On December 11, 2021, the 10th SCience in Okinawa: Research for Enterprise (SCORE!) was held at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), with a total of 10 teams from six high schools in Okinawa. The event was co-hosted by OIST and the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa, co-sponsored by the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education, and supported by the Okinawa Prefecture and Council for the Promotion of OIST.
SCORE! is a contest in which high school students in Okinawa Prefecture compete by combining their science and technology research with their entrepreneurial ideas and then presenting their results and proposals. The purpose of the contest is to deepen hands-on science education for high school students and to foster an interest in entrepreneurship.
Participants presenting their science and technology project with a business plan.
In her opening remarks, OIST Vice President for Communications and Public Relations Heather Young noted that the university is also celebrating its tenth anniversary and continued, " Our event is about science education and entrepreneurship. And, it is about global citizenship.” She continued with encouragement for the participants: “OIST's vision is the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of humanity. How do we tackle this? With curiosity! All of you are here today because you called on your curiosity. All of you will continue to be successful when you are curious about the world around you.”
OIST VP for Communications and PR, Heather Young, giving her opening remarks.
Each team gave a presentation on the science and technology projects they had been working on. Some of the team’s research was aimed at solving problems in their own communities based on themes from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as creating sweets using local products like acerola and Okinawan cinnamon to revitalize their communities, or developing robots to collect plastic waste from beaches. Many of the teams challenged themselves by giving their 10-minute presentation entirely in English.
After a rigorous review by a panel of judges consisting of scientists and educators, the team from the Okinawa National College of Technology received first prize. The team presented, "MOZUKUN: Labor Revolution in Mozuku Fishing with Underwater and Deep Learning.” Their project aims to address the challenges of the fishermen who farm mozuku seaweed, an important fishery product in Okinawa, through the power of technology. The team is developing a robot equipped with an AI-driven camera, suction hose, and a unique filtration system. By introducing this robot into the ocean, the team proposed that it could help fishermen reduce the number of accidents during their work, and ease the amount of hard labor. The robot could also reduce challenges of harvesting, and allow expansion of the fishing grounds.
The winning team from National Institute of Technology, Okinawa College.
Naru Yoshimi, a second-year student at the National Institute of Technology, Okinawa College, and a member of the winning team, said, "We spent four months preparing our presentation, aiming to make it enjoyable for the audience.” Mr. Yoshimi and his team members, Kodai Hata and Kaina Tamaki, stated that their future goal is “to start a business and contribute to the world” and that they were eager to visit Silicon Valley, an opportunity granted to the winning team of SCORE!
Ms. Nicole Lima Nuccelli, Consul for Public Affairs and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa, praised the high school students for their hard work and said, “I hope that this experience has let you grow as a researcher, presenter and as a person."
Ms. Nicole Lima Nucelli, Consul for Public Affairs and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa
Winning teams of the 10th SCORE!
- Winner: Naru Yoshimi, Kodai Hata, and Kaina Tamai from National Institute of Technology, Okinawa College - "MOZUKUN: Labor revolution in mozuku fishing with underwater and deep learning.”
- Second prize: Kiyone Oota, Ruri Maeda, and Yukine Okamoto from Okinawa Prefectural Hokubu Agricultural High School - “Development of new bread using wheat from the prefecture. -- Aiming to increase consumption of wheat produced in the prefecture”
- Third prize: Hinata Sekiguchi, Nanami Inamine, and Kendai Miyagi from Okinawa Prefectural Hokubu Agricultural High School - “Development of new acerola products using yet-under-utilized resources”
The panel of judges
- Akira Ishihara, Chairman, Okinawa High School Science Education Research Council / Principal,Okinawa prefectural NAHA senior high school
- Yukihiro Kinjo, Postdoctoral Scholar, Evolutionary Genomics Unit, OIST
- Nicole Lima Nucelli, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General, Naha
- Youhei Morita, Senior Manager for Academic Relations, Conference and Workshop Section, OIST
- Sayaka Toyokawa, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Economics, Okinawa University
To see more photos of the 10th SCORE! event, please visit OIST Flickr.