JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme for Overseas Researchers 2021 guidance notes
Guidance notes for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme for Overseas Researchers 2021. Please read these scheme notes carefully. Any incorrectly submitted application will be ineligible for award.
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme for Overseas Researchers provides opportunities for early career 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 programme aims to help such researchers advance their own research while contributing to the progress of research in Japan and the counterpart countries.
The British Academy acts as intermediary to this scheme, which is funded entirely by the JSPS. In its capacity as overseas nominating authority, the British Academy will nominate candidates to JSPS for Fellowships available in 2021-22. The scheme is intended to support research in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. Further information about the scheme can be found on the JSPS website.
Each candidate for the Fellowship must:
- be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands;
- hold a doctorate degree when the Fellowship goes into effect, which must have been received on or after 2 April 2015, or be scheduled to receive a doctorate degree before the Fellowship goes into effect;
- have arranged in advance a research plan with a Japanese host researcher employed at a Japanese university/research institution; and
- submit applications in time for them to be considered before the research is due to begin – awards will not be made retrospectively.
Please note the following candidates are not eligible to apply:
- Those who have previously been awarded a fellowship under the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research in Japan ([Standard(P)] and [Pathway to University positions in Japan (PU)]).
- Japanese nationals nor those of dual nationality if one is Japanese.
- Those who have permanent residency in Japan.
- Medical doctors without a PhD degree.
JSPS will provide each Fellow with the following support (subject to change):
- A round-trip air ticket for the Fellow (based on JSPS’s regulations);
- A monthly maintenance allowance of ¥362,000;
- A settling-in allowance of ¥200,000 and overseas travel insurance for the Fellow.
- A research grant ("Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research") for cooperative research-related expenses, applied for by the Japanese host researcher through their host institution
Candidates residing in Japan before the fellowship starts, or who have had residency status in Japan, on or after the awarding of the Fellowship, will not be provided with the following support:
- A round-trip air ticket for the Fellow.
- A settling-in allowance of ¥200,000 yen.
Please note that JSPS does not support any research projects related to military affairs.
Awards can be held over a period of no less than 12 months and no more than 24 months.
Successful awards must start on or after 1 April 2021 and no later than 30 November 2021. Please note there will only be one call for applications per year.
The applicant’s prospective host researcher 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 Programme” (Kakenhi) and approved by JSPS as an appropriate institution for hosting young overseas researchers. A list of host institutions is available on the JSPS website. Prospective host researchers who are not employed full-time may be eligible if the host institution judges that they are able to execute their responsibilities for carrying out the programme throughout the fellowship period, including the provision of a suitable research environment (e.g., laboratory, space, facilities and personnel), the same as full-time researchers are able to do.
Candidates must have arranged in advance a research plan for their stay in Japan with their prospective host researcher.
Application Deadline, Reference/Head of Department (HoD) Statement Deadline and current UK Institution Application Approval Deadline (N.B. The UK Institution Application Approval Deadline is not applicable for Independent Scholars):
17.00 (UK time) on Wednesday, 16 December 2020.
Applicants are advised to contact [email protected] for further information, and detailed advice on timing and quota availability.
All applications for this scheme shall be considered in the light of referees’ and HoDs’ comments. No application will be considered without the required number of references and HoD statements, which must be received by 17.00 (UK time) on Wednesday, 16 December 2020. Required are:
- one reference, signed and on headed paper, from the applicant’s current or previous supervisor (“Referee”; add their name to the Contributors tab in Flexi-Grant); and
- one statement of support signed and on headed paper, from the applicant’s host researcher in Japan (“HoD”; add their name to the Contributors tab in Flexi-Grant). The letter should be signed by the host himself / herself.
It is also required that candidates submit a copy of their PhD degree certificate. If the degree has not yet been awarded, a letter is required from the candidate’s institution stating the date that the candidate will officially receive the degree. The letter should be signed and on headed paper. In this event, the candidate will be required to submit to JSPS a copy of the degree certificate promptly before starting their fellowship. The certificate should be signed or stamped with an official seal.
