Sylff Research Abroad without Overseas Travel for FY2021

The awardees for the SRA without Overseas Travel for fiscal 2021 has been finalized. The information regarding application listed below is left for your reference.

Sylff Research Abroad is a support program for fellows who are currently enrolled in a doctoral program. Because some international borders remain closed and global travel restrictions are still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sylff Association is making a call for applications for SRA projects in fiscal 2021 that do not require fellows themselves to travel overseas.

These SRA 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.
* Applicants who cannot find an appropriate referee to write a letter of reference may submit an alternative document, as explained in “Section 3. Application and Selection” section of this page (updated October 25, 2021).

The Sylff Association will provide a maximum of US$3,000 per successful applicant.
* Please note that the grant cannot be used to cover the per diem expenses of the applicant himself/herself (updated October 12, 2021). Refer to “4. Awards” section of this page for details.

The Call for Applications is available in PDF file and text versions (below). Please note that the application form and related documents are available in the text version only. Download these documents from the links in section 3 (Application and Selection) on this page.


Call for Applications for FY 2021


1. Research Activities 

  1. The proposed research in a foreign country must be academic and non-degree in nature and be directly related to the doctoral dissertation being prepared at the fellow’s home institution. The research can be conducted in any foreign country through such alternative strategies as hiring research assistant(s) to conduct fieldwork or organizing virtual meetings.

  2. When the proposed research consists mainly of fieldwork, it may be conducted in conjunction with a foreign institution of higher learning, research institute, think tank, non-governmental organization, or private firm, but the fellow is not required to seek the support of such an organization.

  3. The primary objective of the proposed research should, as a rule, be one of the following:
    • Data and resource collection
    • Interviews and fieldwork
    • Discussions with experts in a foreign country

2. Eligibility 

The applicant should fulfill 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.
(3) He/she wishes to undertake research related to his/her PhD dissertation in another country.

The following persons are NOT eligible:                 

  • Fellows who are visiting/staying/living in the country that is the subject of research anytime between the application and the notification of the selection outcome.
  • Fellows who, in the past, received an SRA or Sylff Fellows Mobility Program (FMP) award as a doctoral student.
  • Master’s degree candidates.


    • Sylff fellows who are currently enrolled in master’s program are encouraged to apply for SRA when they proceed to a PhD program at any institution of higher learning.
    • Those whose Sylff fellowships were for overseas research may apply, combining such fellowships with an SRA award to enrich their original research plan.

3. Application and Selection

An application should include the following:

    1. A confirmation letter from the Sylff steering committee at the institution where the applicant received a Sylff fellowship (prescribed form downloadable as Word file)

    2. Application form (prescribed form downloadable as Word file. Describe in detail what strategies will be used to undertake the proposed academic research without the applicant traveling overseas.)

    3. A letter of recommendation from an academic supervisor at the home institution (prescribed form downloadable as Word file), to be provided directly to the Sylff Association by the supervisor.

    4. A letter of reference from the applicant’s counterpart or professional in the foreign country who will cooperate with the applicant in conducting research and who can assess the relevance of the applicant’s research (no prescribed form, but it must be written on the referee’s letterhead).
      * Those applicants who cannot find an appropriate referee should submit some form of validation regarding the relevance and feasibility of the proposed research to their doctoral dissertation. This may be a record of your communication with interviewees or research assistant or with the institutions where your research assistant will conduct research. There is no specified format, but the submitted form must validate the relevance of the research to your doctoral dissertation. Please translate all your submissions into English if the original forms are written in other languages.

    5. Tentative research schedule (sample downloadable as Excel file)

    6. Proposed budget (prescribed form downloadable as Excel file)

    7. Curriculum vitae in English (up to 3 pages)


    IMCOMPLETE OR LATE APPLICATIONS WILL BE REJECTED UNCONDITIONALLY. The applicant will be notified immediately of the rejection. The application forms will not be returned.
    All application documents must be in English and typed. No handwritten documents will be accepted.

