The Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to announce the 11 recipients of SRA without Overseas Travel awards for fiscal 2021 (April 2021 to March 2022). Like last year, this year’s Sylff Research Abroad was modified to accommodate restrictions on international travel due to COVID-related health and security concerns. We were delighted to receive a great number of outstanding applications from fellows all over the world in spite of the current constraints.
We reviewed all applications carefully from the perspectives of eligibility, the feasibility of the proposals, and the relevance of the proposed research to the applicants’ academic pursuits. The awardees were at different stages of their research, some taking advantage of SRA without Overseas Travel to collect fundamental data for their doctoral dissertation, with others using the opportunity to verify their findings and receive further advice from overseas experts.
The secretariat was heartened by the initiative and leadership demonstrated by fellows intent on taking advantage of the support program despite the pandemic-induced setbacks to their research endeavors. We are also grateful to Sylff steering committee members at each Sylff institution for their cooperation in encouraging fellows to apply.
Congratulations to all the awardees! We send them our best wishes and hope the research conducted with this award will be fruitful in advancing their doctoral research. The 11 awardees are as follows:
Standing, from left, are Keita Sugai (director), Sachiko Matsuoka, Mari Suzuki (executive director), and Chie Yamamoto; in the front row are Yumi Arai and Maki Shimada; and on the screen are Yue Zhang and Yoko Kaburagi.
As we approach the end of 2021, we take a look back over the past year through Sylff News.
COVID-19 continued to rage in countries around the world, prompting the Sylff Association secretariat to implement a second round of financial support called COVID-19 Relief for Fellows 2021 and introduce Sylff Research Abroad without Oversea Travel for FY2021. We were happy to support many fellows who had a difficult time finding employment or continuing their studies and research. Members of the Sylff community pitched in with donations to support pandemic-affected fellows.
Though we could not meet Sylff fellows in person, we received twice as many articles as last year for the Sylff website (50 Voices articles). Submissions to the Voices from the Pandemic and COVID Vlog series were full of insights and warm thoughts. We look forward to receiving COVID Vlog messages from many more fellows through the end of February 2022.
We wish you all a safe, healthy, and happy New Year.
Follow the links to the Sylff News articles uploaded in 2021:
The Sylff Association secretariat is grateful to all fellows who have shared their experiences, thoughts, and messages concerning COVID-19 through their video clips. They provide new insights into what people in different countries have been experiencing and offer clues to how we can overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.
There are many fellows who expressed a wish to deliver their messages but were unable do so due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic.
We have thus decided to extend the deadline for COVID Vlog submissions to February 28, 2022. The resurgence of cases and the spread of the Omicron variant are causes of fresh concern, and the need for emotional support has increased. We hope that many more fellows will take this chance to share a video message through this project. Your message will help others overcome the difficulties they are facing in these uncertain times.
After providing “COVID-19 Relief for Sylff Fellows 2021,” members of the Sylff Association secretariat were left with the impression that while most of us were familiar with the situation in our own country and region, we were reliant on the media for information about other areas. We longed to hear the voices of people from around the world that would give us a clearer idea of and deeper insights into how the pandemic was affecting their lives.
This was the impetus behind our decision to create a platform for Sylff fellows to share their COVID-related thoughts and firsthand experiences through short video messages. We are hoping to receive up to 100 video clips, including from graduated fellows. They do not have to focus on your field of specialization, but we hope you will include a message to help other fellows cope with COVID-related issues. The videos will be published as “COVID Vlogs” in the Voices from the Sylff Community section of the Sylff website. The deadline for submission is December 10, 2021.
We hope that the vlogs will help fellows connect with other fellows, creating a sense of community and a feeling that the difficulties caused by the pandemic can be overcome by working together. The project is an opportunity for fellows to express themselves and show compassion. We are looking forward to your receiving your videos.
The following is the outline of the instructions for video sharing.
Please read the complete instructions (PDF) before you share your videos.
Creating Your Video
LENGTH: 2 minutes or less
CONTENT: Your message should include the following three topics:
Short self-introduction, such as your name, affiliation, research area, or activities
Topic related to COVID-19, such as the current situation where you live, how the pandemic has affected you, or your thoughts on the coronavirus, either from a specialist or personal point of view
Message to encourage other fellows around the world. Non-verbal messages, such as a musical performance, are also welcome.
A TITLE of your video message: Maximum of 12 English words
A VISUAL IMAGE to be used as a thumbnail on the Sylff website: JPEG, GIF, or PNG file format; at least 343 × 245 pixels; and a horizontal aspect ratio of 1.4:1
BIO: If you don’t have a profile page on the Sylff website yet, send a brief bio and portrait photo (a head shot, preferably of over 350 × 350 pixels). A profile template is available at https://www.sylff.org/fellows/. A link to your video will be also posted on your profile page.
How to Share
Submit your videos through Google Drive only. Please do not send by email.
First create a folder containing the video, visual image, short bio, and portrait photo. Be sure the name of the folder and each file contains your name and the name of your Sylff institution (e.g., James White_ABC University) so we know who submitted the data.
