１. Q&A about invitation
- How many projects have been selected so far, and what sort of projects are they?
A total of 179 international joint research projects have been selected for this program so far
（(including projects in Infectious Diseases Control field）.
- Selected Year
- Number of Projects Selected
- Selected Year
- Number of Projects Selected
Please refer to the following website for an overview of each research project:
- What are the main changes in the FY2023 Invitation for Research Proposals compared to the previous FY?
The main changes in the FY2023 Invitation for Research Proposals are listed at the following website:
- From FY2023, applications may be allocated to a research area within the Environment and Energy research field for screening. Will the applicant be informed of the result of this allocation before the selection process?
- You will not be informed before the selection process. You will be notified together with the results of the document screening.
- Following the change whereby applications to the two research areas that come under the Environment and Energy research field are received under a single category, are there any points to note when making an application via e-Rad, or any changes from the previous procedure?
- When searching e-Rad for the Call for Applications, please use the search term 令和５年度 環境・エネルギー研究分野 and chose the call for FY2023. Unlike until FY2022, a search for the name of the research area alone will not display any search results.
- How are the effects of COVID-19 being taken into consideration? How are JST and JICA handling the matter?
- In principle, the Japanese researcher actively goes to the partner country to conduct international joint research, but if there is the possibility that travel to the partner country or the conduct of research in that country may be restricted, please consider how international joint research can be conducted under circumstances when travel is impossible, and take these into account in planning (such as alternative proposals for communication and training via remote systems). Also, as a rule, the interim period (see "3.1 Interim period") following provisional selection, in other words, the period during which the R/D and CRA are signed, will extend to the end of the fiscal year in which the project would be implemented, but flexibility will be used in the handling of proposals, including possibly allowing extensions of the interim period depending on the circumstances. During project evaluation (Mid-Term Evaluation and Terminal Evaluation), the evaluation will be conducted while taking into consideration the effects of COVID-19, if necessary.
２. Q&A about Implementation Structure in Japan
（１）Principal investigator and lead joint researcher(s)
- Can a post-doc submit an application as principal investigator?
- A Post-doc cannot apply as principal investigator or lead joint researcher.
- Can a researcher who is not a Japanese national submit an application as principal investigator?
- As long as he or she is affiliated with a research institution in Japan, a non-Japanese national researcher can apply as principal investigator. Depending on the country of dispatch, however, the researcher may not be eligible for rights and exemptions imparted by treaties and other agreements with the partner country, including tax exemptions and legal immunity.
- Can a part-time staff member (visiting researcher, etc.) submit an application as principal investigator?
- This is possible if the researcher can provide an implementation structure at a research institution in Japan for the duration of the research period. Whether it is possible to make an agreement and sign a contract with the research institution for the part-time staff member to be principal investigator depends on the contractual relationship between the research institution and the part-time staff member.
- On the premise that research will be implemented at the counterpart institution, can a Japanese national resident outside Japan submit an application as principal investigator?
- In principle, this is not permitted. The program envisages a principal investigator based in Japan and the institution he or she is affiliated with conducting joint research with a principal investigator based in the partner country and the institution he or she is affiliated with.
（２）Participants other than the principal investigator and the lead joint researchers
- Can post-doc students or graduate school or similar students participate in the research project?
- Postdoctoral research fellows and graduate students can take on specific roles in the research project, and by being listed as research participants in the research plan documents, can participate as members in the project. Undergraduate students can also participate under similar conditions as part of the process of nurturing excellent researchers in Japan. Because of their status as students, graduate students and undergraduates cannot be dispatched to the partner country as overseas researchers using ODA costs, but if certain conditions are satisfied (concluding an employment contract with the affiliated institution, traveling together with an overseas researcher, etc.), it is possible to cover travel and the costs of employment of students as research assistants under JST contract research expenses. See the Contract Research Agreement Administrative Procedures etc. for details.
- Can a researcher who is not a Japanese national apply as an overseas researcher?
- The SATREPS is based on Japan providing technical cooperation and building relationships with the partner country, so in principle, it assumes the dispatch of researchers who are Japanese nationals. Nevertheless, if there are no other researchers with specific skills required and a non-Japanese national is irreplaceable for the project, then that researcher may be dispatched as an overseas researcher as long as the partner country government accepts the dispatch. In such cases, the researcher can be dispatched under ODA costs (and in cases where dispatch as an overseas researcher is not possible, traveling to the partner country under JST contract research expenses is in principle possible, although the researcher may not be eligible for rights and exemptions applied under agreements with the partner country, including tax exemptions and legal immunity).
