Record number of grants from the Watanabe Trust Fund | University of Iceland Skip to main content
24/06/2020 - 14:29

Record number of grants from the Watanabe Trust Fund

In the next academic year, nineteen students and researchers at the University of Iceland are heading to Japan for study and research work and nine students and researchers from Japanese universities are coming to Iceland for the same purpose. These people are all recipients of grants from the University of Iceland Watanabe Trust Fund, which was established to foster academic links between Iceland and Japan. This is a record number of grant recipients, following a record number of 45 applications. The total sum awarded this year is around USD 172,000, or ISK 24 million.
 
Grants from the Watanabe Trust Fund have been awarded every year since 2011, with almost a hundred recipients so far. Traditionally, the grants are awarded at a formal ceremony attended by the Fund's founder, Toshizo Watanabe, but this year there will be no ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
The Watanabe Trust Fund is intended to foster academic links between Iceland and Japan and has provided students at the University of Iceland with the opportunity to study at Japanese universities as well as enabling Japanese students to apply to study at the University of Iceland. The Fund has also supported academics at the University of Iceland to travel and conduct research in Japan and vice versa, thereby encouraging increased research collaboration between Iceland and Japan in various fields.

The Fund was established with a generous donation from Toshizo Watanabe of USD 5 million, the equivalent of around ISK 700 million, which is the largest individual donation the University of Iceland has ever received.

Watanabe, who was born in Japan, is an entrepreneur and one of the owners of Nikken, a wellness products company based in the USA. He was awarded a scholarship to go on exchange at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, where he met Geir H. Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland. Watanabe was eternally grateful to those who supported his studies and wanted to repay the help he had received by establishing a fund to enable young people to study abroad. He contacted Geir H. Haarde, his former classmate, with the idea of establishing a fund at an Icelandic university. This led to the creation of the Watanabe Trust Fund at the University of Iceland in 2008. It is worth mentioning that last year Watanabe was presented with the Icelandic Order of the Falcon in recognition of his contribution to strengthening academic and educational links between Iceland and Japan.The Board of the Fund comprises Már Másson, Professor of medicinal chemistry, who is also the chair, Toshizo Watanabe, founder of the Fund, and Kristín Ingvarsdóttir, lecturer in Japanese Contemporary Studies at the University of Iceland Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

Grants from the Watanabe Trust Fund have been awarded every year since 2011, with almost a hundred recipients so far. Traditionally, the grants are awarded at a formal ceremony attended by the Fund's founder, Toshizo Watanabe, but this year there will be no ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.

28 people receive grants from the Watanabe Trust Fund

This year, 28 people will receive a grant from the Fund, divided as follows:
 
Undergraduates at the University of Iceland going to study in Japan
 
Áshildur Friðriksdóttir, BS student in electrical and computer engineering, to study at Waseda University.

Eygló Fjóla Jóhannesdóttir, BA student in Japanese, to study at Nagoya University.

Friðrik Valur Elíasson, BS student in mechanical engineering, to study at Kyushu University.

Gréta Ottósdóttir, BA student in Japanese, to study at Iwate University.

Guðbjörn Arnarson, BS student in chemical engineering, to study at Sophia University.

Martyna Baranowska, BA student in Japanese, to study at Kyushu University.

Tristan Ferrua Edwardsson, BS student in mathematics, to study at Kyoto University.

Viktor Ellingsson, BS student in chemistry, to study at Kyoto University.
 
Undergraduates at Japanese universities coming to study at the University of Iceland
 
Anna Kodama, BA student at Gakushuin University, to study political science at the University of Iceland.

Ayaka Mori, BA student at Nagoya University, to study English linguistics at the University of Iceland.
 

Scientists and postgraduates at the University of Iceland receiving grants for study and research

Björn Viðar Aðalbjörnsson, lecturer in food science, to conduct research at Nagoya University.

Dagur Andri Hjaltalín, MS student in pharmacy, to conduct research at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Eiríkur Smári Sigurðsson, research specialist and research director at the School of Humanities, to conduct research at Kyoto University.

Guðrún Theódórsdóttir, senior lecturer in second language studies, to conduct research at Kobe University.

Helga Rut Guðmundsdóttir, professor of musicology, to conduct research at Hokkaido University.

Hikari Tsutsui, MA student in sociology, to study at the University of Iceland. 

Ingibjörg Björgvinsdóttir, MS student in environment and natural resources, to take part in a research voyage organised by Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.

Kenneth Curtis Steele, MS student in environment and natural resources, to conduct research at Kyoto University.

Mariko Komaru, MS student in tourism studies, to study at the University of Iceland.

Polina Moroz, MS student in environment and natural resources, to conduct research at Kyoto University.

Vincent Merida, MS student in environment and natural resources, to conduct research at Kyoto University.
 

Scientists and students coming from Japan to conduct research at the University of Iceland

Hiroyuki Hoshi, professor of geology at Aichi University of Education.

Hugang Han, professor of mathematics at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima.

Jun Shiota, PhD student in political sociology from Kobe University.

Koreharu Kurahara, MA student in disaster studies at Kyoto University.

Narihira Takada, PhD student in historical linguistics at the University of Tokyo.

Shin-ichi Horike, professor of molecular biology at Kanazawa University.

Takashi Iwata, postdoctoral researcher in marine ecology at the University of Tokyo.