Application Procedure for Fixed-term Researcher (Nurturing Young Researcher Category)

The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) is now accepting applications for fixed-term employment of young researchers.

Deadline of application

November 18, 2020 (Documents must be received by 17:00.)

The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) is now accepting applications for fixed-term employment of young researchers.

In order to facilitate further advancement in research activities that meet global challenges, JIRCAS is offering fixed-term employment aimed at nurturing excellent and highly motivated young researchers in pursuing research in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The employment contract is subject to renewal after an evaluation of the performance and achievements of the researcher to be carried out 11 months before the end of the term. A fixed-term researcher who successfully passes the evaluation will be employed continuously as a regular researcher.

A fixed-term researcher may take maternity leave, childcare leave, or nursing leave during the term, and may apply for extension of the term to cover the period for leave of absence.

Available positions and job description

Recruitment no.

Research Division, Position, No. of positions

Employment  period

Research description・ Research outputs ・ Key words

1 (Information Analysis)

Social Science Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 April 2021)

Overview of research activities

Today’s global food system is characterized on the one hand by the cheap supply of calorie-rich staples and oil crops enabled through the monoculture-based commercial mass production and the expansion of the international trade, and on the other, by the ‘triple burden of malnutrition’ it is increasingly facing, in which billions of people suffer from poor-quality diets, including deficiencies in micronutrients, obesity/overweight, and persistent hunger among the poorest. In developing countries, drastic changes in food demand, both in terms of quantity and quality, are expected in the next decades due to rapid population growth, urbanization and income growth. From the supply point of view, the smallholder agricultural sectors of these countries have long suffered from stagnant agricultural productivity and have faced further challenges to sustain the production due to the increasing frequency of extreme events under climate change. Under business-as-usual scenarios, efforts to supply quality food sufficiently to meet the growing demand with conventional technologies and agronomic practices can drive changes in land use for expanding agricultural land, aggravating climate crisis and environmental degradation.

As a leading research center as well as an opinion leader on international agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Japan, JIRCAS is geared to enhance activities on information collection and analysis to guide the identification of strategic research areas contributing to the achievement of the global food and nutrition security and prosperity. While the speed at which the developments of science, technologies and innovation are transforming our societies has accelerated in recent years, the readiness for inter-disciplinary collaboration to adopt advanced technologies defines the competitiveness of a country. Information collection and analysis on the global megatrends affecting socioeconomic trends, food and nutrition security, and technology development will play an important role in the transformation into a sustainable global food system for both human and planetary health.

   To address these issues, JIRCAS is looking for a young researcher who will be engaged in strategic research to collect and analyze the global megatrends, especially those affecting the socio-economic development, food-nutrition demand/supply, and sustainable agricultural intensification in the developing countries. The ideal candidate is expected to be involved in systematic collection and analysis of international development trends in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and to derive recommendations over the role of technology development in the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors. The candidate is also required to have basic knowledge on the global agendas surrounding agriculture, forestry and fisheries, as well as basic skills in econometric analysis including use of models, and the ability to work together with multi-national teams in conducting international joint research projects.

Research topics

  • Analysis of statistics/literature on demographic trends, climate change, environmental issues etc. mainly in the developing countries
  • Conducting socioeconomic/environmental scenario analyses projecting future trends of food and nutrition security by employing econometric models
  • Evaluating economic and social impacts of different interventions, including the introduction of new agricultural technologies, and the implementation of enabling policies.


Trend analyses, scenario analyses, evaluation of agricultural technologies, global food system, food and nutrition security, climate change, planetary boundaries

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators

2 (Soybean breeding)

Biological Resources and Post-harvest Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 April 2021)

Overview of research activities

JIRCAS aims to promote food production and improve nutrition in the world including Africa by developing technologies and verifying them in the field through collaborative research with local institutions and international research centers, especially in developing regions in the tropics where productivity potential has not been maximized because of low fertility or adverse environments.

   Some insect pests and diseases can easily spread and cross national borders causing extensive damage to crop production in many countries. It is difficult for any single country to combat and manage this global problem, therefore, it is necessary to promote cooperation among affected countries. To address this issue, we are promoting the development of technologies for the control of migratory pests and transboundary diseases affecting crop production in many developing countries. We have organized international research networks to tackle the development of prevention methods based on ecological studies of migrating insect pests or vector insects. So far, we have developed breeding lines of major crops such as rice resistant to blast by incorporating field resistance genes. In the case of soybean, we have developed cultivars resistant to rust disease in South America by pyramiding resistant genes and assessed the performance in the fields.

