JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme

Jointly organized by the United Nations University and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is designed to provide promising, highly qualified, young researchers with the opportunity to conduct advanced research relevant to the main thematic focus areas of the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS, Tokyo) and UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR, Tokyo), in co-operation with host researchers at Japanese universities and research institutions. UNU acts as the nominating authority for the JSPS–UNU Programme.

This fellowship is aimed at candidates who have completed their PhD degrees in the past six years and also have professional and/or research experience. UNU will assist in securing acceptance from host researchers for short-listed candidates.

Fellowships are awarded for a period of 24 months. Applicants must hold a doctoral degree (received on or after 2 April 2009) when the fellowship begins, or be scheduled to receive a doctoral degree before the fellowship begins. (Japanese nationals are not eligible.)

Terms of the Award

  1. A round-trip air ticket (based on JSPS regulations)
  2. A monthly maintenance allowance of JPY362,000
  3. A settling-in allowance of JPY200,000, Overseas travel insurance coverage, etc.
  • The amounts of the Awards indicated above are subject to change by JSPS.
  • If the Fellow resides in Japan on or after the date his/her award letter is issued, the above-mentioned air ticket to Japan and settling-in allowance will not be provided.
  • A research grant, “Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research”, of up to JPY1,500,000 per year (total of JPY3,000,000 for two years – the amount varying depending on the areas/disciplines of research) is available to cover cooperative research-related expenses. Application for these grants is made by the host researcher through his/her institution.

JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme 2015

Research proposals for JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowships should relate clearly to one of the research areas of UNU-IAS or UNU-CPR listed below, and also aim to be policy-relevant.

The following research projects at UNU-IAS and UNU-CPR are accepting applications for JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellows:

Ecosystem Services Assessment (UNU-IAS)

The selected fellow in Ecosystem Services Assessment will work at the forefront of applied research relevant to ecosystem assessments and governance in the area of biodiversity and ecosystem services. One focus of the project is sub-global and regional assessments undertaken by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This includes synergies and tradeoff analysis across ecosystem services and scales, future scenario building, and policy and institutions designed to promote sustainable ecosystem governance such as the enhancement of sustainable development and green growth, especially in developing countries.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD degree from a range of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture, landscape ecology, and natural resources management
  • Demonstrated research skills in similar areas
  • Ability to design and implement research involving field work
  • Fluency in English is essential and a working knowledge of other languages is desirable

Governance for Sustainable Development (UNU-IAS)

The selected fellow will work at the forefront of applied research relevant to Governance for Sustainable Development. One focus of the project is governance related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the post-2015 development agenda. This includes institutional aspects of SDGs from global to regional to national or local levels, implementation mechanisms of SDGs and monitoring and evaluation of SDGs including governance indicators for sustainability. Whereas our primary focus is on governance of and for SDGs, other aspects of SDGs may also be considered as part of our focus area of research.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD degree (no ABDs) from a range of disciplines including but not limited to political science, sociology, economics, legal and other social sciences, and civil engineering (socio-economic modelling)
  • Demonstrated research skills in similar areas
  • Ability to design and implement research involving field work
  • Fluency in English is essential and a working knowledge of other languages is desirable

Water and Urban Initiative (UNU-IAS)

Deterioration of urban water (rivers, lakes, estuaries, and groundwater) quality is a critical environmental issue in developing countries. Unplanned landuse, rapid population growth, untreated or inadequately treated waste disposal, lack of environmental awareness, ineffective policy and implementation measures are the major factors that challenge urban water security and sustainability. The successful candidate will work for the Water and Urban Initiative, which seeks to provide feasible and innovative approaches for enhancing urban water environments with a focus on human health, ecosystem conservation and flood impacts nexus. Applicants with strong backgrounds in urban environmental management and policy analysis are particularly encouraged to apply. Familiarity with climate change, low carbon technology, field work, spatial analysis, water resource modelling, and health risk assessment will also be important assets in the selection.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD degree (no ABDs) in the natural sciences or engineering, preferably in urban and water environment fields
  • Fluency in English is essential
  • Equally qualified candidates from developing countries as well as female candidates will receive preference

Satoyama Initiative (UNU-IAS)

The selected fellow in the Satoyama Initiative will conduct research on socio-ecological systems to contribute to policy-relevant discussions on biodiversity conservation and landscape management. The research should be linked to the concept of the Satoyama Initiative which aims to realize societies in harmony with nature by promoting sustainable production activities and natural resource management. The focus includes multiple benefits of production landscapes and seascapes and their linkages with human wellbeing, and solutions to various challenges they are facing from social, economic and environmental perspectives.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD degree (no ABDs) in a field related to applied social or environmental sciences, including but not limited to environmental policy, development studies, ecosystem management and landscape planning
  • Demonstrated research skills and a sound record of publication in similar areas
  • Ability to design and implement research involving fieldwork
  • Fluency in English is essential and a working knowledge of other languages is desirable

Peace and Security Policies at the UN (UNU-CPR)

This fellowship will be with UNU’s Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) in Tokyo for policy-relevant work in areas at the heart of the UN’s peace and security agenda, in particular conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping or peace-building, or its efforts to confront new challenges created by international organized crime and trafficking, terrorism, piracy as well as in the area of cybersecurity. Applicants will need to demonstrate an interest in influencing policy debates and in shaping UN decision-making on such peace and security topics. Knowledge translation, policy development and advocacy are central to the new Centre’s mandate.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD degree (no ABDs) in the social sciences or humanities generally, or in international law, international relations, conflict and peace studies in particular
  • Fluency in English is essential
  • Equally qualified candidates from developing countries as well as female candidates will receive preference

Post 2015 UN Development Framework (UNU-CPR)

This fellowship will be with UNU’s Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) in Tokyo for policy-relevant work relating to the post-2015 UN development framework and the priorities, goals and principles that should drive it. Applicants will need to demonstrate an interest in influencing policy debates and in shaping UN decision-making on such development topics. Knowledge translation, policy development and advocacy are central to the new Centre’s mandate.

Required qualifications:

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