- Can researchers without a specific affiliation participate?
- In principle, researchers without a specific affiliation cannot participate in the joint research. However it is possible for a participating institution (including the principal investigator's institution) to give affiliation status (visiting researcher, etc.) to the researcher so that he or she can participate in the research with that institution providing coverage and taking responsibility.
- Can a researcher affiliated with a research institution in a third country (not the partner country) participate in the project?
- This is possible. However, it is essential that such a researcher have a status (such as visiting researcher) at a participating research institution (including the principal investigator's institution) and be under the auspices of that affiliated institution.
（３）Participation of private-sector companies
- What requirements do private-sector companies need to satisfy to apply for the program?
- The requirements include the company being incorporated in Japan.
- Can a private-sector company be a principal investigator's institution?
- company conducting activities with a public nature can become the principal investigator's institution for a project. Even if the company is not conducting activities with a public nature, it can still become the principal investigator's institution if it makes a joint proposal with a university or similar institution.
- How can private-sector companies and similar organizations take part?
A company or similar organization may either take part as the principal investigator's institution, or may participate by one of the methods below.
The company or other organization concludes a Contract Research Agreement with the JST as a joint research institution, in which case it may take part as an institution responsible for research or implementation, etc.
Even if the company or other organization concerned does not conclude a contract research agreement with the JST, persons working for it may take part as members of the principal investigator's institution or a joint research institution.
Furthermore, even if persons working for the company or other organization concerned do not become participants in the research project, it may be associated with the project as an external supporting institution (such as an advisory institution, an institution responsible for future implementation, or a contract institution undertaking test work or other work not including research components).
Note: If a company is associated with project participation as an external supporting institution, Form 8 need not necessarily be submitted.
- What points need to be borne in mind when a private-sector company participates
The following points need to be borne in mind.
Before JST can conclude a Contract Research Agreement with a company or similar entity, it screens the company to determine whether the contract is possible and what sort of form the contract should take. As a result of this screening, JST may require compliance with a particular form of contractual relationship. If the company's state of finances is markedly unstable, the contract may be judged unfeasible, preventing the research project from being conducted at the proposed research institution. In such a case, the proposer may be required to take action such as reviewing the implementation structure.
The SATREPS program is based on the premise of joint research with a partner country. In addition to implementing the research, there are requirements for publication of outcomes and sharing of intellectual assets, and for outgoing transfer of samples and information, etc. The company is requested to confirm in advance with the partner country side that entering into such a relationship with private-sector affiliated researchers is not a problem.
Salary etc. for the person in charge of the research (principal investigator/lead joint researcher) cannot be covered as direct expenses.
If certain conditions are satisfied, it is possible to cover salary etc. for other research participants (members involved with a specific research item).
When using ODA costs to procure goods, in principle a competitive procurement process should be used (either bidding or comparative quotes), based on specifications that do not require specific brands.
Details are available at the following website under Contract Research Agreement Administrative Procedures (for private-sector companies).
- Can the implementation structure described in the research proposal documents be changed during interviews or after selection?
- The selection process is based on the research proposal documents, so the structure should be given careful consideration when writing the research proposal, in order to ensure that no need for unnecessary changes arises. However, adjustments etc. may be made if authorized by the Research Supervisor (RS), and changes may be requested during the process of JICA signing the R/D with the counterpart institution before commencing the international joint research. Given that this program is international joint research, as a rule, substitution of the principal investigator will not be allowed.
- Does having the project linked to ODA mean that the principal investigator needs to be stationed in the partner country (long term overseas dispatch)?
The principal investigator does not necessarily need to be stationed in the partner country, but it is considered important for the principal investigator to visit the partner country and manage the project on the ground. Technical cooperation projects allow for flexibility, including dispatch on a short-term shuttle basis. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that the activities in the partner country proceed smoothly and to enhance the effectiveness of the project, it is of course desirable for Japan-side researchers to be either be stationed in the partner country full time or close to full time. When planning the dispatch of researchers to the partner country, take into consideration that the Japan-side researchers are required to contribute through the joint research to developing the partner country's self-reliant research and capacity development, and that as project director the principal investigator is responsible for the dispatch of researchers overseas as part of the international joint research.
- Is it necessary to station Japan-side research participants other than the principal investigator in the partner country?
