Research and Funding Opportunities in Japan

Due to extensive partnerships in Japan, both graduate and undergraduate students have a great variety of research and funding opportunities for future studies. Stellenbosch, South African, or African students and scholars may be eligible depending on the partnership or funding scheme.

JSPS-NRF Research Mobility Programme

The JSPS-NRF joint mobility call is a popular option for bilateral research collaboration between South African and Japanese scholars. Funding covers costs of exchange mobility for scholars, equipment and consumables for experiments, and events such as workshops, seminars, and networking opportunities. The 19th JSPS-NRF joint mobility call was launched in 2022.

Eligible nationalitiesJapan & South Africa
Eligible participantsResearchers, doctorates, and post-doctorates
Fields of interestSocial sciences, natural sciences, and humanities
Funding duration2 years maximum
Funding provision per project
(subject to change)
NRF (SA): 450,000 ZAR p.a.
JSPS (JPN): 2,500,000 JPY p.a. Additional resources should be requested from home institutions.
Expected call schedule
(subject to change)
July Mobility call launch August: Research proposal deadline December-January: Successful candidates announced February: Funded research commences

AJ-CORE Programme

The AJ-Core Programme is a research collaboration effort to improve the bilateral relationship between Japan and South Africa and multilateral research diplomacy with another African country.

Eligible nationalitiesJapan, South Africa, and one other African country [1]  

[1] These African countries include: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
Eligible participants

South African PIs and co-PIs must have a PhD and be affiliated with a recognized South African public tertiary education or research institution.  

Researchers affiliated with private organisations and NGOs are welcome to be part of the consortium but cannot serve as a PI.  

PIs are encouraged to include a doctorate or post-doctorate student in the team.
Fields of interestEnvironmental science
Funding duration3 years maximum
Funding provision per projectNRF (SA): 600,000 ZAR p.a. JST (JPN): 6,000,000 JPY p.a. Additional funds will be requested from the third participating country and their affiliated national research institution.
Expected call deadline (2024)To be announced

MEXT Research Scholarship

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of the Japanese Government offers a scholarship opportunity to undergraduate and postgraduate students. The MEXT scholarship is intended to promote the mobility of students across the globe to study at Japanese universities. The following pertains to graduate students:

Eligible nationalitiesAny country holding diplomatic relations with Japan
Eligible participantsMaster, doctorate, and post-doctorate students
Fields of interestAny field of study in which the student majored
Traditional entertainment arts are excluded Clinical training will be restricted until a relevant license is acquired
Funding durationDepends on the duration of the prospective course.
Funding provisionRound-trip, visa, and examination costs Tuition fees Allowance of around 140,000 JPY p.m.
Application deadline (2024)Friday 17 May 2024

ABE Initiative 3.0

The third version of the African Business Education initiative was announced at the TICAD 7 conference in 2019. The programme promised to provide 3,000 graduate African youths with opportunities to study and intern in Japanese institutions and organisations over 6 years.

Eligible nationalitiesAny of the 54 African countries
Eligible participantsMaster students
Fields of interestAny field of research
Funding durationTwo and a half to three years
Funding provisionRound-trip, visa, and examination costs Tuition fees Allowance of around 145,000 JPY p.m. Outfit allowance of around 100,000 JPY once Moving allowance of around 160,000 JPY once Research support expenses of 360,000 JPY p.a.
Application deadline (subject to change)Around October each year.

Sakura Science

The Japan Science and Technology Agency commenced the Sakura Science Program to invite skilled youths for short-term visits to Japan. The Sakura Science Programme aims to promote human resource development, multilateral collaboration, and aid science and technology diplomacy.

Eligible nationalitiesAll countries and regions
Eligible participantsHigh school, university, postgraduate, and technical college students
Fields of interestSocial sciences Natural sciences Humanities
Funding durationDepends on the period of application
Funding provisionAirfare Living costs Admission fees for museums and other facilities Expenses to cover essential events
Application deadline (subject to change)Depends on the relevant period


The Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development promotes multilateral research between Japan and developing countries to resolve global issues. The JST, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), and JICA facilitate the programme.

Research proposal guidelines:

Application PeriodAround September to October annually
Research FieldsEnvironment/energy
Carbon neutrality
Disaster prevention and mitigation
Research Period3 to 5 years from official starting date
FundingApproximately 100 million JPY per project per year