Third Noyori Summer School held in Kobe

On September 9–10, the third Noyori Summer School was held at Kobe Port Island, home to the RIKEN Kobe Institute and the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS). The summer school, launched in 2009, provides opportunities for young researchers from around the world to meet RIKEN leaders and interact with one another.

The 69 participants included International Program Associates (IPA), Junior Research Associates (JRA) and Trainees. The two-day event featured various presentations and interactive sessions, including a discussion with RIKEN President Ryoji Noyori.

The first day began with a poster session, where participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas and explain their work to President Noyori and other RIKEN officers. A group discussion led by President Noyori allowed participants to put their questions directly to Dr Noyori about career paths, the response of scientists to natural disasters, and energy resources.

Participants enjoyed a tour of AICS, home to the 10-petaflop supercomputer called the K computer, which was recognized as the fastest computer in the world at the 26th International Supercomputing Conference in June 2011. The young researchers were divided into groups and had a chance to visit the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) and the RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science (CMIS). A special tour of the International Medical Device Alliance (IMDA), an organization focusing on advanced medical devices R&D, was arranged courtesy of its president, Dr Koichi Tanaka.

The second day featured presentations by Executive Director Maki Kawai, who gave a talk entitled “On Being A Researcher”, and AICS Director Kimihiko Hirao, who spoke about the K computer and other research being conducted at the center.

One of the highlights of the program was the presentation of the “Noyori Prize” for the best poster presentation. Virendra Kumar Rai of the Organometallic Chemistry Laboratory at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute received the prize this year for his work on the development of novel electrophosphorescent materials for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). A delighted Rai said, “The third Noyori Summer School in Kobe was a very good platform to meet young researchers, exchange knowledge, and work towards scientific collaborations in the future. I was really very happy to receive the Noyori Prize. It was a great honor, which I will never forget."