Translate

MENU

COVID-19 Relief
for Sylff Fellows 2021

An official letter of notification was sent to successful applicants by email on 23 or 24 June, 2021. The funds transfer will take place on July 2, 2021 (Japan Standard Time). However, in case the information submitted by the applicant is either incomplete or inaccurate, this may be delayed. Note that an international wire transfer typically should arrive within 1-5 business days, but in some cases, it can take longer.

COVID-19 Relief for Sylff Fellows 2021 is a support scheme for current and recently graduated fellows facing financial difficulties in earning a degree or starting their careers due to the pandemic. The program provides a lump sum to cover living expenses for up to six months to eligible fellows.

The Call for Applications is available in PDF and text versions (below). Please note that only online applications are accepted. Please read section 5 (Application) before sending your application. Use the prescribed template when submitting the required letter of reference.

Call for Applications

1. Background

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world has caused lingering financial problems for many fellows. Our surveys of Sylff fellows and steering committee members last year revealed that financial needs were still high among fellows working toward their degrees. We learned that those planning to enter the workforce faced difficulties as well, with some fellows being forced to extend their research. New graduates were unable to advance their studies due to admission suspensions at some universities. And many experienced difficulties finding job openings or had offers canceled or delayed.

The Sylff Association secretariat is most concerned about fellows not being able to advance their academic or career plans because of the global pandemic. We are committed to helping fellows pursue their goals in this time of turmoil, and we are offering new financial measures in 2021 so fellows may either continue their studies and research or transition smoothly to the labor market.

Close

2. Eligibility

There are two categories of fellows who are eligible for financial support.

Category 1: Fellows who are currently enrolled in a degree program and:

  1. Are current or past recipients of a Sylff fellowship.
  2. Are currently working toward a master’s or doctoral degree at any institution of higher learning (not necessarily a Sylff institution).
  3. Need financial support to continue their studies and research for the degree or to find work opportunities.

(Note) Updated April 16, 2021
Those who were working toward a master’s or doctoral degree in 2019 or 2020 but are currently taking a leave of absence from that degree program due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic are eligible to apply. Please describe the circumstances that forced you to interrupt your studies, including information on the exact period of leave, in the letter of reference (prescribed template), which needs to be confirmed by your referee.

Category 2: Fellows who have already earned a degree and:

  1. Are past recipients of a Sylff fellowship.
  2. Earned a master’s or doctoral degree on or after March 1, 2020, and are not currently enrolled at any institution of higher learning.
  3. Need financial support to look for work opportunities or until the start of a new job or new degree program.

(Note)
Those who received COVID-19 Relief for Fellows in 2020 are eligible to apply (BUT those who earned their master’s or doctoral degree on or before February 29, 2020, are NOT eligible).

Close

3. Amount of Support

COVID-19 Relief for Fellows 2021 aims to provide up to six months of living expenses in the country where the applicant is based. The exact amount will be determined by the secretariat, based on the total number of successful applicants and the program budget.

The monthly living expenses of each country are calculated, in principle, on the information provided by the Sylff steering committee. For those who are studying in a country without a Sylff institution or have already graduated from the Sylff institution and have moved to a different country, the expenses are calculated based on the cost of living indexes of widely used external sources.

Close

4. Schedule

Online application opens: mid- or late April 2021 (tba)
Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. May 24, 2021 (Japan Standard Time)
Notification: Early June 2021
Disbursement of funds: Expected to start at the end of June 2021

(Note)
The disbursement of funds is expected to start at the end of June 2021. This may be delayed, however, if the information (including that for bank accounts) submitted by the applicant is either incomplete or inaccurate.

Close

5. Application

Applications will be accepted starting after mid-April 2021. The exact date will be announced by email. Please note that only online applications will be accepted. Applications sent by email or those that are either incomplete or late will not be accepted. Please be sure to provide all required information by the deadline.

There are two steps in completing your application. First, provide basic information about yourself along with a letter of reference through the online application site. After submitting this information, proceed to the second step of providing your bank account information. You will receive instructions of how to notify us of your bank account by email in June.

The following is a list of what you need to submit. Before you apply online, please have available all the information requested. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to make any changes.

FIRST STEP: Provide basic information and a letter of reference
[Basic Information]

  • Your name (first name, family name)
  • Your country of residence
  • Email address you regularly use
  • Name of your home Sylff institution
  • Your current academic or employment affiliation (if any):
  • Address of your current affiliation above (if any):
  • Expected date of degree (or date received)
  • Type of degree (master’s or doctorate, field of specialization)
  • Your reason for applying

[Letter of Reference]

You will need to attach a letter of reference* (prescribed template) when applying online.

*The letter of reference must be signed by a member of the Sylff steering committee if you are currently enrolled at the institution where you received your Sylff fellowship. (Please use this request letter for your convenience.) If you are no longer enrolled there, the letter of reference must be signed by your academic supervisor.

