News Releases 2006

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July 21, 2006


Honda Foundation (Founder: Soichiro Honda and Benjiro Honda, President: Hiromori Kawashima) is pleased to announce we will confer the Honda Prize for the year 2006 on a pioneer in innovation research, Dr. Richard R. Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor Emeritus of International and Public Affairs, Business and Law at Columbia University, U.S.A.. Dr. Nelson will be the 27th laureate of the prize, and is currently responsible for Center for Science Technology and Global Development of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Dr. Nelson has constantly paid deep attention to technological and institutional history with profound concerns for the role of technology in society. He is a pioneer in the field of economics of innovation - an academic research to study industrial and economic growth and deterioration in their inextricable relation to innovations in technology and social institutions.

The publication of his hallmark, An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (Nelson & Winter, 1982), has spawned a multitude of research programs. It is considered by many one of the most seminal academic contributions that has helped economic and societal improvements in developing as well as developed parts of the world.

Honda Foundation has long advocated the concept of eco-technology as a guiding principle for the advancement of innovations. This advocacy has roots in the philosophy of our founder Soichiro Honda who always called for a wide range of innovations, not only technically as an engineer but operationally as a socially-responsible corporate leader.

It is in this broader context of innovation that Dr. Nelson's achievements perfectly match the spirit of eco-technology. We thus recognize they undoubtedly deserve the award of Honda Prize.

The 27th award ceremony for the Honda Prize will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on the 17th of November 2006, commemorating the 100th birthday of late Soichiro Honda. In addition to the certificate and prize medal, Dr. Nelson will receive an extra prize of 10 million yen.

Innovation Research:
The term innovation carries not only technological implications, but any associated changes in social systems and practices - ranging from improvements in product development, production, and distribution and creation of new markets, to improvements in working conditions and business processes, and to legal and institutional reforms.

A coined term composed of ecology and technology; and ecology here means nature contains and underpins the whole realm of human civilization. Since 1979 Honda Foundation has advocated it as a guiding concept for future society to make human technological advances increasingly compatible with the earth environment.

Richard R. Nelson

Curriculum Vita of Dr Richard R. Nelson

1952 B.A., Oberlin College
1956 Ph.D., Yale University
1957 Assistant Professor, Oberlin College
Economist, the RAND Corporation
1960-1961 Associate Professor, Carnegie Institute of Technology
1961-1963 Staff Senior Member, Council of Economic Advisors
1968-1986 Professor of Economics, Yale University
1980-1986 Director, Institute for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University
1986-2005 Professor, Columbia University
2005-Present Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

Dr. Nelson's research has been largely on the process of long run economic change, with particular emphasis on technological advance and on the evolution of economic institutions. His recent work has focused on the varied roles of government in modern mixed economies.