Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Links

Of Interest

See archived articles

Conferences


New head for the Office of the Director-General

Takayuki Shirao, the new Head of ODG, is a veteran of large and complex science projects, of their management, and sometimes of their reform. (Click to view larger version...)
Takayuki Shirao, the new Head of ODG, is a veteran of large and complex science projects, of their management, and sometimes of their reform.
There is no clear relationship between sea urchins and fusion plasmas or superconductivity. Except that, in Takayuki Shirao's case, a thesis dissertation on "Muscle Protein Analysis in the Sea Urchin" more than 40 years ago landed him a job at the Japanese Science and Technology Agency (STA)—a starting point for a long career in the management of research organizations, "big science," international cooperation and diplomatic service.
 
As the newly appointed Head of the Office of the Director-General (ODG), Takayuki Shirao is on familiar ground at ITER. Although he was never "directly involved" with the Organization, his experience in the management of large scientific projects and the organization of various international programs already makes him feel (almost) at home.
 
An outsider to fusion—but one familiar with nuclear matters—Takayuki Shirao says that "technically speaking, there are many things in ITER that are still difficult to understand for [him]." There are some advantages, however, to that situation: "Sometimes, people who come from the outside can see better into the issues and challenges facing an organization."
 
ITER is entering a "new era" and the new Head of ODG will play an essential role in "providing Director-General Motojima with good advice" and "supporting his initiatives."
 
Less than a week into the job, Takayuki Shirao has already taken the full measure of the task that is awaiting him. And he is confident that the effects of "the change at the top" will trickle down to all areas of the project.
 
A veteran of large and complex science projects, of their management, and sometimes of their reform, he knows that the Devil often hides in the details—or, as he prefers to say in perfect French: "le Diable se niche dans les details.
 
Born in Kagoshima, at the south-western tip of Kyūshū Island, Takayuki Shirao has already spent more than eight years in France, from 1986 to 1989 as First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Paris, and later in Strasbourg (2001-2006) as Deputy Secretary-General of the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)—an international funding organization that supports young researchers and promotes interdisciplinary research "at the frontier of the life sciences."
 
The new Head of ODG has chosen to live in Manosque, close to the International School, where the youngest of his two daughters has just entered lycée.



return to Newsline #146