Center for Graduate School InnovationCenter for Graduate School Innovation

The Center for Graduate School Innovation is a university-wide organization
that plans, prepares, and coordinates common education, career support,
and study/research environment improvements for graduate school students.


Pioneering Research Support Project for PhD Students

Tohoku University provides aid to PhD students in Tohoku University's Advanced Graduate School Pioneering Research Support Project for PhD Students (hereafter, "project”) as part of JST's "Support for Pioneering Research Initiated by the Next Generation" program, for which the university has been selected.

The project is aimed at excellent PhD students with a strong desire to pursue studies/research in interdisciplinary, international, or academic/industry collaborative areas. It provides financial aid sufficient for living expenses, diverse training programs to increase their research abilities, and research grants. It also seeks to improve their research environment by offering an international showcase for their activities. Furthermore, it will accelerate career building with an eye toward expanding their range of activity after graduation. It will promote quantitative expansion and radical restructuring of PhD curricula, leading to enhanced research capacity for the university overall.


1) Incentive Stipend (covers living expenses) JPY 180,000/month (average)
※The monthly amount is determined each year and varies from JPY 160,000 to 200,000 depending on performance.

2) Research grant: JPY 340,000/year
※Further research grants may be allocated as competitive funding.


This project is open to those who understand its objectives; have a high motivation/curiosity regarding research activities in their specialized fields; will have upon obtaining their doctoral degree the awareness and motivation to play a central role in future society; and will be enrolled in the 1st through 3rd years of 3-year doctoral curricula, or the 1st through 4th years of medical, dentistry, or pharmaceutical curricula, when the stipend begins.

Restriction on Simultaneous Awards

Those who are receiving any of the following types of financial support cannot receive aid from this project.

  • Those who are receiving other scholarships from Tohoku University or other institutions.
  • Those who are receiving a scholarship from Tohoku University's Academia-Industry Collaborating Graduate Programs.
  • Those who are receiving the JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists.
  • Those who are receiving the University Fellowship Founding Project for Innovation Creation in Science and Technology from MEXT.
  • Those who are receiving a salary as per the Guidelines for the Japanese Government (MEXT) International Student Scholarship System (March 31, 1954, ruling by the Minister of Education).
  • Those who are receiving the JASSO Honors Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students.
  • International students who are receiving a scholarship from their own country.
  • Those who are receiving salary income, executive compensation, or financial aid equal to or higher than this stipend from their affiliated companies or universities.
  • Those who are receiving stable non-loan scholarships from private organizations or companies equal to or higher than this stipend.
  • Those who are deemed to be equivalent to any of those listed in the preceding items.

※Recipients are permitted to receive scholarships to cover tuition fees.

※Recipients are permitted to receive scholarship loans from JASSO.

※Those who are applying for the Research Fellowship for Young Scientists can also apply for the project, but if selected must withdraw from the project. Those who are selected for the project are strongly encouraged to apply for the Research Fellowship for Young Scientists too.

※Teaching Assistant (TA) and Research Assistant (RA) employment is permitted to the extent that it does not interfere with research activities. However, recipients must decline aid from the project if their salary exceeds it. Recipients must report their annual income status.

How to Apply

Doctoral course students:

Please apply through your graduate school. (Degree program students should apply through your program.)

Degree program students:

Please apply through your degree program.

Application Documents

1) Application Form (doctoral program research plan, list of achievements, "Interdisciplinary / International Vision" essay)
2) Recommendation letter from your academic advisor
3) Any other documents requested by your graduate school

Selection Method

Applicants will be recommended by the graduate school dean, then evaluated on their research plans, content, achievements, written student evaluations from academic advisors, and, if necessary, interviews.


  • In addition to devoting themselves to their research activities, as outlined in their research plans, project recipients are expected to understand the program's principles, fully appreciate that they are receiving national (taxpayer) money, and commit to their studies/research with a suitably sober attitude.
  • Recipients must enroll in the advanced research support and career development/building programs offered by the Advanced Graduate School's Center for Graduate School Innovation.
  • Recipients must submit a monthly attendance report. They must also promptly report their progress in their studies and research to the director of the Center for Graduate School Innovation at the end of each fiscal year.
  • As the stipend is considered "miscellaneous income," recipients must pay income tax. The stipend may disqualify recipients from being claimed as dependents by parents/guardians (for health insurance, dependent allowances, etc.). Recipients should check with their parents/guardians or parents'/guardians' workplaces and perform any necessary procedures.
  • The deadline for using the research grant is the last day of February of the following year. Research grant funds cannot be carried over to the next year.
  • To ensure appropriate use of the research grant, recipients are required to carefully read the "Use of Research Funds Handbook," undergo compliance education on improper use of research funds, attend classes on ethical research etc., and appropriately budget and execute their own research.
  • The academic advisors will oversee matters related to handling intellectual property and confidential materials to ensure that the recipients' research is conducted appropriately and yields usable results.
  • Recipients are required to cooperate with follow-up activities conducted by the Advanced Graduate School's Center for Graduate School Innovation to improve learning/research guidance systems including career development/support, degree programs, and graduate degree screening processes.
  • Recipients are asked to participate in the JST's "PhD Students Exchange Meeting" and follow-up activities.
  • When presenting research results obtained during the project, recipients must indicate that they have received aid from the project.

※Since the project is carried out with assistance from government funding, the support period and content may change depending on national policy.

Announcement of selection results

Doctoral course students:
Selection results will be announced through the applicant’s graduate schools by the end of October 2021.

Degree program students:
Selection results will be announced through the applicant's program by the end of September 2021.

Students selected for the project will belong to the "Pioneering Research ProgramUnit" of the Advanced Graduate School.

  • Advanced Graduate School Training/Career-Building Programs
    Complete the seminars and training courses specified for each fiscal year by the end of the fiscal year.

    Advanced Graduate School Training/Career-Building Programs FY2023

    【How to take】※Reminder
    〇FY2023 Compulsory Course No.1 "Transferable Skills Workshop". Guidelines here.
    〇FY2023 Compulsory Course No.2 "Assessment Test for English 5 Abilities (iTEP Academic)". Guildelines will be updated later.
    〇FY2023 Elective-Compulsory Course No.3 "Academic Writing Seminar Series". Guidelines here.

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