Dr. Peter Gruss will receive Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star

The Japanese Government announced that former OIST President Dr. Peter Gruss will receive the prestigious order of merit in recognition of his achievements.

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Dr. Peter Gruss, Special Advisor for Innovation and President Emeritus of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), and Former President of the Max Planck Society, will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, one of Japan’s most distinguished national decorations. The OIST community sends its warmest congratulations to Dr. Gruss.

The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star is awarded by the Japanese government to individuals who have achieved exceptional contributions in various fields of society, including culture, sports, the promotion of science and technology, environmental conversation, among others. The official citation states that the decoration is in recognition of “contributions to developing education and research in the field of science and technology in Japan” as Former CEO/President of OIST. Dr. Gruss has also contributed to the promotion of cooperation in science and technology cooperation between Japan and Germany as Former President of Max Planck Society and current Board Member of STS Forum.

In January 2017, he succeeded Dr. Sydney Brenner and Dr. Jonathan Dorfan, as President of OIST. Over his six years as President, Dr. Gruss restructured OIST’s management and established an effective environment for interdisciplinary research and education, by attracting world-class faculty and students, as well as state-of-the-art research infrastructure.

Dr. Gruss has continuously lobbied for high-trust funding to ensure scientific freedom for researchers to conduct world-leading research, and he led development of the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan. Furthermore, Dr. Gruss steered OIST through the challenges of the pandemic by facilitating OIST’s resources to help Okinawa cope with COVID-19 through various research and community projects such as the production and distribution of masks and alcohol-based gel, as well as the administration of PCR tests in collaboration with Okinawa Prefectural Government and Okinawan municipalities. He made significant contributions to OIST's rapid growth by strategically expanding research areas such as quantum science and technology through active faculty recruitment and strengthening academic-industry collaborations. He also took on other important roles, including overseeing the construction and opening of the fourth research laboratory on campus, the construction of the fifth, and the inaugural graduation ceremony.

Under Dr. Gruss’ leadership, OIST has made significant academic strides. The proportion of OIST’s highest-quality articles published in 2020 is now comparable to globally leading institutions such as Caltech, MIT, and Stanford, according to the latest normalized data from Nature Index.

Dr. Gruss's visionary leadership also extended to promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Okinawa. He advocated for the construction of a startup incubator building on campus, which has since become a hub for entrepreneurship. In addition, he played a vital role in establishing the 5 billion yen OIST-Lifetime Ventures Fund, providing crucial funding to startups emerging from OIST and strengthening the innovation ecosystem in the region. He successfully gained support from the Japanese government to constuct a 2000m2 incubator buildings to further increase the number of startups from Okinawa.

Dr. Gruss retired as president from OIST in December 2022 and was succeeded by Dr. Karin Markides.

For press enquiries, please contact media@oist.jp

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