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Archive: Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize

Prizewinners 

2019: Prof. Dr. Kōichirō Agata and Prof. Dr. Harald Baum

Political and administrative scientist Prof. Dr. Kōichirō Agata and legal scholar Prof. Dr. Harald Baum have been selected to receive the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). They are being recognised for their many years of successful dedication to academic and cultural exchange between Germany and Japan. The winners were chosen by the prize jury at its meeting in May 2019.

“Kōichirō Agata and Harald Baum aren’t just renowned as outstanding researchers in their respective countries and subject areas. They are also highly regarded in each other's country and have made a significant contribution to German-Japanese understanding through their considerable personal dedication, especially in the area of student exchanges,” said DFG Vice President Prof. Dr. Katja Becker, who chaired the jury. The prize, worth €10,000, will be presented on 9 September 2019 in Bonn.

Prof. Dr. Kōichirō Agata

Kōichirō Agata is being recognised for his decades-long support in promoting exchange and cooperation between Germany and Japan. As a member of the selection committee for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Tokyo-based administrative scientist has been involved for many years in the awarding of fellowships to Japanese students.

In 2008 he was appointed as the first liaison scholar for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) in Japan. He has also served for many years as a member of the Foundation Council of the Japanese-German Center Berlin.

Agata’s research focuses on the comparison of municipal administration in Japan and Germany. He studied political science at Waseda University in Tokyo. Between 1984 and 1988 he was a DAAD fellow at the University of Cologne and the University of Administrative Sciences in Speyer, where he earned his doctorate in administrative sciences in 1992. He was subsequently appointed a professor at Waseda University, where he has held the Chair of Administrative Sciences since 1997. In 2008 he became Dean of the Okuma School of Public Management at Waseda University. He has regularly shared his expertise in the non-academic world, for example as an adviser to Japan’s ministry of education (MEXT) and the country’s interior and foreign ministries. For his services to German-Japanese relations, he was presented with the Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2006.

Prof. Dr. Harald Baum

Harald Baum has also made an outstanding contribution over many years to exchange and cooperation between Germany and Japan. Through his academic work he has enhanced understanding in both countries by enabling German scholars to understand Japanese law while making German law accessible in Japan. He has achieved this not only in his role as Vice-President of the German-Japanese Association of Jurists (DJJV), but also as founder and editor of the Journal of Japanese Law, which has been published regularly for over 20 years, presenting information on this topic in German and English. In recognition of this he was awarded the prize of the Foundation for the Promotion of Japanese-German Scientific and Cultural Relations (JaDe) in 2010.

Baum’s research interests are international private and procedural law, with a focus on Japanese law. He studied law in Hamburg and Freiburg and earned his doctorate at the University of Hamburg in 1984. He then became a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, where he is still based today. He has also spent periods of time researching abroad, particularly in Japan. In 2004 he completed his habilitation in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hamburg, where he was appointed professor in 2010. In addition to his teaching and research work in Germany and Japan, he has organised numerous conferences on law, with an emphasis on the training of early career scholars.

2017: Prof. Dr. Takeshi Tsubata and Prof. Dr.-Ing Thomas Bock

Immunologist Prof. Dr. Takeshi Tsubata and architect Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Bock have been selected to receive the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize awarded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). They are to be honoured for their many years of successful and dedicated commitment to academic and cultural exchange between Germany and Japan. “Takeshi Tsubata and Thomas Bock aren’t just renowned as outstanding researchers in their respective countries and subject areas. They are also highly regarded in the other country and have made a significant contribution to German-Japanese understanding – be it at specialist level, in the training of early career researchers, in committee work or in policy advice,” says DFG Vice President Prof. Dr. Katja Becker, who chaired the jury. The prize, worth €10,000, will be presented on 10 October 2017 in Bonn.