Completion of the Contributors tab:
- To add a referee/HoD click on the “Contributors” tab on the summary page, enter their name, email address and an optional personalised message then click the “send invitation” button.
It is vital that you enter the correct email address for your referee/HoD as emails are sent automatically from Flexi-Grant to these individuals at the email addresses supplied on the “Contributors” tab with login details, and instructions for viewing the application and supplying the statement through Flexi-Grant.
It is the responsibility of the applicants to:
- contact referees/HoDs outside of the Flexi-Grant system to ensure that they have received details of their Flexi-Grant login and instructions for supplying their statements through Flexi-Grant;
- ensure that references/HoD statements/copies of PhD certificates or confirmation letters are supplied through Flexi-Grant by the deadline;
- keep track of the progress of references/HoD statements by viewing your Application Summary, accessed by clicking on My Applications;
- remember that applications without a complete set of references/HoD statements/copies of PhD certificates or confirmation letters will not be eligible for consideration.
Once you have submitted your application for approval by your current UK institution, automatic emails will be sent to your current UK institutional approver asking them to log on to the system. You will not be able to edit your application after it has been submitted to your UK institution for approval. The UK institutional approver will either: approve and submit your application, “send back” your application and contact you to request modifications (please note that modifications cannot be made after the application deadline of 16 December, 17.00 UK time, therefore you should liaise with your institutional approver to make any changes well in advance of this deadline), or decline your application and contact you.
Please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that you complete your application in time for your UK institution to process it (including requesting changes) and provide their approval by the closing date. It is recommended that you allow at least five working days for this process.
If your UK institution’s approver requests modifications through the Flexi-Grant email facility, they can unlock your application, allowing you to edit it. They can do this by selecting “send back‟. An automatic e-mail will be sent to you alerting you of this fact. Once you have completed and saved the requested changes, please re-submit your application for approval by your current UK institution (again, this must be done by the deadline of 16 December, 17.00 UK time).
Once your current UK institution has approved your application and submitted it to the British Academy, it will not be possible to make any changes.
Please note that once the closing date has passed, UK institutional approvers cannot approve applications and submit them to the British Academy, and unapproved applications are removed from consideration. No late applications will be accepted.
It is recommended that you check that your application is submitted in time. To see the details of the approver and to check the status of your application, you should log into Flexi-Grant and view your application by clicking on My Applications.
Assessors will evaluate the proposal on the basis of its academic merit, taking into account its originality, its relationship to, and the volume of, research already in the field, the scholarly importance of the research proposed, the suitability of the methodology, the feasibility of the research programme, the specificity of the scheme of research, the presentation, and intended outcomes. Assessors will evaluate the ability of the investigator(s) to undertake the proposed research, taking into account their track record in terms of publication, their academic age and stage of career. Backlogs of publication (including any reasons given by applicants) may be taken into account in assessing the current proposal.
The primary assessment of quality will be based on the specific research objective of the proposal, and whether the methodology and research programme outlined are likely to lead to the successful achievement of the objective.
Assessors may take into account evidence of language competence where the understanding of material in a foreign language is crucial to the achievement of the research objective.
Comparative judgments about value for money may be taken into account at the final stage of assessment.
The Academy has adopted a Code of Practice for assessing research applications, setting out the principles of equity, integrity and confidentiality governing the treatment of all applications for
research support. Information regarding Data Protection, the Ethics Policy and the Appeals Procedure are to be found in the Code of Practice.
With regard to Data Protection, please note that in submitting an application to this scheme applicants are consenting to the sharing of the data provided in their application with JSPS for the purpose of enabling JSPS to make a decision on whether or not an award should be offered. The British Academy acts as a nominating authority for this scheme and the final decision on awards rests with JSPS.
Feedback is not a feature of this programme, and the Academy is, regretfully, unable to enter into correspondence regarding the decisions of the awarding committee, which are governed by the Code of Practice. Submission of the application form constitutes the applicant's agreement to all terms, conditions and notices contained in the Notes for Applicants.
