Akira Okubo Prize

The Akira Okubo Fund was established in memory of Akira Okubo, who made major contributions to many fields, including mathematical ecology and oceanography. Okubo was widely recognized for his scientific work, as well as for his exceptional humanity.

The award has two versions, junior and established/senior scientists, each given every four years. In the junior version, the Akira Okubo Prize honors a junior living scientist (assistant professor or equivalent position) for outstanding and innovative theoretical work, for establishing superb conceptual ideas, for solving tough theoretical problems, and/or for uniting theory and data to advance a biological subject. In the established scientist version, the Akira Okubo Prize honors a senior living scientist (associate/full professor or equivalent position) for outstanding and innovative theoretical work, for establishing superb conceptual ideas, for solving tough theoretical problems, and/or for uniting theory and data to advance a biological subject.

The following criteria is used for ranking nominations and selecting the award winner: originality (discovering a new theory and opening a new research direction), breakthrough (solving outstanding problems in the field), new synthesis (leading to a new research area), and impact already made, or expected, on subsequent studies.

The prize is jointly administered by the Society for Mathematical Biology and the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology. The members of the Society for Mathematical Biology Awards Committee serve in the selection committee, along with three members of the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology. The Committee chair rotates between the Society for Mathematical Biology and the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology.

The award recipient will receive a cash award of $500 and a certificate at the award ceremony in the Annual Meeting of the Society. The Okubo Prize winner is expected to give a talk at the joint meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology and Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology, the Society for Mathematical Biology, or the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology annual meetings.

Recipients of the Akira Okubo Prize
2019 – Naoki Masuda, University at Buffalo (junior)
2017 – Yoh Iwasa, Kyushu University (senior)
2015 – Joshua Plotkin, University of Pennsylvania (junior)
2013 – Nanako Shigesada, Nara Women’s University (senior)
2011 – Michio Kondoh, Ryukoku University (junior)
2009 – Hans Othmer, University of Minnesota (senior)
2007 – Fugo Takasu, Nara Women’s University (junior)
2005 – James D. Murray, University of Washington (senior)
2003 – Jonathan Sherratt, Heriot-Watt University (junior)
2001 – Simon Levin, Princeton University (senior)
1999 – Martin Nowak, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (junior)

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