Prof. Dr. Takeshi Tsubata

Takeshi Tsubata is being recognised for his decades-long support in promoting exchange and cooperation between Japan and Germany. As a member of the selection committee for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Tokyo-based immunologist has been involved for many years in the awarding of fellowships to Japanese students. He maintains close links with the offices of the DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) in Japan. Tsubata is also a member of numerous scientific associations and editorial advisory boards in Japan, as well as an associate member of the Science Council of Japan – a role in which he acts as an important advocate for German research.

Tsubata has made a vital contribution to a better understanding of the immune system by discovering new aspects of the basic principles of the humoral immune response. He studied medicine at Kyoto University and received his doctorate in 1988. He then spent two years as an AvH research fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology in Freiburg. After returning to Japan, where he accepted a post as professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 1996, scientific exchange with Germany remained very important to him. He set up a student exchange programme at his university and made regular research visits to Germany, establishing collaborations with German immunologists at various institutions. For his services to German-Japanese relations, he was presented with the Philipp Franz von Siebold Award, established by the Federal President of Germany in 2005.

Prof. Dr.-Ing Thomas Bock

Thomas Bock has also been dedicated to exchange and cooperation between Germany and Japan for many years. For example, Bock was significantly involved in the creation of exchange programmes between various Japanese universities and the Technical University of Munich, where he has been researching since 1997. He also contributed to EU-wide exchanges with Japan in the fields of informatics, electrical and electronic engineering, machine construction/robotics and architecture in his role as programme director for the European Union’s Architecture and Urbanism Student Mobility International Program (AUSMIP), which he initiated in 2002.

Bock’s research is in the area of construction robotics, of which he is considered to be one of the co-founders. His interests lie primarily in the sociotechnically integrated use of new technologies in everyday life. Bock developed the term “robot-oriented design”, which refers to a complete technological and planning concept. His first contact with Japan came early in his academic career: in 1984 he began working at the University of Tokyo, funded by a fellowship from the Japanese education and science ministry, where he completed his doctorate in 1989. He was then appointed professor of construction automation in the Faculty of Construction Engineering at the University of Karlsruhe (TH), before moving to the Technical University of Munich. In 2007 Bock became a fellow at the University of Tokyo. He is also a member of the Robotics Society of Japan. In 2011 he received an award from the Japanese foreign minister for his services to German-Japanese relations.

2015: Prof. Dr. Miyoko Motozawa and Prof. Dr. Gesine Foljanti-Jost

Professor Miyoko Motozawa, a specialist in family and social law, and Japanologist Professor Gesine Foljanty-Jost have been chosen as the winners of the 2015 Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). They receive the award for their many years of successful and dedicated scientific work, which has made a significant contribution to academic exchange and mutual understanding between Germany and Japan. "We are delighted to honour two outstanding individuals who strengthen bilateral relations through enormous personal commitment and extensive network-building – at the level of scholarship, the training of early career researchers, committee work and policy advice," says DFG Vice-President Professor Katja Becker, chairperson of the jury. The prize, worth €10 000, will be presented on 7 October 2015 in Bonn.

Prof. Dr. Miyoko Motozawa

An example for how science builds bridges and lastingly enriches the relationship between Germany and Japan is the work of jurist Miyoko Motozawa from the University of Tsukuba. Since the mid-1970s she has been investigating various aspects of German family and social law, such as divorce law, pension rights adjustment in pension insurance and questions relating to parental leave and child-raising allowance. Motozawa spent two years at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law in Munich, where she carried out qualitative interviews with many different people in the German nursing care insurance industry. Based on this data, in 1996 she published a highly regarded monograph, which was analysed with great interest by Japanese policymakers and used as the basis for an amendment of Japanese nursing care insurance.

As an interdisciplinary jurist with a well developed professional network, Miyoko Motozawa has organised a large number of seminars and congresses both in Japan and Germany, bringing together representatives of economics, social sciences and medicine to discuss issues such as social law and nursing care insurance from a holistic perspective. She is currently establishing an international, interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to the worldwide issue of "Global Ageing".

