Masao Horiba Awards 2020 now accepting applications!

|   Press Release

This year’s theme is ‘Optical/Spectroscopic Measurement Technologies for Life Science’

The 2020 Masao Horiba Awards started to accept applications on February 17th. Now in its 17th iteration, HORIBA, Ltd. (Head Office: 2 Miyanohigashi, Kisshoin, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Japan; President & COO: Masayuki Adachi; hereinafter, “HORIBA”) started this annual research promotion award in 2003. This year’s theme is “Optical/Spectroscopic Measurement Technologies for Life Science."
Under a changing theme every year, the awards entice a large number of researchers to submit applications, from which three will eventually be selected as winners. Through this award, we hope to support future leaders conducting innovative and unique research and to further advance the development of analytical and measurement technologies. We look forward to receiving applications from proactive researchers and engineers who pursue their work while following our company motto of “Joy and Fun.”


Optical/Spectroscopic Measurement Technologies for Life Science
This award solicits to research in life sciences, notably state-of-art optical/spectroscopic measurement technologies which are applicable to the industry and leads to a more efficient production process, or is dedicated to drug discovery and manufacture.

Field 1:
Measurement and automation technologies based on optical/spectroscopic techniques related to the production process of proteins or cells.

The result of the research will improve the efficiency of the production process, or is related to process control using a data science/data management system.

Field 2:
Analytical research for biosamples based on spectroscopic techniques in the field of drug discovery and manufacture.

The research takes into account the future industrialization or production process of cells, microorganisms, and extracellular particles in the pharmaceutical field.

*Including research for pretreatment with a micro-fluidic device, etc., or an analysis method with data science.


Eligible ApplicantsThose belonging to domestic or overseas universities or public research institutions
Eligible ResearchOptical/Spectroscopic Measurement Technologies for Life Science
Application PeriodFebruary 17 – May 15, 2020
Review MethodThe screening committee will decide 2020 award winners based on actual results and prospects regarding submitted documents.
Results AnnouncementEnd of July (tentative)
AwardWinners will be awarded a certificate and prize money. A single winner receives 2 million yen (1 million yen/year for two years). Conditions of eligibility must be met continuously.
Award Ceremony and Commemorative Seminar

To be held on Friday, October 16, 2020 at Shirankaikan, Kyoto University.
(Winners will conduct discussions and visual presentations that appeal to the general public.)

How to applyFor documents to submit and other application details, please visit

Masao Horiba Awards Office, HORIBA, Ltd.
2, Miyanohigashi, Kisshoin, Minami-ku, Kyoto, 601-8510
TEL: +81-(0)75-325-5110 / E-mail: info(at)


Award Screening Committee


Hirofumi Takeuchi
Emeritus Professor
Laboratory of Advanced Pharmaceutical Process Engineering
Gifu Pharmaceutical University


Jürgen Popp
Professor, Scientific Director
Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology
Jena, Germany


Rinta Ibuki
Research Center for Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Development Science
Ritsumeikan University


Kouhei Tsumoto
Department of Bioengineering
School of Engineering
University of Tokyo


Masato Maekawa
Department of Laboratory Medicine
Hamamatsu University School of Medicine


Mikiko Uchigashima
Section Leader
Reagent Team, Process Design Department
Medical Business Division


Hiroyuki Morimura
Bio/Life Science Team, Advanced R&D Center
Research & Development Division

Award Director

Atsushi Horiba
Chairman & Group CEO

Chief of the Organizing Committee for Masao Horiba Awards 2020

Masayuki Adachi
President & COO


ABOUT THE THEME: Optical/Spectroscopic Measurement Technologies for Life Science

Recently, our society demands actions for incurable diseases that are difficult to be treated with conventional medicines. This problem is common all over the world, and each country has put effort into the healthcare field. As for activity in Japan, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) was established in 2015 as an agency to promote research and development of medicines and medical instruments comprehensively. In addition, policies related to healthcare become a higher priority, and one example is to enact the healthcare policy.

