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The Otomo Fund was made possible in 1997, when Mrs  Sachiko Otomo of Japan made an unexpected and very substantial gift of money to the ICS, saying that it could be used for whatever purpose thought best. It was quickly decided to form a research arm of the Society, to encourage and assist scientific studies relating to the Genus Camellia. It was also decided to honour Mrs Otomo by naming the Fund for her.
The following year, Mrs Otomo made a second donation of the same amount to the Fund.  Mrs Otomo died in 2003, leaving the ICS with the core of a fund that has grown into one of the most important in the global camellia world.
The Fund operates by investing all donations, and making grants when possible from the interest earned. Projects are assessed by an Advisory Board, and, if approved, recommended to the full ICS Board for payment. The present Advisory Board members are Mr Neville Haydon, New Zealand, Chairman; Dr Ross Hayter, Australia; Mr Shigeo Matsumoto, Japan; Mr Herbert Short, United Kingdom; and Mr Howard Rhodes, USA.

Grantees are required to offer a summary of their results for publication in the International Camellia Journal.

To date the following projects have been assisted:

University of North Carolina – Dr Clifford Parks; Species identification and classification by DNA methods.

University of Beijing – Professor Cheng Jinshui and Chen Junzhi; Study of freeze resistance mechanisms of "Naidong" Camellia.

Hanoi University of Sciences, and Tamdao National Park – Dr Tran Ninh;   The biodiversity conservation of Genus camellia of Viet Nam.

Publication of “Collected Species of the Genus Camellia” – Professor Gao Jiyin, and co-authored by Dr Clifford Parks and  Senior Engineer Du Yueqiang.

Kyushu University – Professors Hiroshi Okubo, Yukio Ozaki, Michikazu Hiramatsu and Chuji Hiruki; The genetic divergence in Camellia japonica L. with special reference to the origin of historic camellias.

University of Western Sydney – Dr George Orel; Molecular investigation and assessment of Camellia changii (syn. C.azalea) as potential breeding material.

This list shows the great diversity of projects which the Fund can assist, limited only by finances. At present the Fund’s investments allow for one grant each year at the current rate of $US 2,000.  Donations are always welcomed, and a legacy provision would be a worthy way of ultimately assisting the Fund and its very worthwhile objectives.

Further information about any of the projects supported to date, or information on how to apply for an Otomo Fund grant,  can be obtained from the President by using our contact form


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