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Sylff Research Grant

Notification of selection outcome was sent out on October 3. Please contact the Sylff Association secretariat if you did not receive the notification letter. We are currently accepting bank information from successful applicants.

Sylff Research Grant (SRG) is a support program for fellows who are currently enrolled in a doctoral program or are within three years of having earned a PhD and are at an early stage in their careers.

The grant aims to encourage Sylff fellows to engage in high quality academic research that will become valuable assets for their future career development and to help them overcome any pandemic-related setbacks.

The Call for Applications is available in PDF file and text versions (below).

Call for Applications for FY2022

1. Eligibility

The applicant must meet either of the following conditions:

  1. He/she is a current or past recipient of a Sylff fellowship.
  2. He/she is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at any institution of higher learning or received a doctorate on or after April 1, 2019.

The following persons are NOT eligible:

  • Master’s degree students.
  • Those who acquired their doctorate before April 1, 2019.
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2. Research Activities

  1. SRG supports research activities whose primary objective falls into one or several of the following categories:
    • Data collection for use in a dissertation or database
    • Document collection and research
    • Meetings with experts or subjects/collaborators of research (interviews, discussions, etc.)
    • Domestic fieldwork conducted by the applicant
    • Fieldwork in a foreign country conducted by local assistants hired by the applicant
  2. It does NOT cover expenses in “preparation” for research (auditing of courses, attendance at seminars and academic conferences, etc.) or for the “publication” of outcomes (holding conferences, delivering presentations at academic conferences, writing papers, publishing books, etc.).
  3. In view of the remaining COVID-related restrictions and to ensure safety and fairness, SRG may NOT be used to cover expenses for travel to a foreign country under any circumstances.
  4. This grant supports research activities conducted during the period between October 15, 2022, and September 30, 2023.
  5. Although SRG is designed to support rigorous academic research, applicants are encouraged to utilize the outcomes from such activities to bring about positive social change.
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3. Award

An award of up to US$5,000 is provided per successful applicant.

  1. Eligible expenses:

    Category (A): Travel expenses

    • Domestic transportation and accommodation expenses for the applicant
    • Transportation and accommodation expenses for locally hired research assistant(s)

    Category (B): Personnel costs

    • Honoraria paid to research assistant(s) in the country of research
    • Honoraria paid to expert(s)

    Category (C): Outsourcing fees

    • Outsourcing costs for professional data collection conducted on a large-scale or in foreign countries and requiring technical skills the applicant may not possess or for statistical data analysis/calculation requiring the use of sophisticated software that the applicant may not have the capacity to use.
      ※In the case of the above, applicants should specify the professional entity to which they wish to outsource these tasks and the reasons why outsourcing is necessary. The Sylff Association secretariat retains the right to reject any requests it deems inappropriate.

    Category (D): Research material costs

    • Access to archives, databases, corpora, and other information sources (no more than for one year in case of license subscriptions)
    • Purchase of documents and books (no more than 10% of the total budget)

    Category (E): Equipment rental fees

    • Rental and leasing costs for research equipment to be used specifically for the proposed research period

    Category (F): Miscellaneous expenses

    • Photocopy costs (no more than 5% of the total budget)
    • Communication costs for online interview(s) (paid accounts/memberships, wi-fi, etc.)
  2. The following expenses may not be paid for with an SRG award:
    • Honoraria and per diem payments for the applicant himself/herself
    • Book publication fees
    • Database construction and online resource development
    • Proofreading and translation fees to publish papers and books
    • Purchase of equipment and consumables
    • Participation fees for academic conferences and academic societies
    • Fees for the auditing of courses and seminars
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4. Application

Applications should be completed in English.

In principle, applications must be submitted via the online system, which can be accessed only during the application period. Please be sure to submit all required information by the respective deadlines, which are indicated in Japan Standard Time (JST). Applications sent by email or those that are either incomplete or late will not be considered. All applicants are required to read “5. Screening and Evaluation Criteria” carefully prior to submitting their applications.

There are two steps in completing the application process.


FIRST STEP: Preliminary registration

The first step is preliminary registration. The applicant should provide the following basic information about himself/herself via the online form between June 1, 2022, and June 30, 2022, 11:59 p.m. JST.

[Required Information]

  • Applicant’s name (first name, family name)
  • Regularly used email address
  • Name of applicant’s home Sylff institution
  • The first year of applicant’s Sylff fellowship period
  • Applicant’s status (A. enrolled in a doctoral program; B. received doctoral degree within past 3 years)
  • If B, date the degree was conferred
  • Applicant’s current affiliation and title

SECOND STEP: Application submission

After screening the basic information provided in the first step, eligible applicants will be informed of a web link enabling them to proceed to the second step to submit their formal applications via an electronic application system.

