Motoko Kotani

President-elect (2022 – 2024)

Position: President-elect
Nationality: Japanese
Country of residence: Japan
Discipline: Mathematics
Born in: 1960


Academic background

Read Motoko Kotani’s CV

Kotani’s expertise is in mathematics. She graduated from University of Tokyo in 1983 and obtained a Doctor of Science in Mathematics in 1990 from Tokyo Metropolitan University. She started her academic career as a lecturer at Toho University, and then moved to Tohoku University in 1999 as an Associate Professor at the Mathematical Institute, Graduate School of Science, before becoming a full Professor in 2004. She was further awarded a Distinguished Professorship (2008-2013). She visited the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, Germany (1993-1994), IHES, France (2001), and Isaac Newton Institute, UK.

Her interest has been in geometric analysis, related to mathematical physics. She was awarded the 25th Saruhashi Prize for “Study of crystal lattice via discrete geometric analysis” in 2005. While she works in pure mathematics, she is actively in communication with researchers in other scientific fields. She has led several big research projects bridging mathematics and materials science. Based on her experience and achievement both in research and management, she was appointed as Director of the Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University in 2012, an institute with 200 researchers, first established under the national program “World Premier International Research Center Initiative” in 2007.


Past and current positions

Kotani holds/held the following positions:

Tohoku University:

  • Executive Vice President for Research (April 2020-);
  • Associate Executive Vice President (2014-2019);
  • Principal Investigator (2011-)/Director (2012-2019), Advanced Institute for Materials Research;
  • Professor (2004-), Mathematical Institute;

RIKEN, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institute:

  • Executive Director (4/2017-3/2020)

Her social contributions are varied:

  • Executive member, Council of Science, Technology and Innovation (2014-) comprised of the Prime Minister, relevant ministers, and experts to determine national policy regarding science and technology
  • Member, Council of Science of Japan, the representative organization of the Japanese scientist community ranging across all fields of science, incorporating the humanities, social sciences, life sciences, natural sciences, and engineering (2017-)
  • Member, Board of Governors, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology School Corporation (2014-)
  • President of the Mathematical Society of Japan (2015-2016), board member (2008-)
  • Member of several MEXT and Cabinet Office committees
  • Member of advisory committees of several national research institutes (such as National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, National Institute of Informatics, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, National Institute for Materials Science)
  • Member of various prize selection committees (Kyoto/IMU/ICIAM)
  • Project leader for promotion of women in science

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