6th German Innovation Award Ceremony in Tokyo

© DWIH Tokyo

During a festive award ceremony at Palace Hotel Tokyo, the winners of the German Innovation Award – Gottfried Wagener Prize 2014 were announced on June 18th.

Established by German companies and the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan in 2008, the award’s goal is to foster bilateral exchange between business and science and support the development of German-Japanese networks and research cooperation. Every year, five promising young Japanese scientists are awarded for outstanding research contributions to the fields of Environment & Energy, Healthcare and Safety & Security. This year’s awardees were selected from a total of 103 entries by scientists from 40 Japanese universities and research institutions.

The first prize went to Dr. Itaru Imayoshi from Kyoto University for the development of a method for optical manipulation of neural stem cells in the brain. This non-invasive technology displays a promising approach towards new treatments targeting neurodegenerative disorders in the field of regenerative medicine. Imayoshi received four million yen in prize money. Dr. Kenya Honda and his team from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences received the second prize for the identification and isolation of intestinal strains of clostridium bacteria which could be used as an allergy and inflammation fighting biotherapeutic in the future. The third prize was awarded to Dr. Hideki Hirori from Kyoto University for his research achievement in the field of generation of ultra-intense terahertz radiation sources and nonlinear spectroscopy; Dr. Yukio Kawano from Tokyo Institute of Technology for the development of a nanoscale terahertz sensing and imaging technology; and Dr. Ken-ichi Uchida from Tohoku University for the discovery of the spin Seebeck effect and its applications to thermoelectric devices.

In addition to monetary prizes all awardees were granted research fellowships for short-term stays in Germany by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Around 250 guests from academia, industry, politics and media attended the festive award ceremony at Palace Hotel Tokyo. In his commemorative speech Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Ichita Yamamoto emphasized the role of innovation as a driving force behind the development of an economy as a whole and praised the benefits resulting from the close and longstanding relations between Germany and Japan.

The German Innovation Award is coordinated by the German Research and Innovation Forum Tokyo under the patronage of Federal Minister for Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka. German scientist and co-founder of Tokyo Institute of Technology Gottfried Wagener (who made substantial contribution towards the development of the education landscape during the Meiji era) gave the award its name.

German Innovation Award – Gottfried Wagener Prize 2014 Awardees

1st Prize Dr. Itaru Imayoshi (33)

Associate Professor, The Hakubi Center and Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University

Optical Manipulation of Neural Stem Cells in the Brain

2nd Prize Dr. Kenya Honda (45)

Team Leader, Laboratory for Gut Homeostasis, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences

Isolation of Intestinal Bacterial Strains that Strongly Affect the Host Immune System

Team Members:

Dr. Koji Atarashi (32)

Senior Researcher, Laboratory for Gut Homeostasis, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences

Dr. Takeshi Tanoue (29)

Special Postdoctoral Researcher, Laboratory for Gut Homeostasis, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences

3rd Prize Dr. Hideki Hirori (37)

Associate Professor, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University

Study on the Generation of Ultra-Intense THz Radiation Sources and Nonlinear Spectroscopy

Dr. Yukio Kawano (40)

Associate Professor, Quantum Nanoelectronics Research Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Development of Nanoscale Terahertz Sensing and Imaging Technology

Dr. Ken-ichi Uchida (28)

Associate Professor, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University

Discovery of the Spin Seebeck Effect and its Application to Thermoelectric Devices

Jury Chairman:

Dr. Masuo Aizawa, Counselor to the President, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and former President of Tokyo Institute of Technology

Permanent Members:

Dr. Akira Fujishima, President, Tokyo University of Science

Dr. Junichi Hamada, President, The University of Tokyo

Dr. Teruo Kishi, Advisor Emeritus, National Institute for Materials Science

Dr. Hiroshi Matsumoto, President, Kyoto University

Organizers German Research and Innovation Forum Tokyo, German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan
Partner Companies BASF Japan Ltd., Bayer, Bosch Corporation, Continental Japan, Evonik Japan Co., Ltd., Henkel Japan Ltd., Mercedes-Benz Japan Co., Ltd./Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation/Mercedes-Benz Finance Co., Ltd., Merck Ltd., Schott Nippon K.K., Siemens Japan K.K., TRUMPF Corporation
Co-Partners German Academic Exchange Service, German Research Foundation
Cooperation Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, German JSPS Alumni Association
Support Federal Foreign Office, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science