application of semi-conductor strain-gauges.
The original purpose of foundation activities is continuing by launching “the research fellow program” in 2004 where researches are conducted by full-time employed researchers and further, launching “specially promoted program” in 2006 as a new project.
This foundation has become a public interest incorporated foundation in 2011.
Last year, Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute (hereafter abbreviated to Toyota Riken) faced a major turning point with the truly sorrowful passing of our former Chairman, Shoichiro Toyoda. He passed away on February 14, at the age of 97. I would therefore refrain from giving a New Year’s greeting, and once again would like to express my heartfelt condolences to offer my prayers for his repose.
Our former Chairman took up the position of Chairman in 1974 and has led and guided the activities of the Institute for almost half a century. He was entrusted with the restoration of Toyota Riken after accepting Dr. Hiroo Iguchi, a scientist and his “lifelong friend”, as a board member and the institute’s director. Through initiating the current fellow and scholarship systems, building the Toyota Riken Research Building and the Hiroo Iguchi Memorial Hall, they established a solid foundation for the Institute’s activities.
The homework I was given when I assumed the post of President was to foster young researchers. This is why I started the overnight “Exchange Programs for Young Researchers in Different Fields” (started in FY2016) and the “PhD. Scholarship Program” (started in FY2019). These activities are still developing and taking root, and I am pleased to see that. However, one thing I regret is how our former Chairman could not take part in the “Exchange Programs for Young Researchers in Different Fields”. It would have been more enlivening if he had just given a few words of encouragement to the young scholars and joined them for a commemorative photo, which I am sure would have pleased him as well. It is with deep regret that we are unable to do so now. As for those of us who are left behind, I believe that the best way to repay our debt of gratitude is to follow the Chairman’s wishes and continue to promote our projects, focusing on developing human resources for the younger generation.
Toyota Riken has begun to turn a new page in its history as “New Toyota Riken” under the leadership of new Chairman Akio Toyoda, who assumed his post in June of last year.
Three programs for fostering young researchers, which were reinforced last year, were put into action.
1) The “Rising Fellow Program” is a program that provides five years of strong support to up-and-coming researchers particularly selected from the “Scholar Community” (of 350-odd members), which consists of scholars from fiscal 2011 when the Scholar Program was launched, to the present.
2) “Scholar Collaborative Research” is generated from exchanges among participants in the “Exchange Programs for Young Researchers in Different Fields” and is a continuing support program for up to six years, aiming to create new fields and foster project leaders. This spring, as a new system, we are planning on narrowing it down from ten teams to approximately three teams. Through these new systems and enhancement measures, we aim to make being selected as a Toyota Riken Scholar more effectual for the career development of young researchers than ever before and to make it a status.
3) 13 researchers have been selected as the “Toyota Riken Overseas Predoctoral Fellows (OSPDF)” under the “PhD. Scholarship Program” designed to foster young global human resources. The program is now in its fifth year, and the selected members have been pursuing degrees at the University of Oxford, the University of Chicago, and other universities. We will continue to support them until they receive their degrees, and we hope that they will be active on the international stage after receiving their degrees.
In addition, our “Senior Fellow System” provides a strong five-year support to researchers who have established their own fields and are about to retire, in the hope that they will make a further leap forward. We look forward to the emergence of the first beneficiary in the coming year.
The hybrid approach of face-to-face and online meetings and events made them more efficient and effective, which is a positive effect of the Corona pandemic, and it was also our greatest pleasure last year to be able to hold the “Exchange Programs for Young Researchers in Different Fields” in its proper face-to-face form, for the first time in four years.
Toyota Riken will continue to contribute to the development of science and technology as a center for human resource development, human resource network building, and the creation of new fields of science and technology, particularly in the field of materials science research in Japan this year as well. We look forward to your continued support and encouragement.
