Director’s Greeting

Director of IMR, Tohoku University Prof. Takahiko SASAKI
Director of Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Prof. Takahiko SASAKI

The Institute for Materials Research at Tohoku University, commonly known as IMR or KINKEN in Japanese, has a rich history spanning over one hundred years. Dr. Kotaro Honda founded it as the 2nd Division of the Provisional Institute of Physical and Chemical Research at Tohoku Imperial University in 1916. The institute’s founding philosophy is “to contribute to the development of civilization and the well-being of mankind through creating new materials that are truly useful to society by conducting both fundamental and applied research on various materials such as metals, semiconductors, ceramics, compounds, organic materials, and composite materials.” To this end, today nearly 500 faculty members, research associates, and students investigate scientific principles related to material-based sciences and their applications.

IMR started its journey with a focus on iron and steel materials, but as times changed and research progressed, its scope expanded to include the fundamentals and applications of various materials, including non-metals such as semiconductors and ceramics. With these changes, the institute changed its name from the Research Institute for Iron, Steel and Other Metals (RIISOM) to the current one in 1987. Ever since Dr. Honda, its first director, invented the world’s first artificial permanent magnet called KS magnet steel, the institute has developed many new materials for practical use, including Sendust alloy, SiC fibers, and soft magnetic amorphous alloys, and has also conducted not only fundamental research, but also pioneering research in the search for new materials and the elucidation of physical properties such as magnetism and superconductivity. It has become a global center in materials science.

A key feature of IMR is its fusion of fundamental and applied research, as well as science and engineering fields. Additionally, the institute stands out for its joint research with both domestic and international researchers, utilizing world-class facilities for experiments (high-energy irradiation testing, high magnetic fields, supercomputers, etc.) and for the creation and evaluation of new materials. In 2018, IMR was certified as the International Joint Usage/Research Center for Materials Science, known as “Global Institute for Materials Research Tohoku” (GIMRT). IMR is committed to further promoting research and fostering the next generation of researchers, and putting into practice Dr. Honda’s words, “Industry is the training ground of academics,” it also focuses on the likes of industry-academia collaboration and engineer training.

IMR is committed to creating a sustainable society, a goal shared by the global community. Its materials science research has the power not only to solve issues but also to positively transform society. The institute is dedicated to supporting the international competitiveness of Japan’s materials manufacturing and engaging in global endeavors to create academic intellectual property shared by humankind. IMR will continue to work on innovative materials science research that will bring about a paradigm shift with a long-term vision and contribute to developing human resources who will lead the future.

I look forward to everyone’s continued support and cooperation in achieving these goals.

About IMR