On the sidelines of the Montréal Conference, INRS paid tribute to Koji Omi, founder and chair of the Science and Technology in Society forum (STS). He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Université du Québec, under the auspices of INRS, in recognition of his remarkable work in promoting research and advocating for science that benefits humanity. The award ceremony was held on June 10, 2014, in Montréal in the presence of His Excellency Norihiro Okuda, Japan's Ambassador to Canada; Rémi Quirion, Québec's Chief Scientist; Sylvie Beauchamp, President of Université du Québec, Michel Audet, Deputy Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie; and a number of other dignitaries.
"Science and technology issues concern all of us: we must think of them as our own problem and not leave them only to science and technology professionals," said INRS's new honorary doctor. "The STS forum has developed from a mere conference into a movement for global leaders in various fields who are united in their commitment to humanity's future. The STS forum is my lifework, which I created to leave as a legacy for future generations."
"Koji Omi's career can be summed up in two words: dedication and excellence. He has helped redefine the relationships between science, technology, and society. Having devoted his career to promoting an approach to science that is respectful of nature and society, he has deeply transformed the research landscape and defined the legislative framework governing science and technology," noted INRS rector Daniel Coderre.
With the creation of the STS forum, Mr. Omi put in place an international network bringing together researchers, decision makers, and business people. Considered the "Davos of the scientific community," this by-invitation-only forum focuses on the direction science and technology is taking around the globe, while considering ethical and environmental issues.
Mr. Omi has also helped steer the course of science and technology in Japan. He set a new direction for scientific policy with the adoption of Japan's Fundamental Law of Science and Technology, which builds on research as a driver of economic and social development. He also founded the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, an international interdisciplinary university.
Koji Omi graduated from the Hitotsubashi University School of Commerce before going on to work for the Ministry of International Trade and Industry for many years and serving as Consul General of Japan in New York City. He subsequently became actively involved in politics. Serving first as member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Omi held the title of minister three times, including portfolios in economic planning, science policy, and finance. His more than fifty year career has been dedicated to public service.
Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS) is the top-ranking graduate research and training university in Canada in terms of research intensity. INRS brings together some 150 professors and close to 700 students and postdoctoral fellows in its centres in Montréal, Québec City, Laval, and Varennes. Conducting fundamental research essential to the advancement of science in Québec as well as internationally, INRS research teams also play a critical role in developing concrete solutions to problems facing our society.