- It is not necessarily the case that Japan-side researchers have to be stationed in the partner country, but an appropriate strategy is essential. In order for the joint research to proceed smoothly in the partner country (a developing country), and because the purpose of the project is capacity development of the developing country through joint research, if researchers are not stationed overseas, it is necessary for them to be regularly dispatched to the partner country and that their emphasis is on their research overseas, such as by spending three months in the partner country followed by one month back in Japan. Projects are selected through an overall evaluation that includes consideration of the Japan-side implementation structure described in the proposal.
３. Q&A about research expenses and contracts
（１） Contract with JST
- Are there restrictions on how JST contract research expenses can be used?
Details regarding contract research expenses are available at the following website under Contract Research Agreement Administrative Procedures.
Can the research contract with the lead joint researcher's institution in Japan be structured as subcontracting (see note) via the principal investigator's institution?
Note: Subcontracting in the research contract refers to a situation where only the principal investigator's institution signs a contract with JST, and a research contract is signed by that affiliated institution and the joint researcher's affiliated institution.
Under the SATREPS program, a subcontracting structure is not used for research contracts. JST concludes separate research contracts with the research institutions that the principal investigator and lead joint researcher are affiliated with.
* JICA only has a contractual relationship with the principal investigator's institution, not with any other institutions involved in the joint research.
（２）Contract with JICA
- What level of authority is required for signing the Agreement and project contract between JICA and the principal investigator's institution?
- On the JICA side, the main Agreement (which must only be signed on the first occasion for each principal investigator's institution) will be signed by the president of JICA, the annexes to the Agreement (signed for each project) will be signed by the director of the department responsible for the project, and the project contract will be signed by the vice-president in charge of finance and accounting. The principal investigator's institution is requested to decide the signatories on its side corresponding to these positions, according to its own form of governance.
４. Q&A about Research proposal and submission via e-Rad
- Do Forms 1-9 have to be completed in Japanese?
In principle, Forms 1-9 should be completed in Japanese. However, if that is problematic, English is acceptable. English-language copies of the application forms are posted on the English-language SATREPS website.
The research proposal forms must be submitted via e-Rad, the Cross-ministerial R&D Management System. This system has some sections that require entry in Japanese. For those sections, seek assistance from a Japanese speaker.
Interviews in the selection process are also in principle conducted in Japanese, but if that is problematic, English is acceptable.
- The required information for Form 4 includes overseas institutions, but what specific I nformation should be given about research funding scheduled to be received or which has been applied for from an overseas institution?
- At the time of application, applicants are requested to provide wide-ranging information on funding for which they have applied or which they are scheduled to receive. Please therefore give information on all such research funding from overseas, including sources such as competitive funding, grants from private foundations, and contract research fees or joint research fees from corporations.
- Is it OK to submit Form 7 using the name and official seal of an executive or management at a lower level in the organization, such as the dean, for the "Director?"
- Please submit Form 7 in the name of the director of the institution (the president or chair of the board of a university), not an executive or manager at a lower level in the organization. It need not be stamped with their official seal. Form 7 is for the principal investigator, and does not have to be submitted by main joint researchers.
- On Form 8, what is meant by "Company official of participating business (having responsibility concerning the content of this document)?" Is it OK to use a personal seal for the "Official Seal?"
- In the case of a company, it indicates someone, such as the head of the department, who can take responsibility for the actions of SATREPS participants. Please affix the official seal of the executive, not their personal seal. It need not be stamped with the company seal.
- Which organizations have to submit proposal Form 8?
Please submit Form 8 for all the corporations among the institutions participating in the study on the Japanese side. However, for corporations acting as external support institutions, this submission is voluntary. Submission is unnecessary for institutions falling under any of the following.
- a. School corporations such as national university corporations, public universities, and private universities.
- b. Public research institutions such as national and public research institutes, public-sector research and development institutes, and independent administrative corporations.
- c. Institutes performing a public service such as public-service corporations (including general incorporated associations and general incorporated foundation)
- Is there a restriction on the number of SATREPS program applications that can be made per institution?
- There is no restriction on the number of applications that can be made per institution. If multiple applications are made from a single institution, each set of research proposal documents is required to include a separate written approval (Form 7) from the director of the institution (president or chair of the board, etc.).
５. Q&A about an official request for ODA technical cooperation and implementation structure in the partner country
（１）Official request for ODA technical cooperation
- How should I gain an understanding of the developing country's needs?