   We are now looking for a researcher who will work on the development of soybean disease-resistant varieties for cultivation in South America, Asia and Africa using our international research network. Applicants are required to have sufficient academic background and research experience in plant breeding, genetics or molecular genetics, and comprehensive ability to carry out breeding of new soybean varieties with improved agronomic characteristics in collaboration with plant pathologists. In addition, applicants are expected to coordinate our soybean breeding program from crossing, selection, field trials, registration of new varieties, and to facilitate the early stages of social implementation.

Research topics

  • Development of new varieties that are highly resistant to soybean rust
  • Development of breeding materials with multiple resistance to soybean rust and purple stain


Soybean, genetic, molecular genetics, plant pathology, breeding

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators
  • Spanish language ability for daily conversation is also desirable

4 (Animal feed resources)

Crop, Livestock and Environment Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 April 2021)

Overview of research activities

In developing regions in Africa and Southeast Asia, the demand for livestock products has been increasing in recent years as income has increased, and it is necessary to improve feed efficiency and productivity and enhance self-sufficiency of the products within the region. In order to improve productivity and quality of life, it is necessary to develop a method for preserving the nutritional value of unused or underutilized local feed resources and utilize them effectively. In addition, since the rumen or livestock manure are the sources of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, it is also necessary to reduce the environmental load derived from livestock.

   JIRCAS has been working on the improvement of preparation techniques of local feed resource, feeding technology using silage, and productivity in milk yield etc. in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Southeast Asia, we have been developing technologies for utilization of feed resources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and so far, we have introduced headbox-type methane emission measurement chambers locally.

   Therefore, we are looking for a young researcher to pursue research in both regions on evaluation of the nutritional value of local feed resources, improvement of feed efficiency and productivity by effective utilization of the resources, and development of environmentally friendly technology such as greenhouse gas emission control, i.e. reduction and/or emission, and dissemination the technologies in cooperation with local departments. The candidate must have academic and research background in livestock nutrition and feed science, and knowledge of energy partitioning experiments using the methane emission measurement chambers. In addition, the candidate will be expected to carry out joint research and evaluation of the impact of the livestock industry on the local environment in collaboration with domestic and foreign researchers, and must be willing to challenge new research fields.

Research topics

  • Development of technologies of evaluation, preparation and preservation of feed resources in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Development of productivity improvement and greenhouse gas emission control technology derived from the livestock industry by utilizing unused feed resources in Southeast Asia


Feed preparation / storage, productivity improvement, greenhouse gas emission control, environmental impact assessment

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators
  • Overseas research experience to promote international joint research

5 (Wood anatomy and property analysis)

Forestry Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 April 2021)

Overview of research activities

Tropical timber has been an important export item since the last century, but its resource has been declining. It is crucial to ensure a sustainable supply of tropical timber with diverse characteristics and to improve the livelihood of people who depend on the forest and ecosystem services, including climate change mitigation. For this purpose, it is necessary to evaluate the characteristics and environmental adaptability of various timber species in tropical forests, which have the richest biodiversity among the terrestrial ecosystems. Appropriate tree species and strains should be planted for their adaptation to the anticipated future environmental changes. In particular, the stem wood from a large size tree is a main product of forestry, and at the same time, plays a role of delivering water from the soil to the canopy where physiological activity is most active. Wood morphology is, therefore, an important trait for evaluating the water utilization efficiency of trees as well.

   JIRCAS has implemented researches on the growth and reproductive characteristics of tropical timber species such as teak and dipterocarps, mainly in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia. We are working on the identification of influential environmental factors to tree growth and its reproductive traits and the development of genomic selection models to enhance growth and environmental adaptability of those timber species.

   For further development of this research, we are recruiting a researcher to study phenotypic variations among tree species and its regional populations, as well as physiological characteristics of these morphological variations using wood anatomical analysis. The researcher shall conduct field works in the tropical forest and analyze wood samples in collaboration with overseas research institutes, universities and government agencies of tropical countries, and jointly publish research results with collaborators. We hope the researcher will open up new research on the anatomy of tropical timber species that have great variety of wonderful characteristics. We also hope the researcher will collaborate with other researchers to contribute to select breeding materials with excellent growth and wood quality, and/or to develop silvicultural technology suitable for the characteristics of each tree species, and eventually to develop sustainable tropical forest management by utilizing intrinsic genetic resources.

