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Guidelines for JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Short- and long-term fellowships for postdoctoral researchers are available as a part of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) fellowship opportunities through the NIH. The fellowships promote international cooperation in scientific research and contribute to advancement of research in the subject field.

Short-term Postdoctoral Fellowships

Short-term JSPS postdoctoral fellowships provide opportunities to young and excellent North American and European predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers to conduct, under the guidance of their hosts, cooperative research with leading research groups in universities and other Japanese institutions. The program aims to help such researchers advance their own research while expanding opportunities for them to come to Japan, thus advancing scientific exchange between Japan and participating countries.

Eligibility

Short-term postdoctoral fellowship candidates must:

  1. Possess either the nationality or citizenship of the nominating country or be a permanent resident of that country. Also eligible are persons who have earned a master’s or higher degree and continuously thereafter been engaged in research for a period of at least three years at a university or research institution in an eligible country.
  2. Hold a doctorate degree obtained from outside Japan when the Fellowship goes into effect, which must have been received within six years prior to the date the fellowship goes into effect (i.e., awarded on or after April 2, 2014), or be enrolled in a doctoral course and be scheduled to receive a Ph.D. within two years from the starting date of the Fellowship.
  3. Have arranged in advance a research plan with his/her Japanese host.
  • Those who have previously been awarded a fellowship under the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers - Standard (P), Short-term (PE), and Pathways to University Positions in Japan (PU) - are not eligible.
  • Short-term JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for North American and European Researchers are only awarded once per researcher.
  • Persons of Japanese nationality are not eligible to apply, nor are those of dual nationality if one is Japanese.
  • Persons who have received a Ph.D. from a Japanese university or who are expected to receive one are not eligible to apply.
  • Researchers doing research at a Japanese research institution at the time of application are not eligible.
  • Those who have resident cards with mailing addresses in Japan at the time of application are not eligible.

Period

From 1 to 12 months (full months)

Starting Dates

Fellows must start their fellowships in Japan between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Long-term Postdoctoral Fellowships

Long-term JSPS postdoctoral fellowships provide opportunities for young and excellent postdoctoral researchers from other countries to conduct, under the guidance of their hosts, cooperative research with leading research groups in universities and other Japanese institutions. The program allows such researchers to advance their own research while contributing to the progress of research in Japan and the counterpart countries.

Eligibility

Long-term postdoctoral fellowship candidates must:

  • Possess either the nationality or citizenship of the nominating country or be a permanent resident of that country.
  • Hold a doctorate degree when the Fellowship goes into effect, which must have been received within six years prior to the fellowship goes into effect (i.e. awarded on or after April 2, 2014), or be scheduled to receive a doctorate degree before the Fellowship goes into effect.
  • Have arranged in advance a research plan with his/her Japanese host.

Those who have previously been awarded a fellowship under the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers (excluding short-term Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for North American and European Researchers and the Summer Program) are not eligible.

Period

From 12 to 24 months (full months)

Starting Dates

Fellows must start their fellowships in Japan between April 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020.

Fields of Research

All fields of the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences are included under this program. For the long-term (Standard) fellowship, the NIH prioritizes research in the field of medicine and natural sciences.

Terms of Award

  1. A round-trip air ticket (based on JSPS regulations).
  2. A monthly maintenance allowance of 362,000 yen for fellows with a Ph.D. at the start of tenure; 200,000 yen for fellows without a Ph.D. at the start of tenure.
  3. A settling-in allowance of 200,000 yen (only for Fellows with three or more months of tenure).
  4. Overseas travel accident and sickness insurance coverage.
  • The amounts of the awards indicated above are subject to change.
  • No air ticket or settling-in allowance will be provided if the Fellow resides in Japan before the fellowships starts, or has resident status before or after the date the certificate of award is issued.
  • For the long-term fellowship, a research-support allowance (grant-in-aid for scientific research) is available to cover cooperative research-related expenses. Application is made by the host researcher.

Host Researchers and Host Institutions in Japan

  • Host researchers in Japan must be employed full-time or classified as being employed full-time (excluding Jokyo, assistant professors, and Joshu, research assistants) at a university or research institution eligible to apply to MEXT for funding under the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Program (Kakenhi) and approved by JSPS as an appropriate institution for hosting young overseas researchers. However, there are cases when a researcher not employed in a full-time position may be eligible. Such persons must be eligible to apply for a KAKENHI grant-in-aid and his/her affiliated institution must judge them able to implement the project and to provide an appropriate research environment (e.g., laboratory, equipment, personnel) for it.
  • Candidates must have arranged in advance a research plan for their stay in Japan with their prospective host researcher.

Application Procedures

Applications for this program must be submitted to JSPS through an overseas nominating authority. Application process is as follows:

  1. Contact is made between an overseas scientist who wishes to conduct cooperative research in Japan and his/her prospective host.
  2. Contact Mili Ferreira at mili.ferreira@nih.gov to request an application form.
  3. The overseas scientist submits an application to a nominating authority.
  4. Nominating authority conducts scientific evaluation to select the candidates and nominates them to JSPS.
  5. Approximately three months after JSPS receiving an application from nominating authorities, JSPS will send out a notice of selection decision to both the candidate and submitting nominating authority.
  • JSPS does not find or introduce host researchers.
  • Application deadlines and selection procedures differ by each nominating authority.
  • When setting the starting date of fellowships, adequate time should be allowed for application processing: e.g., application screening by the nominating authority (depending on authorities) and selection decision-making by JSPS (app. three months).
  • Apart from receiving applications through foreign nominating authorities, JSPS also accepts applications from Japanese researchers who agree to host a foreign researcher (open recruitment). For details on this application channel, please see JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for Foreign Researchers.

Materials to be Submitted

  1. Application form (research data) written by each candidate (Format 2-Postdoc).
  2. A letter of acceptance/invitation from the candidate's prospective host researcher in Japan, stating that he/she accepts the candidate at his/her institution during the period of the fellowship tenure.
  3. A letter of reference/recommendation from the candidate's current or previous doctoral supervisor (not from his/her prospective host researcher in Japan).
  4. A copy of the candidate's Ph.D. degree diploma or the original Ph.D. certificate. If the degree has not yet been awarded, a letter is required from the candidate's institution stating the date (month/day/year) that he/she will officially receive the degree. In that case, the candidate should submit to JSPS an original degree certificate or copy of the diploma promptly before starting his/her fellowship. The diploma or certificate should be signed or stamped with an official seal.
  5. Supplementary documents (if necessary).
  • The application form can be submitted electronically in PDF format. The application and letters must be signed documents.
  • All documents must be in either English or Japanese. When the original document is in another language, please be sure to attach an English translation (which does not to need be an official translation, but may be done by the host or candidate).
  • With regard to section 13. Research Theme in Japan in the application form, the entry must be within 100 letters including spaces and symbols.
  • For candidates who are not scheduled to receive a doctoral degree by the time the fellowship starts, one of the following documents may be submitted in lieu of a document from the university stating the date the Ph.D. will be awarded.
    • Certificate of doctoral course enrolment (showing the Fellow’s enrolment in at least the final two years of the doctoral course as of the time the fellowship starts.
    • A document written and signed by the Fellow’s academic advisor stating that s/he is scheduled to receive a Ph.D. degree within two years, must include month/day/year. (If the advisor writes a letter of recommendation for the Fellow, this content may be included in it.)

Notice

  1. False information etc., in the application form
    Should JSPS determine any information in an application to be falsified, plagiarized or otherwise flawed, the application will be rejected or, if already awarded, the fellowship withdrawn.
  2. Response to acts of research misconduct and funding misuse
    “Measures Against Misconduct in Research Activities and Misuse (etc.) of Research Funds” (Rule #19, Adopted by the JSPS on 6 December 2006) stipulate actions to be taken by JSPS in response to research misconduct and funding misuse and measures to be taken by organizations within research institutions in executing their responsibility to manage and ensure the integrity of research funds. When established that specific acts of research misconduct and/or misuse of research funds have been committed, actions stipulated in this Rule will be taken.
  3. Establishing a system for implementing the “Guidelines for Responding to Research Misconduct”
    When making proposals to JSPS and conducting research activities, research institutions are to follow the “Guidelines for Responding to Misconduct in Research” (Adopted by the MEXT on 26 August 2014).” If the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) judges via the results of an inspection that a research institution’s system is inadequate or defective, it or an independent administrative institution under the jurisdiction of MEXT may cut or reduce the research institution’s indirect budget allocation of competitive funding.
  4. Research ethics education coursework
    To promote the proper conduct of research activities and prevent misconduct in advance, it is first necessary to raise the level of researcher ethics within research institutions. When deemed appropriate, therefore, host institution (host researcher’s institution) should establish educational courses for candidates (invited overseas researchers) to take in research ethics.

    (References) Learning materials on avoiding misconduct in research activities
    1. For the Sound Development of Science — The Attitude of a Conscientious Scientist — by Editing Committee of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-kousei/ethics.html
    2. e-Learning Course on Research Ethics (eL CoRE) https://elcore.jsps.go.jp/top.aspx
    3. APRIN e-learning program (eAPRIN)
    4. Research ethics courses conducted by Institutions based on the “Guidelines for Responding to Misconduct in Research” (Adopted by the MEXT on 26 August 2014)
  5. Handling of personal information
    With regard to personal information contained in application materials, it shall be strictly controlled in accordance with the “Law to Protect Personal Information Held by Independent Administrative Institutions” and JSPS’s own regulations for protecting personal information. JSPS will use such information exclusively for implementing its programs. (This may involve the provision of personal information to external companies commissioned to electronically process and manage program-related data.) If selected for a fellowship, candidates (invited overseas researchers) should note that their name, nationality, title and affiliated organization, host institution, host researcher’s name and title may be given public access.

    For researchers located within the European Economic Area which embodies the EU, their agreement is to be obtained to follow the above-stated “handing of personal information” in line with the “General Data Protection Regulation.”
  6. Public disclosure of research theme and other information
    If selected, the Fellow’s research theme and fellowship tenure will be given public access. In the case of Invitational Fellowships, the Research Report prepared and submitted after the end of the Fellow’s tenure will be given public access.
  7. Research conducted for a military purpose
    JSPS does not support any research project related to military affairs.
  8. The Security Trade Control
    Much research on cutting-edge technology is being conducted in Japan’s research institutions. Along with Japan’s advancing internationalization, there has been an increase in the number of foreign students and overseas researchers residing in Japan. This has increased the risk of advanced technologies and research materials and equipment leaking out and for them to be used in the development and production of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Research institutions are to take systematic measure to keep research results and products that can be diverted to military use out of the hands of WMD developers, terrorist groups, and other persons whose activities are suspect.

    In Japan, export controls (*) are carried out under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (Act No. 228 of 1949) (hereinafter referred to as “Foreign Exchange Law”). Therefore, in principle, in order to export (provide) cargo and technology regulated by the Foreign Exchange Law, it is necessary to obtain permission of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.

    Starting with the Foreign Exchange Law, candidates (invited overseas researchers) must follow all of Japan’s pertinent laws and ordinances, guidelines, and directives. If research is conducted in violation of these laws and ordinances, measures and penalties prescribed in them may be enforced along with the termination of the candidates (invited overseas researchers) research funding or his/her scheduled allocation of research funding.

    (*) Export controls
    Japan's Security Export Control System established on the basis of international agreements mainly consists of (1) “List rules” which require permission of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in principle when exporting cargo or providing technology that carry specifications and/or functions higher than certain levels, such as carbon fiber and numerically controlled machine tool etc., and (2) “Catch-all regulation” which requires permission of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry when exporting cargo or providing technology that are not subject to regulation under the List rules but do fall under certain regulatory requirements (application requirements, consumer requirements and/or informed requirements).

