The World Without Disease pitch contest Creating a future where disease is a thing in the past

Your opportunity to pitch ideas in a three minute presentation that could help us reach a world without disease.

The first context was conducted at Akasaka Intercity on 27th September, 2019.

The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, together with the The University of Tokyo Center of Innovation “Self-Managing Healthy Society”, Tokyo University of Science and WASEDA-EDGE Global Talent Development Program, held its first major new pitch contest aimed at incubating new ideas that could help us achieve the ambitious goal of a disease-free future.

Overview of the Pitch Contest

Entrants must prepare a three-minute video presentation, during which they introduce an innovative idea on how together we could achieve a world without disease.

Ideas can involve art, science, medicine, engineering, architecture, information technology, education, policy, finance, philosophy and communication, or any other area that could help treat, reduce or eliminate the impact of disease, strengthen health systems and elevate awareness of the health challenges facing Japan and the world. Ideas should be aspirational and challenge conventional thinking – and we encourage students not to be restricted to only what they think is possible.

Selection process Please pitch your idea to create a World Without Disease in a three - minute video.
10 entries will be selected as finalists and they will be invited to make a three-minute presentation at the final event held on September 27.
Two winners will be announced at the event.
Who can apply The pitch contest is open to all university students in Japan above the age of 18, regardless of nationality or the subject they are studying, and includes both graduates and undergraduates.

Winners will be invited on a two-week trip to the United States

*The timing of this tour will be decided after consultation with winners.

*If teams win, a representative of each team will be invited to the tour (total 2 people).

Agenda of the day

Takuya Saito, Ministry of Education
Yoshinori Osumi, Institute of Innovation Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Marin Minamiyama, Waseda University
Chiaki Mukai, Tokyo University of Science
Networking Lunch
Pitch Contest (3min presentation & QA x 10)
Presentation on Innovation of each university
Hideaki Tojo, University of Tokyo
Yoshikazu Honma, Tokyo University of Science
Toru Asahi, Waseda University
Announce the winner
Yoshiko Shirokizaka, Japan Science & Technology

Please watch the final contest movie here

Contest started with lectures by guests

Prior to the presentations, Mr. Takuya Saito, section manager of University-Industry Collaboration and Regional R&D Division of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology gave an opening address, followed by lectures by the judges, Mr. Yoshinori Osumi, Ms. Marin Minamiya and Ms. Chiaki Mukai. Audience including contest participants listened attentively to the lectures spoken in words weighted with experiences of remarkable achievements accomplished by each guest; fundamental scientific research which lead to a Nobel prize award, an adventurer's grand slam triumph achieved by the desire to take on challenges, and the contribution to humanity with space development technology.

Participating students listening attentively to the lectures
  • Mr. Takuya Saito
    Mr. Takuya Saito
  • Dr. Yoshinori Osumi
    Dr. Yoshinori Osumi
  • Ms. Marin Miyamiya
    Ms. Marin Miyamiya
  • Dr. Chiaki Mukai
    Dr. Chiaki Mukai

Presentations of creative ideas by 10 finalist teams which cleared rigorous preliminaries

After a break, ideas to realize “A Future Without Disease” were presented by students.
Creative ideas such as development of a new medical device, diagnostic technology utilizing epigenome, and a variety of disease prevention systems which would revolutionize the future of not only Japan but the world, were shared one after another.
Not only the audience but even the judges were at the edge of their seats listening to the enthusiastic students present their ideas practical enough to act upon immediately and filled with dreams for the future. Questions and comments from the judges after each presentation were sharp and tough but at the same time full of kindness towards the students.

Announcement of judgement results: determining factor was the strong desire for "A Future Without Disease"!

After the presentations by the 10 teams, Mr. Chris Hourigan, President of Janssen Pharmaceutical presented 2 Outstanding Performance Awards

President Hourigan delivering the judgement results
KaoIRO Project Team (four on the left), More-ing Team (two on the right)

First team, Moringa Network “More-ing” receiving the Outstanding Performance Award (A project dedicated to building a network to solve nutritional problems using a moringa plant)
“I was very nervous, but I am happy to receive the award. This idea created with the help of many people. I myself have been supported by many people so I would like to dedicate my life to making other people happy.”

Second team, “KaoIRO Project” receiving the Outstanding Performance Award (A project dedicated to formulating standards for facial recognition and mental health index using wearable device for early detection of depression)
"People who have lost family members and friends to depression participate in this project, including myself, which is why my desire to help as many people as possible is strong."

Ms. Yoshiko Shirokizawa
Ms. Yoshiko Shirokizawa
Networking during break

The contest filled with shared dreams and ideas towards building a "A Future Without Disease", a common wish of all humanity, came to an end with a closing address by Ms. Yoshiko Shirokizawa, the President of Japan Science and Technology Agency(JST). In 5 years, 10 years’ time, ideas presented in this contest may actualize and advance our society where more people could lead healthy lives. What kind of innovative ideas and presenters could we expect in the next contest?

Comments from the judges

"Each idea was interesting and the desire to want to help people was fascinating. I believe that if you have the ambition to open the way, people around you will follow. Please do not lose that ambition and open up the future." (Ms. Chiaki Mukai)

“Everyone was brilliant. As a peer, I was inspired by the vision each person had built and that that would impact people all over the world. Further deepen your research, cultivate the passion that drive you and the basis of your mission and purpose and continue to be brighter.” (Ms. Marin Minamiya)

"Each team kept to the allocated time, and their grand scale proposals were wonderful. Opinions by the judges were clearly divided. Judges are not god, and these results are not absolute. Be confident, even if your team did not make the preliminaries, and follow your paths." (Mr. Yuichi Tei)

"First, I would like to say "Congratulations" to all teams who entered this contest. There is no loser in this contest. I sincerely thank all of you for addressing the challenges to solve societal issues in your presentations. The determining factor in judgment was whether the strong will to actualize your idea was communicated or not. I look forward to where and what you will be doing in 10 years." (Mr. Mitsuru Miyata)

Winners are invited to a two weeks trip to J&J’s JLABS, an incubator network in US.

Trip to visit a premier life science incubator network

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Winners of the pitch contest will be invited on a two-week trip to the United States, during which they will visit a number of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, a network of life science incubators empowering and enabling innovators to deliver life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to people around the world.

The trip will include a variety of activities, including meetings with resident companies, laboratory tours, interviews with lab operators, and participation in networking events.

*Please note that these activities will be held in English, and no translation service will be available.

Our hope is that through the World Without Disease Pitch Contest we will inspire students to actively pursue careers in the life science industry and help to address future challenges here in Japan and around the world.