First Rio Tinto Australia-Japan Collaboration Program scholar to be based at the University of Tokyo

26 March 2018

Rio Tinto, the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies and The University of Tokyo have announced the appointment of Professor Jennifer Marjorie Corbett, an eminent Australian scholar, as the first Rio Tinto Australia-Japan Collaboration Program, Professorial Fellow (Rio Tinto Fellow).

The program, established under the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies (FAJS), with a grant from Rio Tinto, aims to contribute to strengthening ties between Australia and Japan through collaborative research and other bilateral activities in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

Professor Corbett has held prominent positions in policy advice and consultancy for the Asian Development Bank, OECD, the World Bank and others in the 1990s and 2000s and taught at the University of Oxford from 1982. She is currently an Executive member of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and in 2014 received the Japanese Imperial Order of the Rising Sun, Third Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for contributions to Australia-Japan relations.

Professor Corbett, who will retire from her current position as Distinguished Professor at Australian National University on 31 March to take up the position of Fellow in Griffith University’s Asia Institute, will be hosted by The University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering for a two-year period from April 2018 under a secondment from Griffith University. Her focus will be to identify, develop and promote collaborative research programs, exchanges and other activities with The University of Tokyo and other academic and industry partners in both Australia and Japan.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief executive Chris Salisbury, who is also the company’s executive sponsor for Japan, said "We are delighted to welcome Professor Corbett as the inaugural Rio Tinto Fellow, and very pleased to have the support of Japan’s premier university, The University of Tokyo, for the Fellow program.

The relationship between Australia and Japan is of particular importance to Rio Tinto, given our long history as a major supplier of raw materials and the largest supplier of iron ore to Japan. Further, as a pioneer in minerals and mining, we partner with Japan in business, technology and innovation, and are proud to support the FAJS and the Fellow program, the outcomes of which we are confident will be mutually beneficial to our two countries".

Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies Chairman Murray McLean AO said, "We are delighted and most grateful to Rio Tinto, The University of Tokyo and Griffith University for supporting the FAJS, enabling it to engage Professor Corbett as FAJS’ inaugural appointee in its fellowship program. That program, established by the FAJS with funding from Rio Tinto, pursues FAJS’ objective of strengthening the collaborative relationship existing between Australia and Japan in the areas of research, scientific endeavour and academic and industry partnerships."

Professor Jenny Corbett said "I am honoured to be appointed the inaugural Rio Tinto Fellow and look forward to helping develop new cooperative research links that deepen and enrich the Australia-Japan relationship".

The University of Tokyo Executive Vice President Professor Masashi Haneda said "We would like to thank Rio Tinto, the Australian government, and the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies for giving us the opportunity to welcome the Fellow. The University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering carries out research in a wide range of areas while covering an extensive academic system from the fields of basic science and engineering to challenges that span across over scientific technology and the whole of society. Since it is crucial to produce talented individuals with a variety of high expertise and broad perspectives to deal with these issues, it is very meaningful to welcome the world-renowned Professor Corbett. We will do our best to maximize this opportunity, not only to cultivate individuals who are capable of working around the globe but also to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Japan and Australia".

Australian Ambassador H.E. Mr Richard Court AC welcomed the announcement: "I am pleased to see Rio Tinto's inspired commitment to Australia-Japan innovation come to fruition with the appointment of Professor Corbett to the role. Professor Corbett brings a lifetime’s worth of connections and experience working between Australia and Japan. I thank the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies, and the University of Tokyo for hosting the Fellow, which I am confident will lead to further innovation and new partnerships between our countries."

Notes for editors:

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

From our diverse portfolio, we supply the metals and minerals that help the world to grow. Our major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, gold, industrial minerals (borates, titanium dioxide and salt), iron ore, metallurgical coal and uranium. We are strongly represented in Australia and North America, and also have significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

About Rio Tinto and Japan

Japan is one of Rio Tinto's most important and longstanding trading partners. Rio Tinto’s iron ore business was born on the back of Japanese investment and long-term offtake contracts with the Japanese steel mills in the 1960s. Today Rio Tinto is the largest supplier of iron ore to Japan, shipping over 1.8 billion tonnes to date over the past more than 50 years.

Rio Tinto is also one of the largest exporters of metals and minerals to Japan, supplying aluminium, copper, molybdenum, diamonds, metallurgical coal, uranium and industrial minerals such as borates, titanium dioxide and salt as well as iron ore to more than 250 customers. Japanese companies are important partners in Rio Tinto's operations around the world, its global supply chain as well as in innovation.

About Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies

Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies (FAJS) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established in Australia, with the objective to facilitate private-sector funding for activities that will raise the mutual profile and understanding between Australia and Japan through the promotion of bilateral research and other collaborative programs involving academic institutions and industry. The Rio Tinto Australia-Japan Collaboration Program is the first such program of the FAJS and is funded by the Rio Tinto Group, which is also a founding member of the FAJS. The FAJS chairman is former Australian Ambassador to Japan Mr Murray McLean AO, who is also the chairman of Australia-Japan Foundation.

About The University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo (UTokyo) was established in 1877 as the first national university in Japan. As a leading research university, UTokyo offers courses in essentially all academic disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels and conducts research across the full spectrum of academic activity. The University aims to provide its students with a rich and varied academic environment that ensures opportunities for both intellectual development and the acquisition of professional knowledge and skills. Its current president is Professor Makoto Gonokami.