Research topics

  • Variation of wood property among tropical timber species and its regional populations
  • Effects of environmental stress on timber formation in tropical timber species
  • Environmental adaptation mechanism of tropical trees in terms of wood anatomy
  • Development of high-throughput phenotyping technology for wood property traits


Wood property, wood anatomy, tropical forestry, environmental adaptation mechanism

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required

6 (Rice breeding)

Tropical Agriculture Research Front, 1 person

5 years (from 1 April 2021)

Overview of research activities

Rice is produced and consumed mainly in Asia, but the production and the consumption have been increasing in Africa as well in recent years. After spreading in irrigated lowlands, rice production is now being extended to more challenging areas such as upland and rain-fed lowland without adequate irrigation, as well as non-facilitated wetlands and flood-prone areas. On the other hand, extreme weather events such as flooding, droughts, or extremely high and low temperatures have become more frequent due to the climate change caused by global warming. Therefore, it is important to develop varieties that adapt to challenging areas and tolerant to severe climate incidents, as well as to abnormal environments such as salinity, heavy metal rich soil and low soil fertility, and to diseases and insects such as rice blast and brown planthopper. Furthermore, the diversification of food culture requires a wide range of breeding with consideration of marketability, such as aromatic rice and diverse taste.

   The Tropical Agriculture Research Front (TARF) of JIRCAS maintains a collection of rice germplasm and has been working with researchers in various countries to breed new varieties and breeding lines that achieve the above breeding objectives. In particular, we take advantage of the subtropical climate at TARF to investigate the agronomic traits of indica rice varieties in the field, and to accelerate the generation cycle through double cropping yearly. As a sole research institute in Japan for indica rice research, we have been using our germplasm collection in international collaboration with researchers from overseas to develop beneficial breeding materials. In addition, we have been developing breeding lines for useful traits using our diverse germplasm and breeding materials.

   We will pursue breeding strategies that meet the needs of developing countries, elucidate the genetic variation of useful traits using diverse germplasm and breeding materials, develop methods for efficient and accurate identification and selection of useful genes, and to share the breeding methods and strategies with researchers in developing countries. Therefore, we are looking for a young researcher to work on breeding of rice varieties to support the foundation of production. The candidate researcher is expected to develop new evaluation methods based on rapid diagnostic techniques, such as digital image analysis and environmental sensing which have been making remarkable progress in recent years. The researcher is also expected to challenge new research fields such as growth prediction and diverse outbreak prediction using big data analysis that contribute to the development of rice breeding and breeding materials. To promote these studies, the candidate researcher must have a sense of cooperation and international perspective to collaborate with domestic and international researchers.

Research topics

  • Physiological and morphological study and genetic analysis of useful traits in rice germplasm and breeding materials
  • Development of breeding materials that integrate biotic and abiotic stress resistance by gene-pyramiding
  • Development of digital agricultural diagnosis technology using image analysis and environmental sensing

Key words

Rice, genetic resources, genetic breeding, plant pathology, rapid diagnostic techniques, big data analysis

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required

7 (Material cycle and nitrogen dynamics)

Tropical Agriculture Research Front, 1 person

5 years (from 1 April 2021)

Overview of research activities

   Even though the world's crop production is strongly depended on nitrogen fertilizer, the amount of nitrogen absorbed by crops is only 30 to 50% of the input. Excess nitrogen that is not absorbed is released into the environment, polluting the aquatic ecosystem, increasing greenhouse gas emission, and enhancing climate change. Small islands have a small land area surrounded by the sea and are susceptible to climate change and human activities so that the ecosystems are extremely vulnerable. The inflow of large amounts of trade goods such as nitrogen fertilizers and food from outside the island has deteriorated the nitrogen balance in these islands with a great impact to the fragile ecosystems and the health of the inhabitants.

   JIRCAS has been tackling the development of resource management systems that balance sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries production with environmental and ecosystem conservation in the Asia-Pacific island regions such as Palau and the Philippines. In particular, at the Tropical Agricultural Research Front (TARF), we have utilized research facilities such as lysimeters under subtropical island environment, and we have developed crop cultivation techniques to prevent run-off of soil and nutrients salts into rivers, and fertilizer application methods that reduce nutrients (e.g. nitrogen derived from agricultural activities) load to groundwater to ensure sustainable crop production.