The system will be open from mid-July 2022 to August 19, 2022, 11:59 p.m. JST


[Applicants Must Submit the Following]

  1. Research proposal (prescribed form containing the following information)
    • Research orientation category: “academic contribution” or “social contribution”
    • Title of research project (max. 30 words)
    • Total research period (must be between October 15, 2022, and September 30, 2023)
    • Research questions and research objectives (max. 100 words)
    • Applicants are required to state:
      • Key scientific question(s) to be addressed, along with relevant context
      • Significance of the proposed research and its position in the relevant field
    • Research plan and implementation period
      Category Research plan
      (max. 100 words per category)
      Implementation
      period (MM/YYYY)
      (1) Documentary research
      (2) Data collection and analysis
      (3) Fieldwork
      (4) Online activities
      (5) Others
    • Expected research outcomes (max. 100 words)
      Applicants should state the expected research results and outputs in line with the research objective and research plan.
    • Social engagement activities or nonacademic achievements, if any (max. 100 words)
      Please describe applicant’s involvement in social engagement activities or nonacademic achievements related to his/her field of specialization.
  2. Proposed budget (prescribed form)
  3. A letter of recommendation from an academic authority with a good understanding of applicant’s research proposal (academic supervisor, expert, etc.) (prescribed form)

    The letter should be scanned and submitted in PDF or JPEG format. It should have a digital or physical signature of the recommender and refer to the significance of the applicant’s research project. References other than the above will not be relevant to the evaluation.
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5. Screening and Evaluation Criteria

The Sylff Association secretariat will first screen applicant’s eligibility following preliminary registration. Only those who are eligible for the program will be invited to submit their formal applications.

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Applications and all required information are provided by the deadline.
  • Applications are completed in the requested format.
  • Applications adhere to the word limit.
  • Application questions are answered in a logical, reasonable manner.
  • Applications are written in a manner that can be understood by nonspecialists.
  • The proposal is intended to address clear research questions.
  • The research objective is stated clearly and logically.
  • The research plan is feasible.
  • The proposed research has academic and/or social significance.
  • The proposed budget is appropriate and in accordance with the research plan.
  • The applicant is socially engaged and has leadership potential.

The Sylff Association secretariat will not consider applications if they are:

  • Turned in late
  • Not accompanied by required documents
  • Raise ethical concerns (use of slurs or other inappropriate expressions)
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6. Schedule

  • Announcement of the Call for Applications: June 1, 2022
  • Preliminary registration: June 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022, 11:59 p.m. JST
  • Eligibility notification: mid-July 2022
  • Application submission: mid-July 2022 – August 19, 2022, 11:59 p.m. JST
  • Notification of selection outcomes: early October 2022
    (Successful applicants may start their proposed research after receiving this notification.)
  • Disbursement of funds: End of November 2022
    • An agreement shall be signed between the awardee and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research (Sylff Association secretariat) for award disbursement.
    • The award will be remitted by the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research to the bank account designated by the awardee.

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7. Post-Support Requirements

  1. All awardees must submit narrative and financial reports along with associated receipts within 30 days after the completion of the proposed research.
  2. Recipients are asked to cooperate with the Sylff Association’s public relations activities, agreeing to have their name, photo, and program report (either in full or in part) published on the Sylff website and/or in print publications.
  3. 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/.
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8. FAQs

[Eligibility]

1.
I was selected as a Sylff fellow for the coming semester, which starts in fall 2022. Am I eligible?
1.
No. Eligibility for SRG is determined based on an applicant’s status during the preliminary registration period (June 1 to June 30, 2022), which means that the fellowship period must begin by June 30, 2022, at the latest. Unfortunately, those whose fellowship period begins after this date are not eligible.
2.
I received a Sylff fellowship during my master’s course and will be enrolled in a doctoral program in September 2022. Am I eligible?
2.
No. Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program by June 30, 2022, at the latest, to be eligible for SRG. Please refer to the “1. Eligibility” section of the SRG page on the Sylff website for details.
3.
I earned my doctoral degree after April 1, 2019, but I am currently not affiliated with any institution of higher learning. Am I eligible?
3.
Yes. You are eligible as long as you earned your doctoral degree on or after April 1, 2019, and are a current or past Sylff fellowship recipient, regardless of your current affiliation status.
4.
Why are master’s students not eligible?
4.
The aim of SRG is to support research that can be expected to lead to a high level of expertise within a field of specialization. For this reason, eligibility is limited to research conducted by doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers.
5.
Why am I not eligible if I earned my doctoral degree before April 1, 2019?
5.
SRG is intended to support researchers who are at the initial stages of their career development and seek to produce outcomes that will improve their standing in their respective disciplines. We have defined “researchers who are at the initial stages of career development” as those who obtained their doctoral degree within three years, and April 1 has been set as the cutoff date since it is the start of the fiscal year in Japan.
6.
I have received an award from another Sylff Support Program. Am I still eligible?
6.
Yes. You may apply for SRG even if you have already received an award from a separate Sylff Support Program.

