Akira SaitoNobuyuki Takahashi of Ube Industries will be the recipient of the General Award and Akira Saito of Asahi Kasei will receive the Technical Award. Takahashi is being honoured not only for his contribution to the industry but, more importantly, for his contribution to the success of the IISRP. During his 40 plus years at Ube, he has helped to expand the synthetic rubber industry through his oversight of joint ventures in Southeast Asia. Saito has been working as an engineer for 36 years on S-SBR, BR, and TPEs for Asahi Kasei Chemicals. His current position is as senior engineer. Saito's technical background for synthetic rubber was developed during his invention of the world's first functionalised SBS, modified with maleic acid. This invention gave SBS improved affinity with polar material, without losing the typical properties of SBS, and opened the way for a new product design concept for TPEs.His experience with functionalised groups and improving the affinity with polar materials became the foundation of his future work in functionalised S-SBR for silica tyres. He has been an IISRP Environmental Health (EHC) and Technical Operating Committee member for the Far East Section (FES) during 2003 to 2009. He also has chaired the EHC for the FES from 2006 to 2008.