    • An application form is accepted only when the following conditions are met:
      • It includes information on the doctoral dissertation and research proposal with a BIBLIOGRAPHY of the works on which the applicant’s research is based.
      • It is submitted as an MS Word document.

    You are requested to write about your doctoral dissertation and research proposal, as well as your nonacademic, leadership achievements. Information on these matters should be as specific as possible. The information provided will not be considered positively if it lacks sufficient detail.

    • Plagiarism will be severely penalized. If found, the applicant will be excluded from  the Sylff program entirely, that is, he/she will not be eligible for this or any other support services provided by the Association. If the violation is revealed after the disbursement of the award, the violator will be required to return the award to the Association within 30 days of the notification of the violation. The Association will immediately inform the Sylff institutions of the violation. Other penalties relating to this violation may be determined and imposed by these institutions.

    • All application documents, except the letter of recommendation from the academic supervisor at the home institution, are to be emailed to the Association by the applicant. The letter of recommendation should be emailed by the academic supervisor. There is no need to submit the documents by postal mail.

    • The SRA award will be based on the accumulation of anticipated expenditures; it will not be approved as a lump sum. The Association may ask the applicant to revise the budget, even after the research proposal has been approved. When there is unused money after the completion of research and the filing of reports to the Association, the participant must refund the amount to the Association.


    The Sylff Association secretariat will screen applicants for eligibility, feasibility of the proposed research, and relevance to current academic pursuits, as well as for the significance of the research in addressing social issues. 


    4. Awards

    An award of up to US$3,000 is provided per participant.


    • The award may be used to cover the following expenses: personnel costs for locally hired research assistant(s), including local transportation, accommodations, research-related materials, and archive research or information access fees. (The applicant must explain the details of locally hired research assistant(s) in the application form, including name, position, job level or complexity of the position, and working hours specifically allocated to the proposed fieldwork or equivalent in the country.)
    • It cannot be used for per diem payments to the applicant himself/herself or the purchase of goods and products that were already bought before applying for this SRA and that were NOT bought specifically for the purpose of undertaking the proposed academic research activities, including computers and computer software, refundable deposits, contingency funds, and unspecified miscellaneous items.
    • Selected applicants will be asked to provide information on a bank account that accepts international wire transfers.

    5. Schedule

    Applications are accepted as specified below. Applications should be sent to the Association secretariat by email not later than the following deadline (Japan Standard Time).

    Application deadline:                         23:59, Sunday, 31 October 2021 (JST)
    Notification of selection outcomes:  By the end of November 2021
    (Successful applicants may start their proposed research after receiving this notification.)
    Disbursement of the awards:             End of January 2022


    • The Sylff fellow is responsible for all communication and arrangements with the prospective counterpart or research cooperators, as well as with the Association.
    • Assistance from the Sylff steering committee would, however, be appreciated.
    • The selected Sylff fellows are responsible for providing the information requested within the timeframe set by the Association.
    • An Agreement shall be signed between the selected Sylff fellow and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research (which serves as the Association secretariat) for award disbursement.
    • The award will be remitted by the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research to the bank account designated by the applicant.


    6. Post-SRA Requirements

    • All participants must submit final program and financial reports within 60 days after the proposed academic activities in a foreign country. (A prescribed form will be provided by the SRA coordinator. All receipts of expenses paid with the SRA award must be submitted as an integral part of the financial report.)
    • Recipients are asked to cooperate with SRA’s public relations activities, agreeing to have their name, photo, and program report (either in full or in part) published on Sylff’s website and/or in print publications.
    • 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

    7. Others


    Awardees and Reports

    Awardees and Reports

    The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research is pleased to announce the following awardess of SRA without Overseas Travel 2021. 

    Awardees in 2021 (SRA without Overseas Travel)


    * * *

    Please be sure to read this page in the original language (English), not just as a translation using the “Translate” function. The Sylff Association does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of the translation, which is offered through Google Translate for reference purposes only.

    Inquiries should be directed to:
    Sylff Association secretariat
    Attn: SRA Coordinator
    Email: sylff[a] ([a] must be replaced by @)
    The Sylff Association will accept inquiries related to this program via email ONLY.