Outline of Adopting Sustainable Partnerships for Innovative Research Ecosystem (ASPIRE)

What are the goals of ASPIRE?

ASPIRE is a research support program designed to:

  • Build a network among the world's top research talent.
  • Promote Japan’s participation in the international top research community.
  • Nurture and mobilize future research leaders.

The Adopting Sustainable Partnerships for Innovative Research Ecosystem (ASPIRE) program aims to maintain and improve Japan's scientific and technological capabilities, to connect top researchers in Japan and advanced STI countries and regions through international joint research, and to accelerate talent circulation across the world. We aim to promote pioneering R&D, as well as nurture and mobilize the next generation of research leaders.

Implementation of ASPIRE

JST, which oversees ASPIRE, conducts calls with countries/regions in priority research fields that are designated by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). JST is assisted by experts such as: the Program Director (PD) who provides general advice and oversees the selection, promotion, and evaluation of proposals; Program Officers (PO) who play a central role in the selection, promotion, and evaluation of proposals in each of ASPIRE's target fields; Advisors (AD) who assist the POs and provide advice on specialized matters.

Program Director (PD) Introduction Program Officer (PO) Introduction

Implementation of open calls for international joint research

JST holds calls for research proposals in the following categories, with an aim to promote international joint research, international talent mobility and circulation, and to achieve the objectives of the ASPIRE program.

Call for Japan based researchers Joint call
ASPIRE for Top Scientists ASPIRE for Rising Scientists
Researchers conducting internationally top-level research. Researchers who are expected to accumulate international research achievements and become top researchers in Japan in the future. Researchers who can conduct top-level research internationally and make joint proposals with researchers from partner countries.
Research fields AI & Information, Biotechnology, Energy, Materials, Quantum, Semiconductors, and Telecommunications.
Partner countries and regions Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, EU, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US
Support scale Up to 380 million yen (up to 500 million yen if indirect costs are included, which are 30% of direct costs). Up to 69 million yen (up to 90 million yen if indirect costs are included, which are 30% of direct costs). In consultation with the funding agency of the partner country (up to 500 million yen including indirect costs).
Period of support 5 years 3 years 3 ~ 5 years

* Please also refer to the section "Eligible call applicants".

Difference between call types

  • Call for Japan based researchers:

    JST independently holds calls for proposals for projects involving Japan based researchers and researchers from eligible partner countries/regions. JST will evaluate the submitted proposals and provide funding to the Japan based researchers in the selected projects. For proposals to be eligible, the counterpart researchers in the partner countries/regions must have received or will receive funding from a local funding agency (FA). However JST cannot guarantee that researchers in the partner country will receive any additional funding for the ASPIRE project from the local FA.

  • Joint call:

    JST holds calls for proposals in direct collaboration with counterpart FAs and other organizations in eligible partner countries/regions. Call themes are decided within the research fields covered by ASPIRE with the partner FAs, and submitted proposals are jointly evaluated. For the jointly selected projects JST supports the researchers in Japan, and partner FAs support the researchers in their respective countries/regions.

Eligible call applicants

In addition to supporting international research collaborations, the ASPIRE program supports efforts to encourage Japan based researchers to join top research circles and continue to be active in the world. Applicants to the open calls are expected to lead not only the planning of research activities, but also talent exchange and human resource development activities that contribute to the purpose of the ASPIRE program.

Principal investigators who are eligible to apply for "ASPIRE for Top Scientists" and the Joint Call

Researchers who already have an outstanding research record both domestically and internationally as top researchers in their field, who have received ample research funds from other contract research funds, etc., and who will lead international collaborative research that meets the objectives of the program.

Principal investigators who are eligible to apply for the "ASPIRE for Rising Scientists"

Researchers who already have obtained the necessary funding and independent research environment for their research, and who are expected to become top researchers in the future.