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ASU partners with Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings to initiate one-of-a-kind Global KAITEKI Center

Global KAITEKI Center

The partnership between Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Company and ASU will focus on research aimed at realizing the concept of KAITEKI, which means “the sustainable well-being of people, society and our planet Earth.”

April 01, 2019

A unique center officially opens on April 3 at Arizona State University, housed within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

The Global KAITEKI Center is funded by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC) and its group’s think tank and research institute, the KAITEKI Institute, and led by Professor George Stephanopoulos, who holds joint positions in the School of Molecular Sciences and the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. 

MCHC President Hitoshi Ochi announced the partnership with ASU, which will focus on research aimed at realizing the concept of KAITEKI — “the sustainable well-being of people, society and our planet Earth.” It is an original concept of the MCHC that proposes a way forward in the sustainable development of society and the planet, in addition to serving as a guide for solving environmental and social issues. The Global KAITEKI Center will also be an allied center of the Institute for the Future of Innovation in Society at ASU.

“Professor Stephanopoulos is a very distinguished chemical engineer, an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, who joined us over a year ago and has created this center through his strong ties to Mitsubishi Chemical,” said Professor Neal Woodbury, director of the School of Molecular Sciences and co-chair of the KAITEKI Center Steering Committee.

“The Global KAITEKI Center is a partnership involving ASU at large, not just a collaborative project between a company and a specific group of researchers,” Stephanopoulos explained. “In this spirit, the Global KAITEKI Center will draw knowledge, expertise and infectious enthusiasm from a vast array of excellent academic units at ASU — schools, centers and institutes. In this regard it is a modern form of research alliance between a company and a university, and one of very few such partnerships across the U.S., Europe and Japan. The Global KAITEKI Center will employ ASU’s signature capability — specifying an issue to be solved, establishing the concept necessary to address the issue and promoting science and technology development, while also serving as a hub to promote KAITEKI to the world.”

Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer, will expand on the partnership at the Global KAITEKI Center opening on April 3.

“This center further advances ASU’s commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability. It enables innovative research and economic development with significant public impact,” said Panchanathan. “This collaborative effort will draw on the strengths of both institutions as well as the broad array of expertise across disciplines at ASU.”

Gary Dirks, director of both the ASU Wrigley Institute and LightWorks; Kyle Squires, dean, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering; Steve Munk, deputy director, the Biodesign Institute; and David Guston, founding director and professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society will speak after Panchanathan about collaborations with the Global KAITEKI Center.

Global KAITEKI Center Board

During the afternoon of April 3, the first four ASU research projects funded by the Global KAITEKI Center will be presented. They are:

  • Visualizing and Quantifying the Social Value of Future Business: Lauren Keeler, School for the Future of Innovation in Society.
  • Developing a Shared Roadmap for the Circular Economy in the Chemical Industry: Kevin Dooley, W. P. Carey School of Business.
  • Design, Development and Testing of Innovative Materials for Urban Cooling: Matthew Fraser, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
  • Food Waste Reduction and Well-Being for a Sustainable Future: Christopher Wharton, College of Health Solutions and the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems.

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