Applications can only be submitted online using the British Academy’s online Flexi-Grant® Grant Management System (GMS) system via. If you have not previously used the British Academy’s Flexi-Grant® GMS, please follow the registration process from the Flexi-Grant® homepage. Applications cannot be submitted on paper or in any other format. The deadline for applications to be submitted (to include the receipt of all referee and HoD references) is 17.00 UK time Wednesday 16 December 2020. The application will be treated as confidential at all times.
When completing your application on Flexi-Grant®, it is recommended that you take particular note of the following points:
- Personal details: When registered in the British Academy Flexi-Grant® system, a user has the option to add or update personal information such as contact details, log-in details (including email address and password), interests, research, and employment details, at any time. This does not form part of the specific application form for any individual scheme, but represents a personal record of your account in the system. It is useful if this information is kept up to date, but it is not essential to the progress of an application.
- Automatic log-out: You are strongly advised to save your work regularly to prevent accidental loss of information. In particular you should be aware that if the system does not detect any activity for 2 hours it will log out and save the application at that time. Please note that moving between pages within an application form will save the page that you are exiting but completing a field on a page is not considered an activity. It is recommended that you write the text for longer sections/fields in a word processor such as Word and then copy and paste into the relevant text box to avoid being timed out in this way.
- Multiple sessions: You should not have multiple browser windows/tabs of your application open at the same time as this may cause information to be lost. Only one user should edit an application at a time, otherwise changes might be lost.
- Word limits: When completing boxes that have a restricted length (note that it refers to words) you should note that if you exceed the specified amount you will not be able to save when you press the save button. You should type the text for the longer-length boxes in a word processor. You will then be able to check the word count and paste it into the British Academy Flexi-Grant® system. You will then still have a copy of the text to return to in the word processor. The word limit applies to text boxes.
- Plain text: If entering plain text, please avoid using symbols as some may not be accepted by the British Academy Flexi-Grant® system. You should generate and view a PDF of your application to check that the application appears as you want it to by clicking on ‘print form’.
- Uploading PDF documents: When uploading PDF documents, please add your name and a heading at the top of every page to show what the document is. Please avoid uploading documents containing illustrations with fine details or colour as this can cause problems when creating a PDF of the application. Please note we will only print your applications in black and white. Each PDF cannot exceed 3 Mb in size.
- Email addresses: The British Academy Flexi-Grant® system relies heavily on automatic email contact. It is essential that you ensure you enter accurate email addresses where requested as it may cause considerable delay in the submission/processing of your application if any of these are incorrect. You cannot make changes to email addresses after your application has been submitted for approval.
- Submission: You will not be able to submit your application until you have completed each section in full. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application is submitted in good time, and in sufficient time, for it to be approved by your employing institution. You should submit your application for approval by a designated approver at your host organisation at least 5 working days before the closing date to allow for your host organisation’s administrative procedures.
- Application sharing: All applications must be started by the applicant who is to be the Principal Investigator (PI) on the award. You can invite other contributors to join the application (e.g. Co-Applicant, Nominated Referee, Head of Department, Finance Office contact etc.), but in order to do so your contributor will need to be registered in the British Academy’s Flexi-Grant® system first. You will need to ensure you have their registered email address to invite them to participate in your application. You can let other British Academy Flexi-Grant® users view your draft application, in advance of submission, by providing their email address and entering the permissions you want them to have. They will be able to log in using their existing password and also see and, depending on permissions, amend your application.
- Application deletion: You can delete your application at any time although it is often a lot easier to just edit your existing application. We will be able to recover a deleted application for a period of 7 days after deletion. After this it will be permanently removed from the system.
- Application returned for editing: The approver can return your application to you for further editing. See ‘Submission of Application’ below.
- Guidance: In the tables below you will find in the left-hand each question as set out in the application sections and in the right-hand column useful guidance on its completion.
- Further clarification: If any of this advice is unclear, or you need further information, please do not hesitate to seek clarification from the British Academy’s International Team (contact details at the end of these notes).
Please note that it is essential that you create a pdf of your completed application (by clicking ‘download as pdf’), and check it thoroughly, including email addresses and uploaded pdf files, before submitting it for approval by your host organisation. It may not be possible to rectify mistakes in time for the deadline.
