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JSPS Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers

Submit an application if you are a highly-qualified post-doctoral researcher from Germany and completed your doctorate no longer than six years prior to 1 April of the respective budget year (1 April to 31 March). A Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Research Fellowship aims at providing opportunities for researchers to pursue collaborative research with an academic host at Japanese universities or research institutes.

JSPS offers two different funding lines for a stay in Japan:

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships (short-term) provide support for doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers of all disciplines to spend 1 to 12 months working on research in Japan. For sponsorship periods exceeding six months, the Humboldt Foundation preselects post-doctoral candidates on behalf of JSPS. Pre-selection of candidates applying for shorter periods and those who have not taken their doctorates is conducted by the DAAD. Up to 17 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships (short term) are granted annually.

Research stays lasting between 12 and 24 months are funded in the framework of JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships (standard). Pre-selection of candidates for this funding line is conducted exclusively by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Up to 16 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships (standard) are granted annually.

Short-term study visits, participation in congresses and training courses cannot be financed.

Online application

Further information

  1. Doctorate, only completed in the last six years (key date: 1 April of the respective budget year). Candidates who have nearly completed their doctoral degrees are eligible to apply provided that they submit the manuscript of their dissertation or publications containing the results of their dissertation.
  2. Academic publications reviewed according to international standards and printed in journals and/or by publishing houses.
  3. Confirmation that research facilities are available and a detailed expert's report from an academic host at a university or non-university research institution in Japan.
  4. Expert reviews from the doctoral supervisor and other academics qualified to comment on the applicant's eligibility, preferably including reviewers not working at the applicant's own institute.
  5. Language skills: Good English skills are essential, Japanese skills are not generally required. However, scholars in the humanities or social sciences and physicians must have a good knowledge of Japanese if it is necessary to carry out the research successfully.
  6. The Humboldt-Foundation assumes that candidates will abide the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and the legally-binding principles of scientific ethics during the application and sponsorship periods.

Further information

Applications may be submitted to the Humboldt Foundation online at any time, provided they have been duly completed and all required documents have been uploaded.

The host and expert reviewer(s) upload the required documents in a secure area themselves. Applications can be submitted only after these documents have been uploaded. The application form contains further instructions and information. Please note that all documents have to be submitted in English.

The Humboldt Foundation will confirm receipt of the online application by email. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that he or she has submitted all the necessary documents. After the application has been checked to ensure that it is complete and meets the formal requirements for eligibility, applicants will be notified about the proposed selection date.

Subsequently, independent peer reviewers assess the applications.

Selection committee meetings take place three times a year, in February, June and October. Reviewing the applications takes four to seven months. Therefore, applications should be submitted well before the Selection Committee Meeting targeted.

Candidates will be notified about the Selection Committee's decision immediately after the meeting. The final decision is then made by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

N.B. for the JSPS Research Fellowship (Standard) departure for Japan cannot take place between 1 December and 31 March in two consecutive years.

Further information

As a JSPS Research Fellow you are assigned a contact at the Humboldt Foundation during your research stay. In addition to the JSPS Fellowship, we also offer you the opportunity to become part of the Humboldt Network and receive assistance with reintegration on your return to Germany.

Further information

Once a Humboldtian, always a Humboldtian: Even after your research stay has come to an end, we shall still maintain close contact with you. Our alumni sponsorship is flexible and designed to support every Humboldtian’s particular path in life and development as well as collaborations between individuals.

Further information

This programme is financed by the:

Application requirements

Can I apply before I have completed my doctorate?

You may apply if you will complete your doctorate before the fellowship goes into effect. You need a copy of the doctor's degree certificate by the commencement date of the fellowship.

What determines the date of a doctorate?

The relevant date is that of completing the final academic part of the doctoral process (e.g., defence of thesis, doctoral viva). This date will usually be included on your doctoral certificate alongside the date of issue.

Which date is valid if I have several doctorates?

In the case of multiple doctorates, the effective date is that of the doctoral degree (Ph.D./C.Sc.) concerning the scheduled study in Japan.

Will you take into consideration the time I devoted to bringing up my children?

If you have ever interrupted your academic career for child-rearing purposes, either partially or completely, please list all periods of leave on the application form. These periods will be taken into account when assessing your academic achievements in relation to your career stage.

I'm a physician (MD / Dr. med.). Are there any special admission requirements?

You are eligible to apply if you hold a research doctorate or a comparable academic degree.
In addition, please read our Admission Questionnaire for Physicians (MD / Dr. med.) for detailed information.


When and how often do Selection Committee Meetings take place?

There are three Selection Committee Meetings each year: in February, June and October.

Can I apply for a fellowship from another institution at the same time I submit my application to the Humboldt Foundation?

On principle, it is possible to file parallel applications. You must, however, indicate this on the application form and inform us immediately of any other applications you submit and any other sponsorship decisions that occur while we are considering your application.

What is the earliest date I can start the fellowship?

JSPS applications that have been approved at the selection meeting must await the final decision of JSPS which is usually announced within three months.
Start of the Fellowship for JSPS Standard:
If the application was approved in the February or June selection meeting, the Fellowship in Japan must commence between 1 April and 30 November of the same year. If the application was approved in the October selection meeting, the Fellowship must commence between 1 April and 30 November of the following year.

