Blog Industry

Sumitomo Chemical Director Hiroshi Ueda Discusses R&D Plans

The Chemical Daily recently conducted a round of interviews with the heads of R&D divisions of major Japanese chemical companies. For this installment, we talked with Hiroshi Ueda, director and executive vice president of Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. (TYO:4005).

Ueda first commented on Sumitomo Chemical’s new medium-term management plan, which launched this April. The plan, he said, places a focus on solving social issues through innovation and on contributing to the realization of a sustainable society.

Alongside this, Ueda described the plan as looking to tackle two important issues. The first of these is to create a system that achieves innovation in a speedy manner, while the other is to fully utilize digital technology in order to dramatically boost the productivity of all operations, including research. R&D will have a significant role to play in both of these initiatives, Ueda said. And to that end, he continued, Sumitomo Chemical has been scrutinizing which technologies can be used effectively in future business strategies.

Ueda noted that as a framework here, Sumitomo Chemical has identified four priority areas in which to focus its R&D efforts. These are the areas of health care, the environment and energy, food and ICT.

In health care, Ueda said that Sumitomo Chemical’s R&D efforts will include regenerative medicine, theranostics and nucleic acid drugs. The company, he added, is also looking to accelerate its R&D efforts by combining its biotechnologies – such as those for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – with its digital technologies, which include printed electronics.

For the environment and energy, Ueda explained that Sumitomo Chemical will focus its R&D on bolstering operations for the likes of batteries as well as carbon capture and utilization (CCU). The company’s R&D themes in this area, he noted, include innovative technologies for significantly reducing CO2 emissions, or for reusing CO2 by way of catalysts.

In looking to solve food-related issues, Ueda said that Sumitomo Chemical will focus its R&D efforts on areas such as precision agriculture, which contributes to improving and stabilizing crop yields.

And with regard to ICT, the company’s main efforts will include miniaturization, sensing and display materials, he said.

On the topic of other R&D initiatives, Ueda mentioned a plan to expand the use of materials informatics (MI). Through this, he said, Sumitomo Chemical aims to dramatically boost productivity by way of digital innovation while also improving the skills of the company’s researchers.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *