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Visit of JSPS London delegation to UCC.

26 Jan 2012

Visit of JSPS London delegation to UCC.

The first-ever visit to Ireland on Thursday 26th January 2012 of a full delegation from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) London headquarters attracted an appreciative audience to the Windle Building at UCC.

If you think the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science promotes only the ‘material’ sciences, think again. The JSPS is Japan’s Research Funding agency and it covers most fields of scholarly study. In Ireland, JSPS’s remit would include that of both IRCHSS and IRCSET.

JSPS is actively seeking applications from scholars and researchers at all levels to visit Japan and connect with Japanese researchers. The research does not have to be about Japan; it can address any significant topic. Nor do applicants need to speak Japanese; Japanese higher education institutions have been producing scholars fluent in English for more than a century and Japanese universities are world-class and with worldwide academic interests.

As a source of potential research funding, the headline figures are impressive: JSPS has a budget of €2.3 billion and annually supports 59,000 projects, including 6000 foreign researchers coming to Japan and 8,500 Japanese scholars going abroad. JSPS grant-aids 500 bilateral research projects and 90 research ‘hubs’. The application success rate is ca. 25%.

After welcome remarks from UCC’s Research Office and from JSPS London Director Professor Kozo HIRAMATSU, the meeting got down to business with informative presentations on what JSPS is and how its fellowship programmes work, followed by a Q&A session. Prof. Yrjo Roos (School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at UCC) spoke of his own stimulating visit to Japan as a JSPS Fellow, and the session concluded with more Qs&As. We learned that:

The 4 priorities of JSPS are:

  • Funding research initiatives
  • Promoting university reform
  • Advancing international collaborations


JSPS works through programmes aimed at institutions and individuals, ranging from postgrads to mid-career academics and eminent scholars and covering short-term or long-term visits to Japan. Programmes include:

  • The ‘Core-to-Core’ Program (project collaboration between university depts./institutes) 

And for individuals or teams:

  • Young Researcher Overseas Visits Program
  • Joint Research Projects
  • Joint Research Seminars
  • Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Invitation Fellowships
  • Scientist Exchanges
  • Symposia

Information on JSPS research priorities and themes and details of the various funding schemes can be found in the attached pdfs of presentations by Ms. Polly Watson, International Programme Coordinator, JSPS London on ‘JSPS – Japan’s Research Funding Agency’ and by Mr. Yuta MATSUO, International Programme Associate, JSPS London on ‘JSPS Fellowship Programmes’ and another by London Deputy Director Mr Tomo SAITO with an overview of JSPS.

Polly Presentation 

Saito Presentation 

Fellowships to Japan 


You can contact these very helpful JSPS staff in London by email at or see . JSPS London is there to promote research collaboration and exchange in the UK and Ireland. There is an increasing interest in Irish applicants going to Japan and Japanese applicants coming to Ireland and staff at the London Office are keen to assist applicants in Ireland, although applications from Ireland formally go to JSPS in Tokyo, not via London. You need to apply through a Japanese host institution, and JSPS London can also advise on which institutions to approach.


The London JSPS website is very informative. Anyone interested in securing JSPS funding is advised also to consult the Tokyo JSPS website.



If you’re interested in the possibility of researching in Japan but not sure how to go about securing JSPS funding, my own advice would be to start by getting to know Japanese colleagues in your subject-area (through meeting at international conferences, inviting speakers to UCC, etc.) and then develop your JSPS application on the basis of those person-to-person connections.


Brian Bocking

Professor of the Study of Religions

School of Asian Studies, UCC

The Irish Institute of Japanese Studies

Institiúid Éireann um Léann na Seapáinise