    Not only export of cargo but also provision of technology will be subject to the regulation by the Foreign Exchange Law. When providing a “List rules” technology to nonresidents or providing it in a foreign country, prior permission for provision is required. ”Provision of technology” includes not only providing technical information such as design drawings, specifications, manuals, samples, and prototypes via storage media such as paper, mail, CD, USB memory, but also providing work knowledge and technical assistance at seminars through technical instruction, skill training etc. Researchers should be aware that there may be case in which technologies subject to regulation by the Foreign Exchange Law are involved when mentoring foreign students and/or joint research activities with oversea groups.
  9. Terms of Award
    The amounts of the Awards are subject to change for budgetary reasons. Candidates (invited overseas researchers) should check the award letter issued at the time of their selection. Candidates (invited overseas researchers), host researchers and host institutions should check the “Program Guidelines” enclosed with the award letter for their obligations under the program, procedures to be carried out, and rules to be followed (e.g. on the conditions for taking a temporary leave of absence, on using the Research Support Allowance). As past Program Guidelines are given public access, please refer them.
    Postdoctoral Fellowships: https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-fellow/guideline_03.html
  10. FAQ
    FAQ on this program are provided on the following websites. Please refer to them if there is something unclear to you with regard to making an application or procedures to follow after you are selected.
    Postdoctoral Fellowships: https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-fellow/faq.html

Handling of Personal Information

With regard to personal information contained in application materials, it shall be strictly controlled in accordance with laws to protect personal information held by administrative institutions and JSPS's rules for safeguarding personal information. Personal information is to be used solely for implementing the JSPS programs, including the provision of such information to private companies commissioned to conduct data processing. In such cases, JSPS will observe all pertinent laws and regulations.

If selected for a fellowship, fellows should note that their name, nationality, affiliated research institution, research theme, Japanese host institution, name/title of their host researcher, and research reports may be given public access. Fellows will also be asked to participate in surveys aimed at improving JSPS programs.

Notes

  • The same person may not simultaneously be a candidate for both this postdoctoral fellowship and a JSPS Invitation Fellowship for Research in Japan.
  • Should JSPS determine any information in an application to be falsified, plagiarized or otherwise flawed, the application will be rejected or, if already awarded, the fellowship withdrawn.
  • JSPS does not support any research related to military affairs.
  • The Security Trade Control: When accepting Fellows, the host institution should perform necessary procedures concerning the security trade control in accordance with the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Control Trade Law (Act No. 228 of December 1, 1949), related government regulations and institutional rules.

Obligation of the Fellow and Host Researcher (Including Measures Against Misconduct and Misuse of Funds)

The host researchers, fellows and host institutions should bear the following ten points in mind when applying for the program, and should observe them if selected for a fellowship. After selection, they will be expected to observe the regulations and procedures stipulated in the Program Guidelines for the JSPS International Fellowship Program. If either the fellow or host researcher should fail to do so, the fellowship may be withdrawn, allowances (including airfares) stopped, and already-paid allowances (including research grants) reclaimed.

