JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship programme 2022

JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellow
Tokyo, Japan
UTC +9

Jointly organised by the United Nations University and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is designed to provide promising, highly qualified, young researchers with the opportunity to conduct advanced research in sustainability in co-operation with host researchers at Japanese universities and research institutions.

The UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS, Tokyo) acts as the nominating authority for the JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme. This fellowship is aimed at candidates who have completed their doctorates in the past six years and also have professional and/or research experience.

Fellowships are awarded for a period of 24 months. Applicants must hold a doctoral degree (received on or after 2 April 2015) when the fellowship begins, or be scheduled to receive a doctoral degree before the fellowship begins. Japanese nationals are not eligible, nor are those of dual nationality if one is Japanese. In addition, those who have permanent residency in Japan are not eligible. Those who have previously been awarded a Standard or Pathway Fellowship under the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research in Japan are not eligible.

Terms of the Award

  1. A round-trip air ticket (based on JSPS regulations)
  2. A monthly maintenance allowance of JPY 362,000
  3. A settling-in allowance of JPY 200,000 (based on JSPS regulations)
  4. Overseas travel, accident, and sickness insurance coverage, etc.


  • The amounts of the awards indicated above are subject to change by JSPS.
  • In the case that a Fellow is already residing in Japan before his/her fellowship starts or obtains resident status before his/her fellowship is designated to begin, the above-mentioned air ticket to Japan and settling-in allowance will not be provided.
  • A research grant, “Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research”, is available to cover cooperative research-related expenses. Application for these grants is made by the host researcher through his/her institution.

JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme 2022

Under this programme fellows conduct research relevant to one or more of the main thematic focus areas of UNU-IAS: sustainable societies, natural capital & biodiversity, and global change & resilience.

Research proposals for JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowships should relate clearly to one of the specific research areas of UNU-IAS listed below. The proposed research must be policy-relevant and incorporate gender issues within the research agenda:

  • Water and Resource Management
  • Innovation and Education
  • Biodiversity and Society
  • Strategic Programme

Water and Resource Management

This programme will implement activities in the thematic area “Water & Resource Management” (WRM). It aims to lead policy research to transform water management systems by promoting decarbonized, circular economy, enhancing resilience through decentralized natural resource management, and developing an integrated water resources management (IWRM) approach. It will promote smart, innovative, and community-based sustainable water management by strengthening research collaboration between local researchers and practitioners to explore alternative water resources. The WRM programme will strengthen results-based management of research and project activities through development of KPIs on multiple-use water services, supporting local actions and development plans. It will also contribute to the UN World Water Development Report, and enhance outreach through partnerships with other UN organizations.

Required qualifications:

  • A PhD degree (no ABDs) in a related field, including, but not limited to water environmental science or engineering, economics, economic policy, quantitative economics, or related field
  • Ability to design, implement, and summaries desk work and field research
  • Excellent command of English, both oral and written
  • Strong organizational skills and a team-player ethos

Innovation and Education

This programme will implement activities in the thematic area “Innovation &Education”. It will reinforce evidence-based policy advice to translate global goals into innovative Education for

Sustainable Development (ESD) programmes by creating a consolidating reporting system for valid data collection and analysis. It will also provide policy advice on ICT-supported lifelong learning that promotes ESD. The programme will strengthen the capacity of UNU-IAS regional and global networks including Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research (ProSPER.Net) and Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE), enhancing partnerships with other UNU institutes as well as other UN agencies. It plans to design and deliver inclusive education contents and curriculums using digital technology.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD degree (no ABDs) from a range of disciplines including but not limited to education and/or environmental policy, as well as experience in working with the social sciences and environmental sciences
  • Demonstrated research and communication skills in similar areas
  • Preferred research focus on biodiversity, climate change, and/or sustainable consumption and production in education and/or institutional and organizational challenges to incorporate ESD into higher education activities
  • Ability to design, implement, and summaries research involving both desk work and fieldwork
  • Fluency in English writing and speaking is essential; a working knowledge of other languages is desirable with a preference for French, Japanese, and/or Spanish.

Biodiversity and Society

The selected Fellow will conduct research on social-ecological systems to contribute to policy relevant discussions on biodiversity conservation and landscape management. The research should be linked to the concept of the Satoyama Initiative which aims to realize societies in harmony with nature by promoting sustainable production activities and natural resource management. The focus includes multiple benefits of production landscapes and seascapes and their linkages with human well-being, and solutions to various challenges they are facing from social, economic and environmental perspectives. The research is also expected to contribute to the Satoyama Initiative’s efforts in supporting global initiatives such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as enhancing local and regional management practices for sustainability.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD degree (no ABDs) in a field related to applied social or environmental sciences, including but not limited to environmental policy, development studies, ecosystem management, environmental economics and landscape planning;
  • Demonstrated research skills and a sound record of publication in similar areas;
  • Ability to design and implement research involving fieldwork;
  • Fluency in English is essential, and a working knowledge of other languages is desirable


Strategic Programme

Strategic Programme is a new flagship programme implemented by the Strategy and Management Office (SMO) in collaboration with Units of Thematic Programmes of the Institute as well as multi-stakeholders such as local governments and the private sector under its Strategic Period 2020-2024. The Strategic Programme implements a research project on the governance on the SDGs, including monitoring and evaluation on the multiple benefits related to SDGs delivered from implementation of major environmental actions, procurement for SDGs, and sustainable finance. The Strategic Programme also implements policy-oriented research activities related to 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development such as synergies between climate change and SDGs.

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. either in Public Administration, or in Business Administration, or in Environmental Studies or equivalent field of study
  • Demonstrated research skills and a sound record of publications in relevant thematic areas
  • Ability to communicate and outreach knowledge on research into policy and framework development among the stakeholders
  • Fluency in English is essential, and a working knowledge of other languages is desirable