[Research Activities]

1.
Some countries have eased COVID restrictions on foreign travel. Will SRG support research to be conducted in a foreign country?
1.
No. At present, the Sylff Association secretariat does not advocate traveling to a foreign country due to safety and health concerns. In the interest of fairness among fellows, research involving travel to a foreign country will not be eligible.
2.
I understand that SRG supports research conducted between October 15, 2022, and September 30, 2023. Will it support research implemented beyond this period?
2.
No. SRG may be used to cover research expenses incurred between October 15, 2022, and September 30, 2023. Please read (1) Eligible Expenses under 3. Awards of the Call for Applications for details on the expenses that SRG will cover.

[Awards]

1.
My research budget exceeds US$5,000. May I combine an SRG grant with other grants to cover the shortfall?
1.
Yes. Cost-sharing with other programs is encouraged if your research budget exceeds US$5,000. Please report any additional sources of funding in your proposed budget.
2.
Can I use SRG to pay for meals?
2.
As a rule, no. But fees for meals may be included in the honoraria paid to research assistants or experts with whom you conduct an interview.
3.
May I purchase a tablet or other digital hardware required for my research?
3.
No. However, SRG may be used to cover rental fees for such devises.
4.
May I use part of the SRG grant to cover my personal living expenses during the research period?
4.
No. Per diem payment is permitted for research assistants but not for the applicant him/herself.
5.
In what currency will the grant be transferred?
5.
The grant will be sent in US dollars. Please be sure that your bank account can accept US dollars and international wire transfers.
6.
Do I need to pay the remittance charge?
6.
Remittance fees will be borne by the Sylff Association secretariat (the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research), but fellows should cover other remittance-related charges, such as taxes and receipt fees.
7.
Will the Sylff Association secretariat compensate for exchange rate fluctuations between the time of notification and the transfer of funds?
7.
No. We will not make up for any losses in the value of the US dollar during the above period. If you wish to control 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.
8.
Is it possible to move up the timing of payment from the end of November 2022, as outlined in the application guidelines? I need the money before then to undertake preparations for my research.
8.
No. The end of November 2022 will be the earliest date that we can transfer the grant to the awardees. We will not be able to make early payments for any reason.

[Applications]

1.
I am looking at the SRG web page but cannot find the link to access the site where I should submit my formal application.
1.
The URL to access the online system is sent exclusively to applicants who have been confirmed as eligible for an SRG during the preliminary registration step. If you have been informed that you are eligible, please find the URL in the notification email.
2.
I cannot access the online application site with the URL that was provided. What should I do?
2.
Please contact the Sylff Association secretariat at sylff[a]tkfd.or.jp (replace [a] with @).
3.
May I provide the additional information requested on the application form by email because my text exceeds the prescribed number of words?
3.
No. Only information submitted through the online system will be accepted and screened. Please keep your comments to within the prescribed number of words specified for each section.
4.
My referee is not responding to requests for a letter of recommendation, so my application will be late due to circumstances beyond my control. Can I still submit an application?
4.
No. Late applications will not be accepted for any reason. We encourage the applicant to start preparations ahead of schedule. All requested information must be submitted by the deadline to be considered for screening.
5.
I was unable to pre-register for SRG because I wasn’t aware of the program before the deadline for preliminary registration. Can I still proceed to submit a formal application?
5.
No. Those who did not complete the preliminary registration process before the deadline will not be invited to submit a formal application under any circumstances. Please be sure that your email account is set up to receive news and other updates from the Sylff Association secretariat.
6.
I am going to use data from my proposed research for a policy proposal to improve the living conditions of the local community. Does that mean I should choose the category of “social contribution” as the orientation of my research in my formal application?
6.
Yes. Research that falls into the “social contribution” category of research orientation includes those intended to benefit society. If the results from research are to be used for a policy proposal, seek solutions for a social issue, address a social problem, and so on, such research can be said to belong in the “social contribution” category.
7.
I want to revise my application after it has already been submitted. Will it be accepted?
7.
No. Only the first submission will be reviewed, although the form itself can be accessed after submission.

[Selection criteria]

1.
What criteria will be used to select successful applicants?
1.
The applications of eligible applicants will be evaluated based on adherence to application guidelines and quality of the application information. For details, please read 5. Evaluation and Screening Criteria. Please note that any deviations from the guidelines may negatively impact the result of the screening.
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Inquiries:

Please read the FAQ at section 8 or send an email with [SRG] in the subject line to:
sylff[a]tkfd.or.jp (replace [a] with @).

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