Also, new medical care—for example, personalized medicine—exhibits rapid growth in the healthcare field. This growth further accelerates the drug discovery research and engages in the fusion of medical and pharmaceutical fields. This merged field between medical and pharmaceutical areas, namely modality drug discovery, has paved not only the way for the conventional low-molecular drugs but also the way for medium molecular medicine (peptide, for instance), macromolecular drug based on nucleic acid, or peptide and cellular medicine utilizing cells. Besides, extracellular particles, exosome for instance, is of high interest in both medical and pharmaceutical fields. As these medicines become complex and diversified, this merged field demands an integrated solution for pretreatment of biological samples, analysis method and data utilization. The production process in the pharmaceutical industry also has the same challenging issue due to the change of the medicines and desires an integrated and completed solution for problems, as examples, what phenomena or elements should be investigated, and how to analyze, accumulate and apply obtained data. Also, technologies for automation in the production process are of high importance for this total solution.

The 2020 Masao Horiba Award will honor research projects in the field of life sciences, notably state-of-art optical/spectroscopic measurement technologies, which will dedicate to drug discovery and manufacture.


HORIBA Group’s history begins with our trail-blazing founder, Masao Horiba, whose initial venture was the first domestic development of the glass electrode pH meter when he was still a university student. Ever since then, we have expanded our business globally to become a manufacturer of a comprehensive line of analytical instruments while also expanding analysis into liquid, gasses, and solids. Collaboration with universities and research institutions has been one of the ways we have supported this development since our company’s founding. The steady efforts of the researchers and engineers who work on our fundamental research have continued to be a driving force in our growth. Having entered into the 21st century, we founded the Masao Horiba Awards in 2003, named after our founder to support the academic research and development which will be the source of new enterprises and commercial endeavors in the fields of analytical and measurement instrument technology, whose social significance only continues to grow.

This award supports researchers and engineers both in Japan and overseas who are engaged in research and development expected to create an innovative analytical and measurement technology that will further enhance scientific value in that technological field. Choosing a different field each year allows us to focus on research and development with results and future development potential on a global scale. We are seeking proactive participants who understand the “Joy and Fun” of research and development in the target area, from fundamental to application, and who will also be key players in the future development of analytical and measurement technology.

Our late founder, Masao Horiba:
Masao Horiba pioneered his own venture, Horiba Radio Laboratory, in October 1945 while still a student at the Faculty of Science at Kyoto Imperial University (now Kyoto University). He majored in nuclear physics, and just like his father and professor, Shinkichi Horiba, he had intended to remain at university and become a researcher after graduation. At this time, however, the end of World War II saw the US military destroying cyclotrons and taking other steps to prevent and prohibit nuclear research and experiments, so Masao was unable to continue his university research. This led to the decision to establish a private laboratory where one might conduct experiments and research freely, which is how our company came to be founded.

In January 1953, the company was reorganized as a share-issuing company, and Masao assumed the role of president. As Horiba Radio Laboratory, the plan had been to develop and commercialize electrolytic capacitors, but this plan was aborted due to inflation caused by the Korean War. Instead, the pH meter developed for capacitor production was sold as a product, and HORIBA, Ltd., known today, was established. The company then continued to develop new pH meters one after another in cooperation with universities. In 1978, at the age of 53, Masao assumed the role of chairman, and our current philosophy of “Joy and Fun” was established as the company motto. After taking office as chairman, Masao also worked to support domestic small-to-medium enterprises and startups in an active way to revitalize Kyoto. He also worked towards the fundamental education reforms needed to usher into the future generations of trailblazers. For his contributions to developments in the field of analytical sciences as an entrepreneur who launched a global measuring instrument business with products that support research and technological breakthroughs globally, Masao was the first non-American to be honored with the Pittcon Heritage Award in March 2006 and was entered into the USA’s Pittcon Hall of Fame (for Analytical Chemistry). At the age of 90, Masao passed away in July 2015.