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UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme
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The application period for 2014 fellowship programmes has closed. Application forms for next year's fellowship programmes will be posted in December 2014. 


  1. Introduction
  2. Field of Research
  3. Eligibility and Conditions
  4. Starting Date and Deadline for Applications
  5. To Apply
  6. Selection Criteria and Process

1. Introduction

Since October 2000, UNU-IAS has been offering Postdoctoral Fellowships to recent PhD graduates to provide them with the opportunity to put the knowledge and expertise acquired during their doctoral research to practical policy-relevant use. So far, over 40 Fellows from some 20 countries have passed through the Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme. Out of those who have completed the programme about one third have been women, and developing country participants have outnumbered developed country participants.

Around two Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded each year for a period of 12 months, starting in September.

The Fellowship Programme provides the successful applicant with a unique opportunity to:

  • develop and advance their research under the supervision of a UNU-IAS faculty member and contribute to the overall research agenda of the Institute;
  • widen their research interests and professional networks by working in the international and multi-disciplinary context of UNU-IAS, and with its wider network of Japanese universities and research institutes, as well as international collaborators;
  • become exposed to the workings of the international and multilateral policy process and the broader UN system; and
  • link with other UNU-IAS and UNU-CPR PhD and Postdoctoral Fellows.

The Fellows are resident at UNU-IAS in Tokyo for the full term of the fellowship. This gives them the opportunity to gain from the broader research programme of lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences arranged by UNU-IAS. The Institute's close links with Japanese affiliated professors and visiting professors from key universities and think tanks in Japan also allow Fellows to link into the broader Japanese academic and research community.

2. Field of Research

The purpose of the UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship is to provide young scholars and policymakers, especially from the developing world, with a multidisciplinary context within which to pursue advanced research and training that are of professional interest to the applicant and of direct relevance to the research agenda of UNU-IAS. Research proposals for UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowships should therefore relate clearly to one of the research areas of the Institute, as well as aim to be policy-relevant. Research proposals are invited in the following areas:

Sustainability Science
Environmental Governance (Biodiversity)
Cities and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Science and Technology for SDG

3. Eligibility and Conditions

Applicants must have obtained a PhD (or at least successfully defended their doctoral dissertation), in an area broadly associated with the UNU-IAS thematic focus, prior to the application deadline. Language proficiency in English is essential. Applicants from developing countries and women are particularly encouraged to apply.

UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of 12 months. The starting date of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is 1 September. Successful applicants are required to be in Japan by this date. Residency in Tokyo for the full duration of the fellowship is required.

Fellows are provided with their own desk in a dedicated study room in the Institute, administrative support and desktop computing. Fellows have access to the UNU Library which includes an excellent collection of UN documents. They also have access via the UNU Library to various Japanese university libraries and computer databases. A limited range of other, more specialized computer hardware and software may also be available.

The fellowship provides a monthly stipend of JPY300,000- 360,000 (depending on experience). A one-time-only settle-in-allowance of JPY 80,000 will be granted to each Fellow at the beginning of the programme for relocation, adjustment expenses, ground transportation and incidental costs. UNU-IAS provides Fellows with a return air ticket between his/her country of residence and Narita Airport. Settle-in-allowance and air tickets are, however, not provided for Fellows already residing in Japan before the commencement of the fellowship. 

Eligibility for a second 12-month appointment may be considered based on the Fellow’s performance. 

4. Starting Date and Deadline for Applications

The UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme begins on 1 September and the selected fellows are required to be in Japan by this date.  The deadline for applications for the 2014 Fellowships is 15 March 2014.

5. To Apply

Interested and eligible candidates are invited to complete the online-application form. If an applicant does not have access to the Internet, he or she should contact UNU-IAS (see the contact information below). The online form and the required documents indicated in the form must be in English. If supporting documents are not in English, English translations must be attached. 

Selection Criteria and Process

Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria:

(i) the research objectives of the applicant and the quality of the research
(ii) the relevance of the research proposal to the ongoing or planned research
activities of the applicant's selected Research Programme at UNU-IAS, and
(iii) the applicant's academic merit and the potential for successful research while

After the initial review of all completed applications, short-listed candidates will be contacted for a telephone interview.

Contact Information:

Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme
United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies
6F, International Organizations Center
1-1-1 Minato Mirai
Nishi-ku, Yokohama 220-8502

Fax: +81-45-221-2302

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