Start of the Fellowship for JSPS Short-Term:
If the application was approved in the February or June selection meeting, the Fellowship in Japan must commence between 1 April of the same year and 31 March of the following year. If the application was approved in the October selection meeting, the Fellowship must commence between 1 April of the following year and 31 March of the year thereafter.

What is the amount of the fellowship?

Please refer to our current programme information for details.

Will you pay the fellowship retroactively if I am already at the host institute at the time of being selected?

No, the fellowship cannot be paid retroactively.

Are there deadlines for submitting applications?

There is no closing date for submitting applications. Applications are processed as part of an ongoing procedure. As soon as we have received your complete application we shall forward it to independent peer reviewers. Their written evaluations will then be presented to the selection committee at the next selection meeting at which a decision will be made.
Please note that you can submit your application only after your host and your expert reviewers have uploaded all necessary documents.
Selection committee meetings take place three times a year, in February, June and October. Applications should be submitted at least four to seven months ahead of the prospective selection meeting.

Application documents

Should my expert reviews be sent directly to the Humboldt Foundation or enclosed with the application?

Your host and expert reviewers upload the required documents in a secure area themselves, adding them to your application form. You can find the links to this area in the application form. Please send these links on a timely basis to your designated scientists/academics. Once all the documents have been uploaded, you will automatically be notified by email and will then be able to submit your application. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete. Expert reviews should not be more than 12 months old at the time of application.

Who should provide an expert review for my application and how many reviews are required?

The expert review should assess your development as a researcher, your potential, and your academic accomplishments to date. It is, therefore, important that expert reviewers are well acquainted with your academic work to date. You must submit two expert reviews.
Postdocs must submit an expert review from their doctoral supervisor.
Please note: The host's statement does not count as an expert review!
You are responsible for requesting all expert reviews and the host's statement.

Which publications should I submit with my application?

Your application must contain one to three key publications. Other publications will not be accepted (exception: reviews of your key publications by other authors). If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

May I include works that have not yet been submitted for publication in the list of key publications and the complete list of publications?

No. Please only cite publications that are already in print, have been accepted for publication or have at least been submitted to a publishing house. In the latter case you must upload the acknowledgement of receipt from the publisher; in the case of publications that have been accepted, please upload the letter of acceptance from the publisher. Any other works cited on the list will be deleted.
Exception: Your dissertation may be cited as a key publication even if you have not yet submitted it to a publisher. If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for print, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

I have not yet completed my doctorate. Do I have to hand in my doctoral certificate later?

Yes. As soon as you complete your doctorate, we need at least official confirmation from your university. You will not be able to start the fellowship without this confirmation.

What are key publications?

You yourself should choose the key publications from your publications. You should choose works which present your most important academic results. In cases of multiple authorship you should select those to which you have made a major contribution. When choosing key publications we recommend including works that reflect your more recent publication activity.
Please note that you cannot amend your selection of key publications once the selection process has begun.

How many key publications should I cite?

At least one key publication is sufficient. You may cite a maximum of three.
Surplus key publications will be removed from the list without notifying the applicant.

How should I explain why I have chosen a key publication?

Please address the particular academic relevance of the results contained in the key publication and briefly explain the significance of the publication for your academic profile (cf. sample key publications). In cases of multiple authorship please also indicate your own personal contribution to the publication.

Should my key publications also be cited in the complete list of publications?

Yes. Please cite all your publications in the complete list of publications, including your key publications. In this list they should be cited without explanations (cf. sample publication list).
Please note that it is not possible to amend the list of publications submitted to the Humboldt Foundation once the selection process has begun.

Do I have to submit a language certificate?

No, a language certificate is not required.

Selection procedure

Will you confirm receipt of my application, as well as other documents, expert reviews and the host's statement?

As soon as we receive your application, we will notify you by email.

How much time do I have to submit further documents or update my application?

Your application will be checked upon receipt to ensure that it is complete and meets the formal requirements for eligibility. We shall only be able to inform you about the expected decision date when we have received all the required documents. Once the review process by independent reviewers has been initiated, it is not possible to submit or exchange any documentation. If any papers or books that have only been submitted for publication at the time of application should subsequently be accepted, you should send us a copy of the acceptance letter immediately by email. This information can be fed into the process prior to the selection meeting. It is not possible to add to the publication list once the procedure has started.

Will I be notified of the date the Selection Committee will decide on my application?

When all the documents have been received we shall notify you about the proposed date of the selection meeting. Should the peer review process of your application take longer than expected you will also be informed if it becomes unavoidable to postpone the date of the decision.

Who will review my application?

Your application will be reviewed by independent peer reviewers.

Will I be notified of the reasons for a rejection?

If your application is not approved, you may send an informal email requesting feedback to be sent to you and your host on the reasons for the rejection. This will usually follow approximately four to six weeks after the selection committee meeting. Please note that we cannot provide any personalised information before this juncture so as not to delay the notification process.


What are the most important selection criteria?

The essential aspect of the application is the individual applicant's academic qualification. Please refer to the relevant programme information for more details on the selection criteria.

Can I re-apply after being rejected?

It is possible to re-apply. The new application should, however, differ significantly from the original, rejected application. Generally, it makes sense to re-apply after developing one's academic profile, e.g. after academical publications have been accepted by internationally reviewed journals and publishing houses. Our experience shows that applicants should wait about two years before re-applying. Submitting a new application that differs little or not at all from the rejected original may result in a formal rejection of the new application.