Type in the title of your video in the “Message” section of Google Drive. Refer to the complete instructions (PDF) for details.
Please note that the business edition of Google Workspace used to receive your videos has enhanced data protection and security.
By submitting your video, you agree that the Sylff Association secretariat may use your video for the purpose of promoting the Sylff Program, such as by uploading it on the Sylff YouTube channel and featuring it in other promotional media owned by the Sylff Association secretariat.
The copyright belongs to the video producer. The Sylff Association secretariat will remove the video from the Sylff website and other media channels if the video producer expresses such a wish, in writing, to the secretariat.
The Sylff Association secretariat reserves the right not to publish videos that are deemed to show lack of tolerance for any group on the basis of their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, culture, or disability.
It is the video producer’s responsibility to obtain permission, when required, for the use of materials created by others, including visual images.
Please send email with [COVID Vlog] in the subject line to:
*This email address is used to receive your videos.
Do NOT send your data to email@example.com.
The Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to announce that COVID-19 Relief for 2021 has been provided to 287 fellows in 53 countries to cover their living expenses for about 3.5 months.
The monthly living expenses of each country were calculated, in principle, on the basis of either figures provided by Sylff steering committees last year or, if applicants were no longer enrolled there, the cost of living indexes of widely used external sources. Due to budget limitations, an upper limit was set for countries with high price levels.
Relief funds were transferred directly to each qualifying applicant from the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research by the end of August 2021.
We hope that the relief funds will make a real difference in helping fellows continue their studies and research or enabling recent and soon-to-be graduates to overcome unexpected financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.
The Sylff Association is pleased to announce the launch of a revised Sylff Research Abroad (SRA) support program for Sylff fellows in fiscal 2021 (ending March 31, 2022). Considering that some international borders remain closed and global travel restrictions are still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are making a call for applications for SRA projects that do not require fellows themselves to travel overseas.
SRA without Overseas Travel awards will help fellows to conduct academic research related to their doctoral dissertations in a foreign country through alternative strategies, such as hiring local research assistant(s) or organizing virtual meetings. It will provide grants of up to US$3,000 to each successful applicant.
The Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to announce that members of the Sylff community donated a total of 146,000 yen (approximately US$1,330)* in 2021 to support Sylff fellows affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The online fundraising system to accept donations via credit card will be closed on June 30, 2021.
The donations will be used not only to help fellows continue their studies and research but also to financially support recent and soon-to-be graduates who have experienced significant and unexpected disruptions to their career plans due to the pandemic. The secretariat believes that the support offered by the Sylff community will also offer encouragement and cultivate a sense of belonging under these difficult times.
This support scheme is intended to alleviate the financial difficulties faced by currently enrolled and recently graduated Sylff fellows due to the pandemic.
We are now accepting applications through the online application form on the Sylff website. Please carefully read the Call for Applications for information on who is eligible and what applicants will need to submit. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. May 24, 2021 (Japan Standard Time).
We are also seeking donations to help finance the support scheme. Donations may be made through an online system using credit cards or via wire transfer. For details, please visit How to Give.
We hope that all members of the Sylff Association and others affiliated with Sylff institutions will join the fundraising campaign to help young fellows overcome this difficult situation.
*1. We have revised the eligibility criteria for “Category 1” applicants on April 16, 2021, so that fellows who are currently taking a leave of absence from a degree program due to the pandemic can apply.
*2. The Call for Applications may be updated occasionally in accordance with changing conditions. Please check the revision date to make sure that you are referring to the latest version.
*3. Check the COVID-19 Relief program page for information on the overall progress being made to process applications and transfer relief funds.
The Sylff Association secretariat has set up a new financial support scheme for fellows whose efforts to earn a degree or enter the workforce have been negatively affected by the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike COVID-19 relief provided in 2020, whose recipients were limited to fellows who were then enrolled in a graduate program, this new support will also be offered to applicants who have already earned a degree (in or after March 2020) but have yet to find employment.
Surveys of Sylff fellows and Sylff steering committee members conducted last year showed that many fellows, particularly current fellows whose academic period was extended and were looking for work opportunities, were facing financial difficulties.
COVID-19 Relief for Fellows 2021 is thus designed to not only help fellows to continue their studies and research but also financially support recent and soon-to-be graduates who have experienced significant and unexpected disruptions to their career plans due to the pandemic.
A lump sum to cover living expenses for up to six months will be provided to eligible fellows who apply. (The actual amount will be determined by the secretariat, depending on the total number of applicants.)
All eligible fellows are encouraged to apply to mitigate their financial anxieties during the pandemic.
Online applications will open in mid- or late April 2021. Follow the link to view details of application requirements.
“I’m deeply humbled and honored to be the first recipient of this award,” Socrates commented. The “findings are important towards understanding the impact of the measures adopted by governments worldwide during the COVID-19 period on international trade.”
Congratulations to Socrates on winning this prestigious award, and we wish him even greater success in the future.