fbpx Saito, Kozo | University of Kentucky College of Engineering

Kozo Saito, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Founding Director of Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD)


179 RGAN



Director, Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD) (2007- 2021), Founding Director (2021 – present)

Tennessee Valley Authority Professor in Mechanical Engineering (2001 – 2020), University of Kentucky

Professor (1993 – present), University of Kentucky

Associate Professor (1986 – 1993), University of Kentucky

Prof. Research Staff (1984 – 1986), Princeton University

Research Associate (1981 – 1984), Princeton University

Postgraduate Assistant Engineer (1980 – 1981) (Advisors: F.A. Williams and A.S. Gordon), University of California, San Diego


B.S. (1975), and Dr. Engrg. (1980) Mechanical Engineering, Seikei University, Tokyo, Japan (Doctoral thesis advisor: R.I. Emori)

Kozo Saito learned TPS directly from the current Toyota Honorary Chairman, Fujio Cho. Dr. Saito is the founding director of the UK Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD), which houses both R&D and True Lean.  Both were initiated by the sponsorship from Toyota in 1994 under his ambassador’s role.

In addition to the Toyota Group, IR4TD's sponsors include Nippon Steel, Denso America, GE, Graco, Mitsui Bussan, Nissan, Honda, Admatechs, Osaka Gas, and Sekimoto Engineering.  

Dr. Saito joined UK in 1986 as Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, was promoted to Professor (1993) and became the Tennessee Valley Authority (Endowed) Professor in Mechanical Engineering (2001-present). Prior to UK, Dr. Saito was at Princeton University, as a Research Associate to conduct combustion research, and later was promoted to Prof. Research Staff.  Dr. Saito completed his three degrees (B.S. 1975, MS 1977, Ph.D. 1980) at Seikei University, Tokyo, Japan. He received post-graduate training at the University of California at San Diego before going to Princeton.

Dr. Saito is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, chair of the International Scale Modeling Committee, and a former committee member of the National Research Council. He holds visiting lectureship with Nippon Steel Corp, University of Tokyo, had an IPA assignment at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and was a joint research collaborator with NASA and USDA Forest Service.