Prof. Dr. Gesine Foljanti-Jost

Also Gesine Foljanty-Jost has been dedicated to dialogue and cooperation between Germany and Japan for decades, making a significant contribution to social sciences research in Japanese studies in Germany. For many years she has been member of the board of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF), founded in 1988. She has also served as a member or in advisory or executive roles in bilateral institutions such as the German-Japanese Forum, the Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin and the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo.

Gesine Foljanty-Jost, who received a doctorate in political sciences, was appointed professor at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg in 1992. There she established a chair of Japanology, which she has continually developed to become a hub of Japanese studies in Germany. She has initiated important university partnerships between Germany and Japan with the universities of Senshu, Tokyo, Waseda, Dokkyo and Tsukuba. She also established the DFG-funded International Research Training Group "Transformation in Civil Society. A Comparison Between Japan and Germany" in cooperation with the University of Tokyo. Japanese environmental policy has been a focal point of her work – her articles on the subject in the 1990s stimulated debates in German environmental policy. In 2013, in recognition of her contribution to academic relations between Japan and Germany, the Japanese government presented Foljanty-Jost with the Order of the Rising Sun.

2011: Dr. Kazuyuki Tatsumi and Dr. Gerhard Erker

Two outstanding chemists have been selected to receive the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize 2011. Professor Gerhard Erker, from the University of Münster, and Professor Kazuyuki Tatsumi, who works at Nagoya University, have been recognised for their contributions as promoters of understanding between Japan and Germany and as long-term advocates for science. The research duo founded the first Japanese-German Research Training Group, “Complex Functional Systems in Chemistry: Design, Development and Applications”, which has been funded jointly by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) since 2006. The Erker/Tatsumi team is the first research team to be awarded the prize, which is sponsored by former DFG President Eugen Seibold and his wife in the amount of 10,000 euros.

The prize is a symbol for the long-term, close cooperation between German science and Japan, said DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner, also calling to mind the catastrophe in Japan and its unforeseeable consequences. “Both the DFG and I are deeply shocked by this incomprehensible natural and environmental disaster. Like our colleagues, friends, and everyone in Japan, we are both fearful and hopeful. We are ready to help in any way we can, wherever it is needed.”

The closeness of the bond between Germany and Japan is also demonstrated by the prizewinning pair and their work. The parallels between the two multiple-award-winning, internationally recognised chemists began very early. Both studied chemistry in their native countries: Gerhard Erker in Cologne and Bochum, Kazuyuki Tatsumi in Osaka. Both completed a postdoctoral phase in the USA before establishing themselves as outstanding researchers in organometallic chemistry. During this period, they worked on several related topics which have, particularly in recent times, proved mutually beneficial.

The high level of specialist scientific renown enjoyed by the two researchers is also evidenced by the scientific offices they hold. Erker, who heads the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Westphalian Wilhelm University of Münster, served as President of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and a member of both the DFG Senate and the Joint Commission of the Excellence Initiative. Tatsumi, who has held a chair of chemistry at Nagoya University since 1994, was a member of the Subcommittee of Japan's Council for Science and Technology and is currently a member of the Science Council of Japan and Vice President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). He will assume the presidency of this organisation for a two-year term beginning in 2012.

The jointly founded International Research Training Group has its roots in a declaration of intent issued by the DFG and the JSPS in 2005, and the concept of cooperating within a framework of networked projects was translated into action by Erker and Tatsumi. In doing so, they also supported the establishment of the Japanese-German Graduate Externship by the JSPS, which is equivalent to the DFG‘s Research Training Group. Their work thus sent a clear signal in favour of Japanese-German cooperation, based - as it was - primarily on the rapidly developing understanding and growing trust between the two researchers. The success of their scientific collaboration is also evidenced by the DFG’s decision to continue its support for another funding period.