Word limits apply to plain text only. page limits apply to pdfs only.
All fields marked with an asterisk* are mandatory.
You should not have multiple browser windows/tabs of your application open at the same time as this may cause information to be lost. only one user should edit an application at a time, otherwise changes might be lost.
Completing the application form: The application can be completed by using the navigation tabs on the application summary page, with each page categorised as follows:
Page 1: Eligibility
Page 2: Lead Applicant Details
Page 3: Lead Applicant Career Summary
Page 4: Research Proposal
Page 5: Financial Details
Page 6: Equal Opportunities
Page 7: Lead Applicant Referee Statement
Page 8: Lead Applicant HoD Statement
A full list of question fields to be completed as part of the application can be found in the following table. Each box in the table represents a page of the application form: the left-hand column contains the questions within each of these pages as set out in the form; the right-hand column contains useful guidance on its completion. A red asterisk (*) indicates which questions are mandatory and therefore must be complete before the application can be submitted. Please read the guidance notes carefully before completing the form.
PLEASE BE AWARE: it is your responsibility to ensure that you complete your application in time for the UK host organisation to process it and provide their approval by the approval deadline. Once they have checked your application they will contact you if any changes are required. It is recommended that you allow at least five working days for this process.
When your application form is complete, all sections on this summary table will be marked as ‘Complete’. The ‘Complete’ status will only appear when all the mandatory fields in that section have been completed. All mandatory fields are marked with an asterisk ‘*’. Only then will a ‘Submit’ button appear for you to be able to submit your application.
If you are unable to see the submit button but your application appears complete on the Summary page, you will need to check the Contributors tab to ensure that your invited contributors have completed their pages and marked them as complete. Once this has been done, and all the other pages have been completed, the ‘submit’ button should appear.
Primary* and secondary subjects
Please select a Subject Group from the drop-down menu.
Time period *
Please select all relevant time periods from the list provided.
Regional interests *
Please select all relevant regions from the list provided.
Employing organisation *
Please use the search bar to find your home institution and add the organisation to your application. If your organisation is not available, then it may not be registered in our system. Before requesting the addition of a new organisation, please check that it is not affiliated with any organisation that is already registered. If it needs to be added please email us at [email protected].
Title, Names, Address, Email address etc. *
Please take care to review and complete your personal details accurately. Errors in this section can cause difficulties in the processing of your application.
Statement of qualifications and career *
Please enter your qualifications and date awarded.
Please give details of all qualifications in reverse chronological order.
Present Appointment, Department and Employing Institution *
Please give details of your current appointment. The applicant must be ordinarily resident in the UK.
This field is optional, but may be used, for example, in providing information regarding interruptions to an academic career. The limit on this field is 150 words.
PhD confirmation *
Please confirm whether you are in receipt of a PhD by selecting either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
If you are not yet in receipt of your PhD, please specify the date you submitted it and the date you expect it to be awarded; this must be before the Fellowship goes into effect.
Please also upload a copy of your PhD degree diploma or the original PhD certificate. If your PhD degree has not yet been awarded, a letter is required from your institution stating the date that you will officially receive your degree.
Other academic experience *
Please provide details of all academic posts held prior to your present position (with dates), including any teaching experience gained during the course of doctoral registration.
Please include details of any experience in organizing conferences, workshops and wiki-based discussions.
If none, please state ‘none’ in the text box provided.
Please list all major publications (please use the following format: authors (all,) title, journal, vol, no., pp.-, month, year)
Curriculum vitae upload *
A brief CV should be uploaded here as a PDF file.
Where did you hear of this scheme?
Please provide details of where you heard about this scheme.
Title of research proposal *
Please specify your research theme in Japan.
Please provide a short abstract summarising your proposed research in terms suitable for an informed general audience, not one specialised in your field. This is a mandatory field and the limit is 150 words.
Subject area *
Please select the subject most relevant to your research from the drop-down menu.
Previous research *
Please give details of your past research, specifying the subject area and achievements. The limit on this field is 600 words.
