Fellow's Comments


Professor Roberto Cipolla

Department of Engineering
University of Cambridge
Toshiba Fellow 1991

"I spent my Fellowship year at Toshiba's R&D Centre in Kawasaki near Tokyo where I carried out research into Computer Vision. This was a truly unique and highly rewarding opportunity. Scientifically it allowed me to continue my research in a one of the world's leading industrial laboratories with an emphasis on potential industrial and commercial applications. Socially it allowed me to live in a vibrant and cosmopolitan city whilst exploring a new culture and fascinating language."



Toshiba Fellow 2013
Dr. Thomas Hone

What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply? 

Prior to the Toshiba Fellowship I was a postdoctoral researcher at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. My research primarily focused on the LINC transmitter architecture for high power applications such as television broadcasting and wireless communications. Two years prior, during my PhD, I had the opportunity to work as an intern at Toshiba RDC in Japan. There I met Alex, David and Clement who introduced me to the Toshiba Fellowship. Having truly enjoyed my time as an intern in Japan, I thought to myself why not apply for the Fellowship. When I heard that I was selected to be the Fellow for 2013, I was over the moon!

What research did you do at Toshiba? 

As a researcher at RWTH Aachen I worked on the LINC transmitter. This work aligned with Toshiba’s needs. The application for the transmitter is television broadcasting in the future. During my time at Toshiba I was able to build two transmitter prototypes, both of which were successful. The prototypes confirmed the feasibility of a new design methodology for the power combiner and output matching network that allowed Toshiba to achieve its design targets.

What did you like about working for Toshiba in Japan? 

Having lived and worked in five different countries, I can honestly say that there is no country quite like Japan. Although, particularly in the West, there is a negative image of long working hours in Japan, I embraced this lifestyle not because of cultural pressure but because I enjoyed my time at work. I should add here that working longer hours was my own lifestyle choice and not necessarily one that is expected of you as a Fellow. The work environment, my work goals, my colleagues and my boss made me feel at home which in turn motivated me to try my best while at work to the point that time just disappeared each day.

What did you enjoy outside work in Japan? 

I was able to improve my knowledge of the Japanese language and culture by going to Japanese classes twice a week. This allowed me to try out my new vocabulary on poor unsuspecting shop keepers, barbers and convention organisers! It feels good when you are able to discuss the British Royal Family (in Japanese!) while getting your hair cut, although I have to admit it is slightly weird. I enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of Japanese otaku culture by visiting many conventions but at the same time I also appreciated traditional Japanese cultural events and activities. My most favourite activities were planting rice in Saitama prefecture and participating in the mamachari bicycle race on Mount Fuji Speedway... in January...

What have you been doing since finishing your Toshiba Fellowship? 

After completing the fellowship I started my employment at Cardiff University as a lecturer in Communication Systems. I collaborate together with National Instruments, an American company specialising in radio frequency equipment, with a view to deliver hardware-in-the-loop teaching materials as part of the curriculum at Cardiff University. I have also visited Japan twice since my departure, as after all, Japan is an amazing country worth visiting multiple times!



Toshiba Fellow 2012

Dr. Clement Creusot

What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply? 

I received my PhD in Computer Science from the University of York. My PhD work was on 3D face analysis for unconstrained real-world applications including automatic surveillance, human-machine interactions and surgery planning. http://clementcreusot.com/
I first heard of the Toshiba Fellowship Programme through the notoriety of its past fellows in my research area (Computer Vision), all of them very successful. The idea of working in Japan was really appealing to me so I decided to join the adventure. 

What research did you do at Toshiba?

My research at Toshiba has been focused on problems related to pedestrian tracking in very dense crowds. One main aspect of the research was to find ways to segment heavily occluded pedestrians for long periods of time. Another part of the project investigated the use of 3D crowd simulations to generate ground-truth data for training and testing purposes.

What did you like about working for Toshiba in Japan?

Working at Toshiba as a Fellow is a real privilege. While the subjects are selected to meet the strategy of the lab, the research freedom to test new ideas within this scope is large.