SECOND STEP: Provide your bank account information
[Bank Account Information]

  • Name and address of the account holder (The account must be in your name)
  • Bank name, bank branch name, and address of bank branch
  • Country where the bank is located
  • Bank account (IBAN code in Europe)
  • SWIFT code

(About recipient bank)
* Please make sure that your account can accept international wire transfers.
* In principle, funds will be sent in US dollars. Please confirm that your account can accept US dollars.
*Please check with your bank if it can receive funds “directly” from MUFG Bank, LTD. (Swift code: BOTKJPJT). If it cannot, please ask your bank to designate an intermediary bank to receive the funds and let us know the name and Swift code of the intermediary bank.

(About amount of funds)
* It is your responsibility to pay any tax-related fees required in your country.
* Any gain or loss due to foreign exchange rates is not the responsibility of the secretariat.

(Important Note)

If any information or document provided by the applicant is found to contain false statements, the application will be unconditionally rejected. If false information is revealed after the funds have been disbursed, the applicant will be required to return the payment to the secretariat within 30 days of notification by the secretariat.

Close

6. Screening and Notification

Applications will be screened based on eligibility by the Sylff Association secretariat. The results of the screening will be notified in early June 2021.

(Note)
Selected fellows are responsible for providing the information requested within the timeframe set by the secretariat.

Close

7. Post-Support Requirements

Recipients are expected to actively cooperate with Sylff Association activities, such as by participating in surveys and follow-up activities. They are also encouraged to post their profiles on the Sylff website at
https://www.sylff.org/fellows/.

Close

8. FAQs

Eligibility

Q1. I received COVID-19 Relief for Fellows in 2020. Am I still eligible for this year’s support?
If you fall into one of the two categories described in the application guidelines, you may apply for relief this year, even if you received COVID-19 Relief for Fellows in 2020.
Q2. I received a Sylff fellowship while working toward my master’s degree, and I am now enrolled in a doctoral course at another institution. Am I eligible?
Yes. You fall into category 1 of the application guidelines. Fellows who are currently enrolled in a degree program are eligible, regardless of whether they are still studying at a Sylff institution.
Q3. Why am I not eligible if I earned my degree before March 1, 2020?
A. We have established March 2020 as the cutoff date since this was when the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, after which “new graduates” are believed to have faced an especially difficult time entering the workforce.
Q4. Does the Sylff Association secretariat intend to offer similar support again later this year or in subsequent years?
A. We currently have no plans to provide similar relief in the future.

Amount

Q1. I did not receive COVID-19 Relief for Fellows in 2020. Can I retroactively apply at this time?
No, you may only apply for relief being offered now—a lump sum equivalent to up to six months of living expenses.
Q2. I’d like to know how much I can expect to receive at the time I apply.
While the total budget is fixed, the Sylff Association secretariat has no way of ascertaining how many fellows will apply from which countries. We therefore cannot make any estimates for individual applicants.
Q3. A lump sum of six months’ living expenses is not enough to cover my costs, since I have been forced to extend my research activities for one year. Can I apply for more than six months?
No. You can apply for only up to six months of living expenses. Please also note that this is not a guarantee that you will receive six months’ support; the actual amount provided will depend on the total number of eligible applicants and the cost of living in the countries of those applicants.
Q4. Will monthly living expenses take into account the number of people in my household?
No, living expenses are calculated for the fellow only.

Applications

Q1. Can I ask someone other than a Sylff steering committee member or my academic supervisor to write a reference letter?
In principle, the reference letter must be signed by a member of the Sylff steering committee if you are currently enrolled at a Sylff institution or by your academic supervisor if you are no longer enrolled at that institution. However, if you have difficulties in obtaining a reference letter from them, please contact the Sylff Association secretariat before you submit your application.

Payment

Q1. In what currency will the relief funds be transferred?
Funds will be sent in US dollars. Please make sure that your bank account can accept US dollars. Please also make sure that your account can accept international wire transfers.
Q2. Should I pay the remittance charge?
Remittance fees will be paid by the remitter (the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research). However, fellows are responsible for paying the tax, receipt fee, or any other charges incurred after the remittance.
Q3. Will the Sylff Association secretariat compensate for exchange rate fluctuations between the time of notification and the transfer of funds?
We will not make up for any loss in the value of the US dollar during the above period. If you wish to have control over the timing of conversion from US dollars to your local currency, you are kindly requested to designate a US-dollar-denominated bank account so that the timing of conversion will be at your discretion.
Q4. What bank information should I ascertain in advance so I can receive the funds on time?
If you use a bank located in the EU, you are requested to provide an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) instead of an ordinary bank account number. If you use a bank located in the United States, you are requested to provide an ABA (American Bankers Association) Routing number of your bank. No matter where your bank is located, you are requested to provide a SWIFT Code of your bank, name of the bank, its branch name and address including postal code, and bank account number (except when you have an IBAN). Additionally, you should check with your bank to confirm whether it can receive funds “directly” from MUFG Bank (SWIFT code: BOTKJPJT), from which we will transfer the funds. If it cannot, please ask your bank to designate an intermediary bank and identify its name and SWIFT Code.

Accounting

Q1. Should I submit an expenditure report with invoices, receipts, etc.?
Having a record of your expenditures may come in handy, but we will not request recipients to submit such a report.
Close

For Inquiries:

Please read the FAQ at section 8 or send email with [COVID-19 Relief 2021: name of your home Sylff institution] in the subject line to:

sylff[a]tkfd.or.jp (replace [a] with @)

 

TOP