Japanese government honours RIKEN-ISIS partnership
18 Mar 2024



The longstanding international collaboration between RIKEN and ISIS has been recognised by the award of the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation to Dr Philip King.

Philip King receives Foreign Minister's Commendation from Japanese Ambassador.the UK. The award is presented in a gold frame.

​​​Dr Philip King (left) receives Foreign Minister's Commendation from Japanese Ambassador to the UK, Mr Hajime Hayashi (right).

Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Japan in the UK

​On 15 March 2024, Dr Philip King, Associate Director for Partnerships and Programmes at ISIS and former Director of the RIKEN Office at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, was presented with the Foreign Minister's Commendation by Japanese Ambassador to the UK, Mr Hajime Hayashi. This prestigious award acknowledges Dr King's significant contributions to the longstanding partnership between STFC's ​ISIS Neutron and Muon Source and Japan's largest research institution, RIKEN. It also recognises the impact of the RIKEN-ISIS partnership in advancing scientific collaboration and strengthening relations between the UK and Japan.

The partnership began in the early 1990’s with the construction of the RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility at ISIS for fundamental and applied studies involving muons (subatomic particles with an average lifetime of only 2 millionths of a second). Since then, the facility has hosted researchers from over 90 Japanese institutions and fostered collaborations with numerous institutions around the world. The facility has produced over 500 publications from 2500 days of experiments, and fostered partnerships between RIKEN and Malaysian, Indonesian and Korean institutes. The ISIS-RIKEN partnership was established through a continuous set of agreements from 1990 to 2023, when a Memorandum of Understanding for continued collaboration was signed between ISIS and the RIKEN Nishina Centre.

Ambassador Hayashi commented, "RIKEN is Japan’s largest research institute, famous for high-quality research in a diverse range of scientific fields. RIKEN encompasses a network of world-class research centres across Japan, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is one of its key partners. RIKEN and RAL signed their first international research cooperation agreement on muon science back in 1990. They have enjoyed more than 30 years of successful collaboration on a wide range of scientific research using muons, including projects looking at condensed matter and chemical physics, along with applied research into battery materials."

“Muon science studies at RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility have enabled a strong bond to be formed between ISIS and RIKEN, and between the UK and Japanese scientists,” said Dr King. “The facility has produced excellent science, innovated in muon instrumentation and enabled many young scientists to be trained. It has been a privilege to have been involved with the facility, and today’s ceremony is a reflection of the value placed on the partnership by Japan and the UK.”

Group photo showing attendees of the commendation event at the Japanese Embassy in the UK.

From left to right: Toshiyasu Ichioka, Dita Puspita Sari, Roger Eccleston, Rhiannon King, Philip King, Ambassador Hajime Hayashi, Madame Hayashi, Sean Langridge, Adrian Hillier, Isao Watanabe.​ 
​Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Japan in the UK​

The Commendation ceremony at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in London was attended by Dr Isao Watanabe, who was involved in the RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility since its creation; Dr Toshiyasu Ichioka, Director of the RIKEN European Office; Prof Roger Eccleston, ISIS Director; Prof Sean Langridge, ISIS Associate Director for Science; Dr Adrian Hillier, ISIS Muon Group Leader; Dr Dita Puspita Sari, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan, who gained her doctorate from studies using the RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility; and Philip’s wife Rhiannon King.​

Further information on the RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility.

Thirty years of partnership between ISIS and RIKEN was marked in March 2023 and through a calendar of events and posts in September 2020.

Contact: Richardson, Stephanie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)