What did you enjoy outside work in Japan?

Japan is a great place to live. The Japanese cuisine is varied and elegant, the city buzzing yet safe and calm, the scenery beautiful. This Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to discover Japan and its customs while providing a very interesting work environment to develop your career further.

What have you been doing since finishing your Toshiba Fellowship?

At the end of my fellowship at Toshiba, I was recruited by IBM Research Tokyo as a guest researcher. There, I joined the Cognitive Computing group to work on machine learning and computer vision projects. In particular, I investigated the use of Deep Learning techniques for visual anomaly detection. My work at IBM ranged from very fundamental research to the prototyping of real world solutions in collaboration with industrial partners.



Toshiba Fellow 2011
Dr. Alexander Dixon

What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply? 

During my PhD I was working on Quantum Encryption (a unique concept using quantum physics to keep information perfectly secret and secure) at Cambridge University, and also in collaboration with Toshiba's Cambridge Research Laboratory. I applied because I thought it was a unique chance to experience a completely different country and research environment.

What research did you do at Toshiba?

At Toshiba I continued to work on Quantum Cryptography, but was able to explore and work on different aspects compared to my previous work. I was also able to actually start progressing to using my work outside the lab in a real world environment, which was an exciting step.

What did you like about working for Toshiba in Japan?

By seeing and working on my topic from a different perspective I was able to gain a more complete view of the overall subject and its possibilities. Toshiba has also been a great place to learn about different styles and approaches to research, and see a hugely diverse spectrum of topics - many of which have interesting connections

What did you enjoy outside work in Japan?

I think it would be all but impossible to accurately sum up the many varied experiences that living in Japan can provide. From night snowboarding on Olympic runs in Hokkaido, to surfing and island hopping tropical beaches in Okinawa and drinking with Sumo wrestlers in between, I think it's fair to say everyone's experience here will be unique.

What have you been doing since finishing your Toshiba Fellowship?

Exceptionally, I was lucky enough to have my Fellowship extended for a second year, so I'm currently still working here at Toshiba on developing Quantum Encryption towards a real, usable technology.



Toshiba Fellow 2011

Dr. David Halls

What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply? 

Prior to the Toshiba Fellowship I studied at Bristol University where I attained an MEng in Electronics and Communications Engineering, and a PhD in Wireless Communications. My PhD work was on LTE and WiMAX, including research on multi-antenna techniques, interference mitigation, and optimisation of large-scale networks. I was inspired to apply for the Toshiba Fellowship when I met one of the previous fellows whilst at a conference in Japan. This desire was reaffirmed when I saw a presentation about the Toshiba Fellowship at my University.

What research did you do at Toshiba?

During my time in Japan I worked on development of Wireless Relay Stations, also known as repeaters. The focus was on developing an efficient echo cancellation scheme for multi-antenna repeaters. I worked on the whole life-cycle of R&D from literature review, theoretical development and simulation through to prototype development with Toshiba’s Social Infrastructure Systems Company. I completed both patents and publications.

What did you like about working for Toshiba in Japan?

Living in Japan was absolutely fantastic and it was difficult to leave. Although not everything was plane sailing, I was made to feel incredibly welcome at Toshiba and enjoyed every minute of it. I particularly enjoyed working in such a large and varied R&D centre and having the opportunity to work with Toshiba’s product divisions too.

What did you enjoy outside work in Japan?

Outside of work I joined the office’s indoor-football, tennis and baseball teams and was a spectator at various Toshiba sporting events. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the Japanese language, which was particularly useful during my travels around Japan, including climbing Mount Fuji and touring the northern island of Hokkaido and the southern island of Kyushu.

What have you been doing since finishing your Toshiba Fellowship?

Since finishing the Toshiba Fellowship, I have joined Toshiba Telecommunications Research Laboratory in Bristol. I am currently working on a large EU funded project with a number of European partners as well as continuing to collaborate with the R&D centre in Japan.



Toshiba Fellow 2010 
Dr. Ben Smyth

What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply? 