Proposed programme *
This field should be used to describe the proposed research, including objectives, methodology and hypotheses, and the country/countries to which it is relevant. Please state clearly whether the project is a relatively new initiative or a project of longer standing. If appropriate, explain any achievements to date.
The limit for the proposed programme field is 2000 words.
Plan of action *
Please set out the proposed plan of action covering activity to be undertaken during the course of the award. This should be as detailed as is practicable, but suitable allowance may be made for variation in the event of an award being offered. The limit on this field is 800 words.
Planned research outputs / plans for publication and dissemination *
Under ‘planned research outputs’, please only state the type of output expected. Please give more detail about potential publishers etc. under ‘plans for publication’, for which the limit is 500 words.
Start date – end date / project duration *
Please indicate the proposed start date and end date of your fellowship. The start date must be between 1 April 2021 - 30 November 2021; and the end date must be no less than 12 months and no more than 24 months after the start date.
To select a date in the future using the calendar feature in the British Academy Flexi-Grant® system, click on the month and year in between the two arrows at the top of the box. A second box will appear where you can select the month you wish and then you can type the year you require in the box provided. Click ‘Okay’ and the calendar will take you to the month and year you have selected.
Proposed host institution *
Please specify the name of your host researcher in Japan, their title, department and institution.
Previous visits *
Please enter any details of past stays in Japan including location, dates and purpose.
Language competence *
Please provide your standard of English and Japanese for the following categories: reading, writing, listening, speaking. Please indicate your ability for each on a scale of 1-5, where 5 is excellent and 1 is poor. Please use the following format: Reading skills in Japanese – 4.
Other relevant information
Please use this space to provide details of any other relevant information.
Applications to other funding bodies *
Please give details about the name(s) of other fellowship(s) for which you are now applying.
Date of birth *
The ‘Date of Birth’ section of the Equal Opportunities form is mandatory. The JSPS requires this information in order to consider your application.
If you do not provide your Date of Birth in this part of the application, the JSPS will regard your application as incomplete and will not consider it for the award of a Fellowship.
To select a date in the past using the calendar feature in the British Academy Flexi-Grant® system, click on the month and year in between the two arrows at the top of the box. A second box will appear where you can select the month you wish and then you can type the year you require in the box provided. Click ‘Okay’ and the calendar will take you to the month and year you have selected.
This section is optional. The Academy would however, greatly appreciate it if you complete the details.
You must either complete the form or tick the box stating that you do not want to complete the form. If you do not tick one or other of the boxes the system will regard your application as incomplete and will not allow you to submit it.
The British Academy is committed to its policy of Equal Opportunity in the provision of its grants and awards. Please help us to monitor the effectiveness of this policy by providing the following information concerning your age, gender, ethnic origin and disabilities (if any).
This information will be kept separately from the rest of your application and will not be seen by those involved in making decisions in the selection process, including referees etc.
This section is to be completed by the applicant's referee.
Referee Name, Organisation and Relationship to Applicant. *
A statement is required from your current or previous supervisor.
Your referee will need to register themselves on the British Academy Flexi-Grant® system before they are able to complete this section.
Please enter all the details of your referee by clicking ‘Contributors’ tab on the Application’s ‘Summary’ page. Please click on the ‘Invite’ button, enter the referee’s email address and then click ‘Send Invitation’. Once you have clicked on the ‘Send Invitation’ button, your referee will be able to view your application.
Referee statement *
Your referee can upload their statement here, this should be in PDF format.
Head of Department contact details *
A statement is required from your Head of Department (your host researcher in Japan).
Your Head of Department will need to register themselves on the British Academy Flexi-Grant® system before they are able to complete this section.
Please enter all the details of your Head of Department by clicking ‘Contributors’ tab on the Application’s ‘Summary’ page. Please click on the ‘Invite’ button, enter the referee’s email address and then click ‘Send Invitation’. Once you have clicked on the ‘Send Invitation’ button, your Head of Department will be able to view your application.
Head of Department statement *
Your Head of Department can upload their statement here; this should be in PDF format.
The academy will only process complete, submitted and approved applications.