The Ecological Society of Japan

Call for applicants for the 20th Biwako Prize for Ecology

Jotaro Urabe (Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the Biwako Prize for Ecology)

The Biwako Prize for Ecology is awarded to researchers under the age of 50 who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of aquatic ecology or related disciplines. The Ecological Society of Japan awards this prize jointly with Shiga Prefecture.

The Biwako Prize for Ecology is named after Lake Biwa, one of the world’s most ancient lakes, and the largest lake in Japan. The Biwako Prize for Ecology is well known internationally and was founded in 1991 by Shiga Prefecture. This year, on the 25th anniversary of the prize, the 19th award will be presented. Historically, Shiga Prefecture organized this prize (until the 14th award), but the Ecological Society of Japan assumed responsibility for this from the 15th award on.

No money is available for this award. Prof. Kihachiro Kikuzawa, the former chair of the Steering Committee, stated "I am worried that the number of applicants will be reduced because of the absence of a monetary prize." However, based on the excellence of recent applicants and recipients since the Ecological Society of Japan began organizing this award, money (as an enticement for application) does not appear necessary. In fact, recipients have demonstrated great achievements, are leading researchers in their fields, and their research output has increased the importance and significance of this award in academia.

Each year the Biwako Prize for Ecology has been awarded to one or two researchers from throughout Asia, Oceania, or Japan. The 18th prize was awarded to Prof. Chih-hao Hsieh (Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University) who conducted original and high-quality research identifying environmental impacts on fish and plankton communities by devising and making integral methodologies that unify theory and data analysis. Promoting academic exchange and excellence by connecting researchers and students in Taiwan and Japan has been highly appreciated.

For 19th prize this year, we will recruit applicants for the Biwako Prize for Ecology as usual. We solicit energetic researchers up to the age of 50 years who work on a variety of environmental issues related to water. Evaluation will be conducted by members of a selection committee who have been active in a wide range of fields related to environmental sciences, so the evaluation is not biased to a specific discipline. Prize recipients are selected by the Ecological Society of Japan, but it is not necessary to be a member of this society to apply.

Recipients are expected to give a commemorative public lecture in Shiga Prefecture early next July, to an audience comprising mainly Shiga Prefecture residents and prefecture staff. Although it is not mandatory, it is expected that the recipient will also write a commemorative paper for publication in a journal of the Ecological Society of Japan.

This prize acknowledges leading researchers in a range of disciplines related to aquatic science. The prize also presents an opportunity for researchers to introduce their academic achievements to the general public. This introduction broadens the scientific base, and the feedbacks from the general public will be of great pleasure for the researchers.