Before joining Toshiba, my doctoral research -- at the University of Birmingham -- focused on: specifying & analysing properties of cryptographic protocols in the applied pi calculus, and building upon ProVerif to deliver new procedures for automated analysis. During the final year of my study, I received an email from Professor Achim Jung (Head of Computer Science, University of Birmingham) which advertised the opportunity to "join one of Toshiba's leading-edge R&D laboratories in Japan"; I was hooked by the mention of "Japan" and, as I read on, dreaming about days under the rising sun, I discovered that applicants were sought in my research area. Needless to say, I promptly applied!

What research did you do at Toshiba?

The topic of the Fellowship was "Security Research Topics" and I was a member of the "Computer Architecture & Security Systems Laboratory" (CSL) at Toshiba’s R&D Centre. 

What did you like about working for Toshiba in Japan?

Fellowship offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse oneself into Japanese life and, for me, that experience was phenomenal! I strongly recommend that you apply.

What did you enjoy outside work in Japan?

I wake up to the most rewarding aspect of the Fellowship programme every morning: Anne Konishi, President of Canning Professional and my partner.

What have you been doing since finishing your Toshiba Fellowship?

Since leaving Japan, I have joined the ProSecCo team at INRIA Paris, France. My research follows a similar theme to my doctoral thesis -- namely, specifying & analysing properties of cryptographic protocols, and developing procedures for automated analysis -- with a greater emphasis on computational, rather than symbolic, security; this shift can be partly attributed to the knowledge I learnt at Toshiba.

Ben is happy to discuss his experience with future applicants and can be contacted by email www@bensmyth.com



Toshiba Fellow 2009 
Dr. Devin Giddings

What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply? 

Before my Toshiba Fellowship I did a Physics PhD at Nottingham University, studying spintronics in magnetic semiconductor nanostructures. During my studies I had the opportunity to visit Japan twice. I found the country fascinating; the Toshiba Fellowship offered the opportunity to live and work in Japan so I did not hesitate to apply. An important feature of the Toshiba Fellowship is that one of the research themes they were interested in was both directly relevant to my doctoral research and provided the opportunity to learn new techniques.

What research did you do at Toshiba?

My research at Toshiba had two main themes, atom probe tomography of nano-structured materials and spintronic sensors. This work yielded a publication and several patents.

What did you like about working for Toshiba in Japan?

My colleagues were wonderful and a pleasure to work with. They were very welcoming, ready to help and make sure I settled in. One thing I really appreciated was that my immediate research group conducted our weekly meetings in English so I was able to understand and contribute to the discussion. I think it must have made a lot of extra work for them to not work in their native tongue. Each year Toshiba’s R&D Centre would put on an exhibit where research groups could display their work to their colleagues and the upper management. It was exciting to see cutting edge projects and technologies under development which may shape our lives in the future. 

What did you enjoy outside work in Japan?

Tokyo is an amazing city and was very easy to reach by train from the Toshiba dormitory where I was living. There are always things going on there. However, the best part of Japan is outside the cities. During my free time, I travelled all over the country, going as far north as Hokkaido, to see the annual ice festival, and as far south as Okinawa, for some sun, surf & beaches. I took up a new hobby while I was in Japan: paragliding. At the weekend the paragliding club would drive to some mountains and jump off them. Often the training was done on the slopes of Mount Fuji. I also love Japanese cuisine. Eating out was always a pleasure, be it a three Michelin star restaurant or a three seat ramen shop hidden under some railway tracks.

What have you been doing since finishing your Toshiba Fellowship?

After finishing my Toshiba Fellowship I moved to Eindhoven University to work on a project to establish an atom probe facility in the Netherlands. After the grant application was successfully awarded I moved to the CAMECA Atom Probe Technology Center in Madison, WI, USA. This is where the atom probe instruments are designed and manufactured. I am working in the applications team, developing techniques to allow the use of atom probe microscopy for new categories of materials. It is clear that taking part in the Fellowship programme has provided opportunities for me that have greatly influenced my career path.