Under the SATREPS program, one of the key perspectives applied when selecting projects is whether a research proposal is in line with the needs of the developing country. Proposals are expected to show a proper understanding of the partner country needs, obtained through means such as prior contact and interaction in a research context. One useful reference is the Country Assistance Policy (an ODA policy that MOFA establishes by comprehensively taking into account factors such as the local political, economic, and social situations, development plan, and development challenges) which has been formulated for some countries. Country Assistance Policies are published on the MOFA website:
Furthermore, in order to conduct sustainable international joint research, a systematic approach is expected in the partner country, bringing in partner country government agencies, etc. The selection process takes into account whether the structure is adequate for that purpose. When setting up a project, we also recommend liaising in advance with the Japanese embassy in the partner country and with the local JICA office.
Another useful method of understanding the needs of a developing country is to attend area studies conferences and similar events, and talk with other participants who are active in the partner country.
- Where can I obtain the ODA request form?
- Because the actual ODA request form is fixed by the government agency handling ODA in each country, for details of the ODA application form the counterpart institution should contact the government institution that covers it or the government agency handling ODA.
- In addition to the proposal documents submitted to JST, is it necessary for the government agency handling ODA in the partner country, at the instigation of the counterpart research institution in the partner country, to make a request for the implementation of an ODA technical cooperation project (submit a request for cooperation)?
- It is essential for the partner country side to submit a request for ODA, in addition to the proposal documents for a research project submitted. Only projects where both the research proposal and the ODA request have been submitted are screened. If either of these documents is not received by the specified deadline, the project will be automatically excluded from selection.
- Is it necessary for the details of the technical cooperation project in the partner country to have already been fixed in the request form at the point that the proposal documents are submitted to JST?
- You need to coordinate the content of the request from the partner country before the request form is submitted. In particular, as noted on the proposal forms, there needs to be consensus between the Japan-side and the partner country side regarding the proposed research project title (English), research objectives, research outcome targets, research plans and implementation of plans, implementation structure, approximate amounts and details of machinery and equipment, personnel, etc. to be used, and research period, etc. After provisional selection, JICA will finalize detailed plans for the purpose of signing the R/D with the partner country institution. Please understand that as a result of that process, you may be required to modify the research plans presented in the proposal. The research project title (English) has to be the same as the project name on the ODA technical cooperation project request form. Ensure that there is sufficient coordination with the counterpart institution on this point. Please also include the word "Project" in the research project title (English), and do not use the expression "in [name of partner country]."
- Has each developing country been informed of the purposes and structure of the SATREPS program? Also, does the applicant in Japan need to be able to respond to the partner country's inquiries about procedures, etc.?
- MOFA/JICA has informed the government agency handling ODA in each of the developing countries eligible for the program. However, applicants should be aware that the extent to which the program is known by researchers in the counterpart country may vary due to internal circumstances. Where necessary, please ask the counterpart researcher(s) (and their institution of affiliation) to confirm with the partner country government agency handling ODA.
（２）Counterpart institutions, partner country researchers; relationships
- Is it possible to conduct joint research with multiple research institutions in the partner country?
- Yes, it is possible to conduct joint research with multiple research institutions in a single partner country. In such cases, the names of all institutions must be listed in the ODA request form, and the main research institution of joint research in the partner country must be specified.
- Are companies and NGOs in other countries able to participate in a project?
- The SATREPS program is implemented as a technical cooperation project on the basis of an official request from a partner country and international agreements between the partner country and Japan; in principle, the program does not cover private-sector companies or NGOs without government ownership. However, if the partner country's research institute is a government entity, private-sector companies and NGOs may participate in the research, provided that the research institute recognizes said organizations as collaborating partners and said organizations pay for their own expenses.
- Are international agencies and the partner country's private universities able to participate in the project?
- Regional international agencies and private universities in the developing country are not excluded from participating. However, preconditions include approval by the partner country's government of the implementation of the ODA project by said international agency or private university, submission of an ODA request to the Japanese embassy via the official route through the government agency in the partner country granting privileges and immunities to international agencies and the government agency in the partner country handling ODA. In addition, an R/D (Record of Discussions) must be concluded during the Detailed Design Study conducted by JICA in the same manner as cases in which the counterparty is a government agency.
- If the principal investigator's institution in Japan has already signed agreements with the partner country government or research institution, is there any need for JICA to sign a new agreement of some form with the partner country side in order to implement the project?
- Yes, it is necessary. The SATREPS program is a collaborative program linked with ODA, and projects are implemented as JICA technical cooperation projects based on international commitments between the two countries. Therefore, based on these international commitments, JICA must again sign documents such as an R/D with the partner country side.