Prof. Dr. Bela Gipp leads the Data and Knowledge Engineering group at the University of Wuppertal in Germany. He was a DAAD-NII postdoctoral fellow from Feb. 2014 until End of Jan. 2015.
After completing the first portion of my postdoc at UC Berkeley, I decided to apply via the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the NII postdoctoral fellowship program. This was one of the best decisions I could have made, since my 1-year research stay at NII was very beneficial for my professional development, while also being a memorable personal experience.
Looking back, I highly recommend future postdocs to apply for the NII fellowship program. If at all possible, consider spending at least one year, or the full duration of two years at NII. During my time at NII, I could concentrate 100% of my time on conducting research together with a small team and with members of Prof. Akiko Aizawa's research lab. I really enjoyed this opportunity to fully focus on my research ideas and projects during my postdoc phase without having to juggle between other responsibilities, teaching, or administrative tasks, as is typically the case when completing a postdoc at a University.
Being able to live and work in Tokyo, one of the most metropolitain and exciting cities in the world, was also an unforgettable experience. Each weekend, I could explore a different unique neighborhood in Tokyo, relax in one of the many beautiful parks, or visit historical shrines and try new Japanese food! While at NII, I found it easy to make connections with the many international researchers there. So even if you don't speak any Japanese, don't worry, because all researchers I met at NII also spoke English. The research ideas and the network of international researchers and collaborations that I obtained while at NII still positively influence my research today.
For more information about Bela Gipp's group, visit his website.