Inamori Foundation Announces 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureates

$907K Awards Honor Rockefeller University Professor Robert G. Roeder; Tsinghua University Dean Andrew Chi-Chih Yao; Paris Institute Professor Emeritus Bruno Latour

KYOTO, Japan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Inamori Foundation today announced the 2021 recipients of its Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement, in the categories of Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy. See complete details at:

Each laureate will receive a diploma, a 20-karat gold medal, and a monetary award of 100 million yen (about US$907,000) this autumn. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 laureates will not convene in person for traditional Kyoto Prize ceremonies in Japan, but will give commemorative lectures online. They are expected to convene in March 2022 for the 21st annual Kyoto Prize Symposium in San Diego, Calif., and in May 2022 for the Kyoto Prize at Oxford events in Oxford, UK.

The 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureates

In Advanced Technology, the 2021 Kyoto Prize laureate is Computer Scientist Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Ph.D., Dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University. Dr. Yao created new trends in computer science and made a great contribution to cutting-edge research in diverse areas, including security, secure computing, and quantum computation, by establishing innovative fundamental theories for computation and communication. His achievements continue to influence current real-world challenges in such areas as security, secure computing, and big data processing.

In Basic Sciences, the 2021 Kyoto Prize laureate is Biochemist and Molecular Biologist Robert G. Roeder, Ph.D., Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Roeder has revealed the principle of the regulatory mechanism of gene transcription in eukaryotes through more than 50 years of research, by identifying the functions of a series of factors — including three distinct RNA polymerases, basic transcription factors, one of the first gene-specific factors, and regulators in transcription from chromatin. Through his achievements, he has made significant contributions to the development of the life sciences.

In Arts and Philosophy, the 2021 Kyoto Prize laureate is Philosopher Bruno Latour, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. Dr. Latour has revolutionized the conventional view of science by treating nature, humans, laboratory equipment, and other entities as equal actors, and describing technoscience as the hybrid network of these actors. In re-examining “modernity” based on the dualism of nature and society, Dr. Latour’s philosophy has become influential across disciplines, involving multifaceted activities including proposals relating to global environmental issues.

About the Inamori Foundation and the Kyoto Prize

The Kyoto Prize is an international award bestowed by the non-profit Inamori Foundation to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of humankind. The Foundation was established in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation; founder and honorary adviser to KDDI Corporation; and chairman emeritus and honorary adviser to Japan Airlines. Inamori created the Kyoto Prize in line with his belief that human beings have no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of society, and that the future of humanity can be assured only when there is a balance between our scientific progress and our spiritual depth.

Counting the 2021 recipients, the prize has honored 115 laureates worldwide — 114 individuals and one group (the Nobel Foundation). Individual laureates range from scientists, engineers and researchers to philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians and film directors. More information can be found at


(U.S.) University of California San Diego

Juanita LaHaye

(U.S.) Kyoto Symposium Organization

Jay Scovie


(JAPAN) The Inamori Foundation

Takeshi Nakajima and Hanae Ihara


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