German Innovation Award Presented to Young Japanese Scientists

© DWIH Tokyo

German companies are strengthening their ties with Japanese academia. Launched in 2008 by twelve technology-focused German enterprises and the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, the German Innovation Award supports young scientists in Japan. The five winners of the Gottfried Wagener Prize 2010 have been announced on May 12th.

The 1st prize was granted to Dr. Motonari Uesugi (44) from the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University for proposing a new way to use synthetic small molecules as tools to improve the efficacy and productivity of cell therapy. The unique biological activity of these molecules will open doors to a wide range of new applications in cell therapy. Uesugi’s team was awarded with prize money worth 4 million Yen.

The 2nd prize went to Dr. Akira Ohtomo (38) from Tokyo Institute of Technology for his materials research. The scientists Dr. Jun Takeuchi (40) and Dr. Takashi Yatsui (39) from The University of Tokyo and Dr. Masayoshi Higuchi (41) from the National Institute for Materials Science have been selected for the 3rd prize. Additionally to the prize money, all winners will be granted a fellowship by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for a 2-months stay at a German research institution or university of their choice.

A total of 81 applications from 36 Japanese universities and research institutes went into the evaluation process for the Gottfried Wagener Prize 2010. Researchers were encouraged to submit research work in the areas of Environment & Energy, Healthcare, and Safety & Security. The prize is awarded for application-orientated research work that proposes solutions in the fields of automotive, chemicals, electronics, medical equipment, biotechnology, manufacturing, energy generation, urban infrastructure and related field

The award ceremony, originally scheduled for March 17, took place at the German Ambassador’s residence in Tokyo. 4 Million Yen, which could be saved due to the downscaling of the event, will be donated to an educational project in the area which was affected by the Tohoku earthquake on March 11th.

The Prize is named after Gottfried Wagener, a German researcher who gave important impulses for the process of restructuring the educational system in the Meiji Period. He also was the co-founder of Tokyo Institute of Technology exactly 130 years ago. This year’s commemorative speech was therefore delivered by Prof. Dr. Hiromitsu Muta, the Vice President of Tokyo Institute of Technology, on Wagener’s contribution to innovation in Japan.

The Award is coordinated by the German Research and Innovation Forum Tokyo and granted under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research.


Winners of the Gottfried Wagener Prize 2010

1st Prize:
Dr. Motonari Uesugi (44)
Professor, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University
“Development of Small Molecules Tools for Cell Therapy”
Team members:
Dr. Makiya Nishikawa
Associate Professor, Department of Biopharmaceutics and Drug Metabolism, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University
Dr. Noriko Koizumi
Professor, Graduate School of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University

2nd Prize:
Dr. Akira Ohtomo (38)
Professor, Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
“Creation of Atomistically Controlled Metal Oxide Interface towards High-mobility Electronic Device Applications”

3rd Prizes:
Dr. Jun Takeuchi (40)
Associate Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences,The University of Tokyo
“Direct Generation of Human Cardiac Tissues by Defined Factors”
Team Member:
Dr. Kazuko Koshiba, Assistant Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences,The University of Tokyo

Dr. Masayoshi Higuchi (41)
Independent Scientist / Group Leader, World Premier International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, National Institute for Materials Science
“Development of New Electrochromic Materials and Their Application to Display Devices”

Dr. Takashi Yatsui (39)
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
“Development of a Photo-induced Self-organized Process for Nanofabrication Using the Optical Near-field”

Prof. Dr. Masuo Aizawa, Executive Member of the Council for Science and Technology Policy and former President of Tokyo Institute of Technology

Permanent Members:
Prof. Dr. Junichi Hamada, President of the University of Tokyo
Prof. Dr. Teruo Kishi, NIMS Advisor and former President of National Institute for Materials Science
Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Matsumoto, President of Kyoto University
Prof. Dr. Katsuhiko Shirai, Executive Advisor for Academic Affairs and former President of Waseda University

Partner companies
The German Innovation Award is a project sponsored and supported by twelve German private companies, in alphabetical order: BASF Japan Ltd., Bayer Holding Ltd., Bosch Corporation, Mercedes-Benz Japan Co., Ltd./ Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation, Evonik Degussa Japan Co., Ltd., Henkel Japan Ltd., Merck Ltd., Münchner Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG, SCHOTT Nippon K.K., Siemens Japan K.K., TRUMPF Corporation and TÜV Rheinland Japan Ltd.

The Federal Foreign Office, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, German JSPS Alumni Association, German Research Foundation – DFG, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

German Innovation Award Secretariat
c/o German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan
Regine Dieth
Sanbancho KS Bldg., Sanbancho 2-4, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0075
Tel: 03 5276 8827