January 1, 2024
Dr. Kohei Tamao, President
Original written by the founder, Kiichiro Toyoda in 1940
My father, Sakichi Toyoda, immersed himself in research into inventions, accomplished the invention of the automatic loom and established this production plant, namely Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. Here, Sakichi explicitly stated the essentials of research into inventions in the company’s business articles of incorporation and accomplished all kinds of research over several decades. As a result of this, he completed the fundamental improvement of the automatic loom and succeeded in inventing the world’s first high draft ring spinning machine and launched on to the international market, too. Furthermore, he went on to research manufacturing methods for domestic automobiles, completed this and opened the beginning of the supply of domestic automobiles.
In this way, the work that he left us prospered and his aims are in the process of being sequentially accomplished but, the implementation of research into inventions within a profit-making company tends to bias research to things that are in direct relation to that company’s projects and implementation of different kind of research is difficult because they are incompatible with current projects and the real intention of establishment. For this reason, this incorporated foundation was newly established to widely conduct research with the foundation of physics and chemistry firstly to contribute to the State but also to commemorate forever the achievements of the late Sakichi.
Japan has developed remarkably over the last few decades but, as this development has unavoidably been conducted over a short period of time, we had to adopt foreign civilization. However, now that we are facing the Second Great War in Europe, it has become extremely difficult to adopt European civilization. For this reason, it has become urgent that we research independently by ourselves and establish a research institute at which we will pioneer a new way by ourselves. Meanwhile, it has become difficult to expect the good fortune of chance such as we had in the Meiji Period when looking at the status of research into innovation. Consequently, we must have expectations of the future progress of scientific principles that will become an abyss, the human resources that have an academic grounding and the technical facilities.
The quest for principles that will become a physico-chemical abyss has many correlations in that fundamental respect. Looking at it from these peripheral issues, even things that have extreme intervals depart from the same principles in that foundation so one research project can assist another project without intending to or can become a principle.
“Therefore this research institute shall not limit research matters” rather the main activity shall be the quest for fundamental principles and in peripheral issue-type research that occurs due to this, we shall promote the industrialization of objects that are productive and lucrative to the State. We would like to present results that promote academic development from a scientific standpoint, making progress more and more deeply. In short, we want to conduct research from both physical and metaphysical facets.
In addition, if we want researchers to achieve pure research following their thoughts, no anxieties about lifestyle, research or the future are borne, it can be left to the natural talent of researchers and it is important to put researchers in a position of liberty. For this reason, we would like to respect the free will of researchers, create a research institute where it is possible for them to research of their own volition, train new researchers, expand research scope and, by means of this, contribute to society and the State.
|・Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute incorporated foundation (Toyota Riken) established in Shiba-ku, Tokyo ・The first Board of Directors meeting held ・Kiichiro Toyoda appointed as the1st Chairman and President
|The first edition of “Toyota Research Report” published
|Board member Kohei Yamaguchi appointed as the 2nd President
|Taizo Ishida appointed as the 2nd Chairman
|Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. (TCRDL) established in 1960. Toyota Riken moved to the neighboring site of TCRDL in Nagoya
|・“Designated Researcher Program” started ・The first “Solid State Physics Seminar” jointly held with Nagoya University
|“Promoted Researcher Program” started
|・Shoichiro Toyoda appointed as the 3rd Chairman ・“Kariya Invention Club for School Children” established
|Toyota Riken and TCRDL moved to Nagakute, right next to Nagoya
|“Special Research Project” started
|The first “Molecular Science Forum” jointly held with Okazaki Institute for Molecular Science
|・“Research Fellow Program” started ・Kariya Invention Club for School Children moved to Tsukasa-cho, Kariya city
|“Specially Promoted Research Program” started
|Board member Hiroo Inokuchi appointed as the 3rd President
|・Toyota Riken recognized as a public incorporated foundation ・Toyota Riken research building constructed ・“Toyota Riken Scholar Program” started succeeded from “Designated Researcher Program” ・Public call for entry started: Research Fellow Program, Specially Promoted Research Program, and Scholar Program
|“Toyota Riken Forum” started
|Kariya Invention Club for School Children restarted as independent
|“Toyota Riken Workshop” started
|Board member Kohei Tamao appointed as the 4th President
|“Toyota Riken Scholar Joint Research” started
|“Hiroo INOKUCHI Hall” constructed
|“Toyota Riken Overseas Scholarship” started