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Nobel laureate calls for long-term govt support for researches

Nobel Prize-winning Japanese scientist, Akira Suzuki has appealed for the government to provide long-term financial and intellectual support for researchers and take a broader view of their work.

world Updated: Oct 15, 2010 14:41 IST

Nobel Prize-winning Japanese scientist, Akira Suzuki has appealed for the government to provide long-term financial and intellectual support for researchers and take a broader view of their work.

Suzuki, 80, made the request at a meeting of the governing Democratic Party of Japan's panel on education and science on Thursday.

Suzuki, a professor emeritus at Hokkaido University, is one of the three recipients of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the prize with fellow Japanese scientist Eiichi Negishi, 75, a professor at Purdue University in the United States, and American chemist Richard Heck, 79, a
professor emeritus at the University of Delaware.

Suzuki attended the DPJ panel session together with Ryoji Noyori, the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner and the current president of the state-backed Riken natural sciences research institute.

Suzuki told the session that research cannot produce results in the short term, requiring instead a long-term investment. ''I'd like to ask politicians to see scientific research from a broad and long-range point of view.''

He renewed his argument that science and technology are indispensable for Japan, which he said depends on selling high value-added products to other countries, having few natural resources of its own.

Suzuki, worried that many young Japanese people are moving away from science, also noted the need to provide support in the intellectual field and encourage the young generation to think about their dreams.

Noyori told the same session that Japan had taken the lead in the organic chemistry field and that Suzuki's Nobel Prize win was considered likely by the rest of the world.

Noyori noted the need to promote bridging studies that would apply results of basic research to industry, calling for strengthening coordination among industry, government and academia.

Later in the day, Suzuki paid a visit to Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Yoshiaki Takaki at his ministry.

Takaki congratulated Suzuki for winning the Nobel Prize, telling him that his award served as a major encouragement and morale-boost to the Japanese people.

The minister also vowed to put energy into encouraging younger scientists.

In response, Suzuki called for steady government support for the young generation.

Last week, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences picked Suzuki, Negishi and Heck as recipients of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on reactions to create complex organic compounds. The tool "has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals, for example carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself," according to the academy.