Akira Suzuki Awards


We are excited to announce the recipients of the 2022 Akira Suzuki Awards. Congratulations to the 2022 Akira Suzuki Award winner Professor John F. Hartwig and the 2022 ICReDD Award winner Professor Kendall N. Houk. For more details on this year’s award recipients, please refer to the “Recipients” tab.

The 2nd Annual Akira Suzuki Awards Ceremony is scheduled to take place on January 10th, 2023 (January 11th JST). The awards ceremony and award lectures will be viewable online. Further details about the ceremony and participant registration will be given at a later date.

The Akira Suzuki Awards were established in 2021 by the Akira Suzuki Award Organization Committee in commemoration of Professor Akira Suzuki being awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and to celebrate his 90th birthday. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding contributions to research in the discovery of chemical reactions, defined in the broadest sense, and  to contribute to the advancement of science and technology.

The two awards, the Akira Suzuki Award and the ICReDD Award, will be bestowed upon a researcher who has achieved remarkable results in the development of chemical reactions in the field of experimental chemistry (Akira Suzuki Award) or the fields of computational (theoretical) chemistry and information science (ICReDD Award). Each award is given to one person each year, regardless of age or nationality.

There will be an award ceremony and an award lecture every year. The winners receive a medal and a monetary prize.

2021 Inaugural Akira Suzuki Award Ceremony



Professor Akira Suzuki was born in Hokkaido, Japan, on September 12, 1930.

After graduating from the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science at Hokkaido University in 1954, he completed a master’s degree at the Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University in 1956 and completed his PhD there in 1960.
In 1961, he became an assistant professor at the Department of Synthetic Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering at Hokkaido University. From 1973, he served as a professor at the Department of Applied Chemistry for about 20 years, retiring in 1994 to become a professor emeritus at Hokkaido University.

After his retirement, he served as a professor at Okayama University of Science in 1994 and at Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts from 1995 to 2002.
During this period, he was an invited professor at Purdue University in the U.S. in 2001, and later became an invited professor and professor emeritus at various universities in Japan and abroad, including Hokkaido University.
In 2015, he was awarded the title of University Professor of Hokkaido University, which is given to researchers who have made globally outstanding educational and research achievements and who are recognized as contributing to the advancement of education and research at Hokkaido University over the long term.

For two years from 1963, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in H. C. Brown’s laboratory at Purdue University in the U.S., where he was engaged in research on the synthesis and utilization of organoboron compounds. After returning to Japan, he further developed this field and made many outstanding achievements. In particular, the palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction of organoboron compounds reported in 1979 has had a great impact not only on synthetic organic chemistry but also on a wide range of fields such as catalytic chemistry and materials science. The Suzuki coupling reaction, which was the reason he was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has made a significant contribution to the development and mass production of products that are familiar to us, such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, liquid crystals essential for IT equipment, and organic light-emitting diodes.


The selection of the winners is based on recommendations from the respective Selection Committees, which are composed of domestic and international experts commissioned by the chairman of the Award Organizing Committee. These recommendations are reviewed by the Award Organizing Committee and a final selection is made.

Award Organizing Committee:

Chairman Masaya Sawamura (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Vice Chairman Tetsuya Taketsugu (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Hajime Ito (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Yoshihiro Sato (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Satoshi Maeda (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Tamiki Komatsuzaki (Professor, Hokkaido University)

Akira Suzuki Award Selection Committee:

Timothy F. Jamison (Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Bernhard Breit (Professor, University of Freiburg)
Benjamin List (Professor, Max Planck Institute and Specially Appointed Professor, ICReDD)
Masaya Sawamura (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Hajime Ito (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Yoshihiro Sato (Professor, Hokkaido University)

ICReDD Award Selection Committee:

Michael Rubinstein (Professor, Duke University and Principal Investigator, ICReDD)
Alexandre Varnek (Professor, University of Strasbourg and Principal Investigator, ICReDD)
Hirofumi Sato (Professor, Kyoto University)
Tetsuya Taketsugu (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Satoshi Maeda (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Tamiki Komatsuzaki (Professor, Hokkaido University)
Junya Hasegawa (Professor, Hokkaido University)


2022 Akira Suzuki Award Winners

Akira Suzuki Award:

John F. Hartwig (University of California, Berkeley)

John Hartwig received his A.B. from Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley with Bob Bergman and Richard Andersen and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT with Stephen Lippard. In 1992 he began his independent career at Yale University and became the Irenée P. DuPont Professor in 2004. In 2006, he moved to the University of Illinois, where he was the Kenneth L. Rinehart Jr. Professor of Chemistry. In 2011, he returned to U.C. Berkeley as the Henry Rapoport Professor.

Professor Hartwig’s research focuses on discovering and understanding new reactions for organic synthesis catalyzed by transition metal complexes. He is well known for contributions to widely practiced cross-coupling chemistry that forms arylamines, aryl ethers, aryl sulfides, and α-aryl carbonyl compounds and for discovering practical C-H bond functionalization reactions. He has also contributed to catalytic hydrofunctionalization of alkenes, asymmetric allylic substitution, and methods to functionalize and unravel polyolefins. Recently he has published on reactions catalyzed by artificial metalloenzymes that combine the reactivity of transition-metal catalysts with the selectivity and evolutionary potential of enzymes. He has focused on the mechanism and fundamental organometallic chemistry that underpins them, including studies on reductive eliminations to form carbon-heteroatom bonds, oxidative addition of N-H bonds, and olefin insertions into amides and alkoxides. He is the author of the textbook “Organotransition Metal Chemistry: From Bonding to Catalysis” and has received among his awards the Nagoya Gold Medal, the Arthur C. Cope Award, the Tetrahedron Prize in Organic Synthesis, and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry.

ICReDD Award:

Kendall N. Houk (University of California, Los Angeles)

K. N. Houk received degrees at Harvard, working with R. B. Woodward on experimental tests of orbital symmetry selection rules. In 1968, he joined the faculty at Louisiana State University, moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 1980, and to UCLA in 1986. He was Director of the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation from 1988-1990, Chairman of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 1991-1994, Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry from 2009-2021, and is now a Distinguished Research Professor at UCLA.

He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002, the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences in 2003, the US National Academy of Sciences in 2010, and to foreign membership in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2021.  He received the 2021 Roger Adams Award of the ACS, the highest award in organic chemistry by the ACS, the 2021 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory in Nanotechnology, and with his collaborators, the Royal Society of Chemistry 2021 Horizon Prize for the discovery of pericyclases.  Houk was a Senior Editor of Accounts of Chemical Research from 2005-2015, and the North American Co-Chair of the Board of Chemistry – A European Journal from 2018-2021.

Professor Houk is an authority on theoretical and computational organic chemistry.  His group is involved in the development of rules to understand reactivity, computer modeling of complex organic reactions, and experimental tests of the predictions of theory.  He collaborates prodigiously with chemists all over the world and has over 1400 publications.

Past Recipients

Akira Suzuki Award:
2021 — Stephen L. Buchwald

ICReDD Award:
2021 — David J. Wales 


Registration for the award lectures will be opened up at a later date. The award ceremony and lectures will take place as part of the 5th ICReDD International Symposium to be held  on January 10th, 2023 (January 11th JST).


Please direct any inquiries regarding the Akira Suzuki Awards to:


The Akira Suzuki Awards are funded by the generous sponsorship of the Tosoh Corporation.