   We are looking for a young researcher to work on analysis of nitrogen dynamics and developing a nitrogen flow model in agroecosystems, and to contribute to the development of agricultural technologies that reduce nitrogen load in tropical and small island regions where mountains, villages, and the sea are closely linked. The researcher will be based in TARF to conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis of environmental samples using the latest technology to elucidate nitrogen dynamics as well as conduct field surveys related to the input of agricultural materials. In addition, the researcher is required to have a sense of cooperation and international perspectives for research collaboration with researchers in various fields in Japan and overseas. The candidate researcher is also expected to have skills to exchange research results and desirable action with various stakeholders such as the government, private companies, farmers and local residents.

Research Topics

  • Analysis and modeling of nitrogen flow at level of arable land, watershed, and islands
  • Development of appropriate nitrogen management measures in agricultural ecosystem
  • Verification of effect of nitrogen load reduction technology in consideration of island environment


Material cycle, nitrogen movement, environmental measurement and analysis

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required
  1. The applicant must possess a doctoral degree or expected to receive the degree by March 2021.
  2. The applicant must possess sufficient academic background, experience and skills to pursue research in the intended post.
  3. The applicant must have sufficient Japanese language ability that would not interfere with daily work.

JIRCAS promotes gender equality in accordance with the Basic Act for Gender Equal Society, and strongly encourages qualified female researchers as well as non-Japanese researchers to apply (The applicant must have a resident status granting permission to work).

Salary and benefits

1. Salary

The monthly salary (basic salary) is JPY331,000 - 394,000 commensurate with qualifications and experience in accordance with the JIRCAS Staff Salary Regulations.
Bonuses equivalent to 1.7 months’ basic salary (less for first bonus after recruitment) are paid twice a year in June and December. Allowances include commuting allowance, overtime work allowance, regional allowance (if assigned in Tsukuba), and special area work allowance (if assigned in Ishigaki). However, allowances for dependents and housing are not provided. The monthly salary and other benefits are subject to change in accordance with revision of regulations.

2. Day-off and leave

  • Saturdays, Sundays
  • Public holidays, yearend and new year holidays (Dec 29 – Jan 3)
  • Annual paid leave: 15 days on recruitment (Apr 1, 2021)
  • Others : sick leave, summer leave (3 days), nursing care leave (5 days), special leave (marriage, maternity, mourning)

3. Working hours

  • Standard working time (8:30 am - 5:15 pm)
  • Flextime system, discretionary working time system (need to apply)

4. Welfare benefits

  • Health insurance and pension by MAFF mutual aid association
  • Employment insurance, Workers’ accident compensation insurance
Documents to submit
  1. Curriculum vitae (Form 1) 

          ※ Use the prescribed form (WORD Microsoft Office document icon(51KB))
          ※ Please make sure to indicate an email address for correspondence.

  1. Research achievements (Form 2) 

          ※ Use the prescribed form (WORDMicrosoft Office document icon (33KB)).

  1. Research plan and future career goals (one-page A4, free format)
  2. Copy of peer-reviewed publications with applicant as lead author (one copy each)
  3. Summary of previous research activities (one-page A4, free format)
  4. Recommendation letter (From current supervisor excluding JIRCAS staff. Submission is optional.)
Send documents to

Dr. Masayoshi Saito

Director, Research Planning and Partnership Division
Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)
1-1 Ohwashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8686

Deadline of application

November 18, 2020 (Documents must be received by 17:00.)

※ Submission by mail attachment or electronic file will not be accepted.
※ Please note that incomplete documents, flawed documents, or wrong information will be excluded in the evaluation of the applicant.

Selection process
  1. Screening of applicants based on submitted documents (end November 2020)
  2. Interview for selected applicants (middle December 2020)

※Place: JIRCAS Headquarters (1-1 Ohwashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki)

Start of employment

April 1, 2021 (tentative)

For inquiries, please contact

Dr. Masayoshi Saito (masaito@
Dr. Tomohide Sugino (tosugino@

Other matters
  1. All expenses incurred in attending an interview will be borne by the applicant.
  2. All submitted documents will not be sent back to the applicant regardless of the result of the application.
  3. All correspondence will be done by email only.
Handling personal data

All submitted documents will be used only for the purpose of screening the applications, and not for any other purpose.

Form 1 Curriculum vitae
r20201022.docx25.86 KB
Form 2 Research Achievements
r20201022.doc40.5 KB

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