  1. So as to allow the smooth progress of the fellow’s research in Japan, before submitting an application, the host researcher shall fully inform the candidate of conditions at the host laboratory, including his/her status under the fellowship, and will ascertain the candidate’s acknowledgement to accept those conditions.
  2. The host researcher will, in cooperation with the administration office of the host institution, provide a suitable arrangement for the fellow to pursue his/her joint research and other research activities. The host will also assist the fellow, when needed, with immigration processing (including applying for a “certificate of eligibility”), securing domicile and other matters related to his/her stay in Japan.
  3. During fellowship tenures, the host researcher is advised not to commit such acts of discrimination or abuse with regard to his/her fellow, and should be particularly careful of what s/he says or does cannot be interpreted as committing such acts.
  4. During their tenures, fellows shall not, either in or outside the host institution, infringe in any way on the human rights of others, including racial or gender discrimination or other forms of abuse.
  5. As a rule, fellows shall stay in Japan continuously during the tenure of their fellowships and concentrate on their research at the host institution. Fellow may not engage in other work, neither paid nor unpaid, during their tenures. Postdoctoral fellows may, however, suspend their fellowships for the purpose of childbearing or infant nursing. Fellows may not receive any remuneration for their research activities carried out under the JSPS Fellowship Program for Research in Japan.
  6. The host researchers and fellows shall follow the rules established by the host institution and JSPS prohibiting acts of research misconduct, e.g., fabricating or falsifying research results.
  7. The fellow and host researcher must submit a research report using separately prescribed format.
  8. When presenting or publishing the content or results of research conducted under the fellowship, the JSPS fellowship should be acknowledged.
  9. The host institution shall inform both the host researcher and the fellow of the rules that it and JSPS have established to prevent research misconduct and misuse of research funds and of the penalties for violations.
  10. The host institution shall take first responsibility for the fellow’s actions, so must be proactive in preventing any discrimination, misconduct or misuse on the part of the fellow during his/her tenure. If any such problems should occur, the host institution will endeavor to resolve them.

Other Relevant Issues

Cooperation in carrying out site surveys and questionnaires

Site surveys are carried out on host research institutions for the purpose of verifying the program’s implementation system and the management, execution and auditing of program funding. Host researchers and Fellows are asked to cooperate in these surveys. Also, questionnaires are carried out for the purpose of improving JSPS programs. Host researchers, Fellows and host institutions will be asked to fill out these questionnaires.

Promotion of “Open Access” to the research papers supported by JSPS International Fellowships for Research in Japan

JSPS endorses general policy of promotion of open access of publications of research results funded by public grants including KAKENHI. Note that open access is not mandatory if there are justifiable reasons for deferral such as copyright-related issues, or insufficient repository infrastructure at the research institution. The open access implementation policy of JSPS is given on the following webpage: https://www.jsps.go.jp/data/Open_access.pdf.

[Reference 1: What is “Open Access”]
Open access refers to the basic idea that research papers published in peer-reviewed journals should be made freely accessible by anyone.

[Reference 2: Different Routes to Open Access]
There are 3 main ways of open access implementation:

  1. A way to make open the access to the article which is published in the conventional subscription fee type academic journal after a certain period (Embargo) (* 1) (for example 6 months later) by opening the final manuscript to an Institutional Repository (* 2) established by the research institution to which the author belongs, or by opening the final manuscript to the website etc. established by the researchers (selfarchiving)(* 3).
    1. Embargo
      The predetermined period from the time of publication of an article in an academic journal to the time of release so that it can be posted on an online open access archiving system (repository).
    2. Institutional Repository
      An online archiving system created by university or research institution for storage and dissemination of the intellectual products. Institutional repositories play important roles in the reform of academic information distribution by enabling the researchers register their own articles, such as the transmission of research and education achievements of the research institution, PR for both the research institution and the researcher, guaranteeing the accountability of research and education activities towards society, and the long-term conservation of intellectual products.
    3. Self-archiving
      “Self-archiving” refers to online posting of articles published in academic journals, dissertations, or data by those other than the publisher, (the researcher or research institution) generally on their institutional repositories.
  2. A way to make the article open access by posting the article on the Web established by the research community or public institution.
  3. A way to make the article open access immediately by paying the publication fee (APC: Article Processing Charge) by the author of the article.

Registration of the Researcher Information in Researchmap

“Researchmap” (formerly “Read&Research map” http://researchmap.jp/) is, as a general guide to Japanese researchers, Japan’s largest researcher information database. Registered information on research results can be openly disseminated over the Internet. As research map is linked to e-Rad and many university faculty databases, it allows registered information to be accessed by other systems. Furthermore, the Japanese Government has planned to utilize further the research map, please register researcher information in research map.

Updated November 14, 2019