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Announcement of the Winners of the 9th Innovation Net Award 2020

September 8, 2020

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been supporting the Innovation Net Award Program* which recognizes organizations and individuals for their outstanding efforts for supporting regional industries across Japan by taking advantage of the unique characteristics of such industries and the regions where they are located. METI hereby announces that the winners of the METI Minister’s Award and other awards for the 9th Innovation Award Program 2020 were selected.
*Note: The Innovation Net Award Program is an awards program organized by the Japan Industrial Location Center (JILC) and the Innovation Initiative Network Japan (IINJ).

1. Outline of the program

The Japan Industrial Location Center (JILC) and the Innovation Initiative Network Japan (IINJ) (1*) established the Innovation Net Award Program in FY2011 to recognize outstanding efforts that support regional industries in the creation of new businesses or industries by taking advantage of regional characteristics, as approaches to promoting revitalization of such regions and industries. In FY2016, the program started recognizing individuals for their achievements in spearheading activities leading to creation of regional industries and promotion of regional revitalization.

2. Examination and selection process for determining the winners

In the 9th award program, JILC and IINJ received 41 applicants for the METI Minister Award and other awards in the category of programs supporting regional industries and 9 applicants for the IINJ Masao Horiba Award (award for individuals) in the category of individuals who support regional industries.

An examination committee (2*) of external experts established by JILC and IINJ, which are organizers of the program, and a selection committee (3*) of the IINJ Masao Horiba Award Program, a body established by IINJ, respectively examined and sorted the applications in a fair manner based on: ripple effects in regional economies, level of utilization of regional resources, uniqueness of efforts, and uniqueness/potential to become a leading model, e.g., in terms of originality and passion.

3. Winners of the METI Minister’s Award

JILC and IINJ determined the winner of the METI Minister’s Award as below as the most outstanding effort in terms of its contribution to bringing about a pioneering and concrete achievement and leading to the creation of new businesses or industries by taking advantage of regional resources or characteristics.

Title of the program: Network for creating quality business
Winner: Johnan Shinkin Bank

4. Other winners

Award for a support program for regional industries

MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Minister’s Awards

The winner of the MEXT Minister’s Award was selected as the most outstanding program that contributed to regional industries and which was conducted by universities, national institutes of technology, and other schools under industry-academia-government collaboration.

Title of the program: Hirosaki University project titled “Revolution for Healthy Life-Span”, toward creation of new industries through robust collaboration among the industry, academia, government, financial and private sectors, with big data on health as the focus of the collaboration

Winner: Center of Healthy Aging Innovation, Hirosaki University

MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) Minister’s Award

The winner of the MAFF Minister’s Award was selected as the most outstanding program with particular achievements in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries and food, as an effort that supports regional industries by taking advantage of regional resources and characteristics.

Title of the program: “Tokachi-based Business Support” program focusing on regional-based monodzukuri

Winner: Tokachi Zaidan (a public interest foundation)

IINJ (Innovation Initiative Network Japan) Chairman’s Award

The winner of the IINJ Chairman’s Award was selected as the most outstanding program with particular achievements in the creation of a new business or industry, as an effort for supporting regional industries by taking advantage of regional resources and characteristics.

Title of the program: Hands-on support program which integrally combines technologies and management to create and develop industries in which photonics are applied

Winner: Graduate School for the Creation of New Photonics Industries

JILC (Japan Industrial Location Center) Chairman’s Award

The winner of the JILC Chairman’s Award was selected as the most outstanding program in terms of revitalizing regional industries and fortifying regional industrial clusters by taking advantage of such clusters and inter-company networks.

Title of the program: Creation of sustainable industries through fostering high value-added companies and industries and holding open-factory events

Winner: Tsuyama Industrial Support Center

Awards of Excellence (three winners)

Title of the program: Design-oriented support measures for companies: Niigata IDS Design Competition, Hyakunen Monogatari Project and Design LAB

Winner: Niigata Industrial Creation Organization

Title of the program: Realization of highly-profitable business management in the field of citrus agriculture through development, technology introduction and management support involving drip irrigation and liquid fertigation systems with year-round plastic mulching (Marudori method)

Winner: National Agriculture and Food Research Organization

Title of the program: Enhancement of technologies for next-generation smart vegetable plants and provision of support measures for overseas business development through industry-academia collaboration

Winner: Japan Plant Factory Association (NPO)

Award for individuals who support regional industries

IINJ Masao Horiba Award

The winner of the IINJ Masao Horiba Award was selected as the most outstanding individual who engaged in efforts supporting industrial activities involving regional innovation and revitalization.

Winner: Ms. Gorai Chizuru, President, SO@R Inc.

5. Commendation ceremony

Date: September 29 (Tue.), 2020

Venue: TKP Ochanomizu Conference Center
(Address: Second floor, Shin Ochonomizu Building; 4-3, Kandasurugadai, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo)

Notes:

*1. Innovation Initiative Network Japan (IINJ):
IINJ is an organization consisting of industry support organizations, universities and other entities playing a leading role in region-oriented efforts for promoting innovation across Japan. Under the support of MEXT, MAFF and METI, it aims to establish a nationwide network in order to share information, promote exchange with other member entities and overcome common challenges among member entities as well as to enhance collaboration between member entities such as broad-based industry-academia or inter-industry collaboration, thereby revitalizing regional industries. It was inaugurated in April of 2009. The chairman is Dr. Yoshikawa Hiroyuki, Executive Advisor, Japan Science and Technology Agency.

*2. Examination committee:
This examination committee examines applications filed for the Innovation Net Award Program ( the METI Minister’s Award and other awards) and selects winners. The committee consists of Dr. Kishi Teruo, President of the Innovative Structural Material Association, acting as chair, and seven other members.

*3. Selection committee:
This selection committee examines applications filed for the IINJ Masao Horiba Award Program for recognizing the most outstanding individual who engages in efforts supporting regional industries and selects a winner. The committee consists of Dr. Matsumoto Hiroshi, President of RIKEN as well as the former President of Kyoto University, acting as chair, and four other members.

Division in Charge

Regional Business Innovation Promotion Division, Regional Economic and Industrial Policy Group