JIRCAS Visiting Research Fellowship Program FY2024

The JIRCAS Visiting Research Fellowship Program is one of the activities of JIRCAS designed to accelerate scientific research and advance the expertise of nominated researchers from developing countries. The program offers the opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of JIRCAS researchers.

JIRCAS is now accepting applications for the FY2024 program for research on themes listed below, in either JIRCAS Tsukuba, Japan, or JIRCAS project site in Madagascar.

Research Themes for FY2024 Program:

Theme 1: A comprehensive analysis of the genes affected by high sugar accumulation in microbial saccharification technology.

Microbial saccharification is one of the key technologies in the Carbon Cycling Project, and corporate collaboration is underway. In the proposed theme, we will conduct a comprehensive genetic analysis of the effects of high sugar concentration on saccharification bacteria. In other words, we aim to establish an advanced microbial saccharification technology by identifying relevant genes that negatively affect saccharification bacteria and elucidating the mechanism of the phenomenon in which the sugar in the culture medium reaches a plateau at a certain concentration. We are inviting researchers who have experience in biomass utilization and microbial experiments and are highly engaged in environmental sciences. Our purpose is to broaden the base of researchers in developing countries in this field and to link this to the dissemination of microbial saccharification technology and research networks.

Host Scientist: UKE Ayaka
Location: Tsukuba, Japan 

Theme 2: BNI characterization of parental Maize CIMMYT Maize inbred Lines (CMLs) used in the development of DHL populations.

Maize is the world’s largest cereal crop. Huge amounts of nitrogen fertilizer are applied to maintain its yield, thus necessitating the establishment of BNI-enabled maize. Although we have identified the lines with high- and low- BNI capacity lines in CMLs, we are still far from demonstrating or establishing the BNI-enabled maize line in the field. In this context, the doubled haploid line (DHL) population using these CML lines is being prepared for further genetic exploration for BNI capacity. The purpose of this proposal is to clarify the BNI capacity of the parental lines for the DHL population in field trials in order to prepare for further analysis of the DHL population.

Host Scientist: G.V. Subbarao and YOSHIHASHI Tadashi
Location: Tsukuba, Japan 

Theme 3: Empirical analysis of factors related to food production and consumption of farmers in Madagascar.

In this project, we will explore how to contribute to food security and nutrition by analyzing rural farmers' food environments, their responses food production, and the impact on nutritional supply amidst the rising prices of chemical fertilizers and other products. The panel dataset we use consists of 14 rounds of interview surveys over a five-year period from 2018 to 2023, targeting 600 rice-farming households in the central highlands of Madagascar. It includes a wide range of information, such as household composition, agricultural production, land use, labor, income, consumption, diet, height, and weight in the same households over the period.

Host Scientist: SHIRATORI Sakiko
Location: Tsukuba, Japan 

Theme 4: Species identification and functional analysis of indigenous N-fixing bacteria for improving the production of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in Madagascar.

In this Project, we aim to identify useful strains and their combinations of nitrogen-fixing bacteria at the genomic level that were isolated from root nodules of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivated in farmer fields in Madagascar. We will conduct DNA sequencing and functional evaluations, including nitrogen fixation activity, to determine the effectiveness of these strains and their combinations. Additionally, we will investigate the effects of inoculating or co-inoculating these strains on the growth of common bean in nutrient-poor soils. The findings will contribute to the exploration of microbial resources and their utilizations for enhancing the productivity of leguminous crops under low-fertilizer-use and nutrient-poor soils, thus benefiting agricultural systems in Africa.

Host Scientist: Papa Saliou Sarr
Location: Tsukuba, Japan 

Theme 5: Elucidation of Iron dynamics in rice possessing different tolerance mechanisms to iron toxicity.

A key to improve rice production in regions suffering from iron toxicity, such as Madagascar, is developing rice varieties with improved tolerance. To achieve this goal, the project aims to elucidate tolerance mechanisms and search for genes that can be utilized for breeding. In this research, changes in iron concentrations of various tissues and xylem sap will be investigated to reveal spatial dynamics of iron and identify key physiological mechanisms, using lines with contrasting tolerance to iron toxicity in the field. Also, gene expression analysis will be conducted to reveal the expression patterns of key genes that may be associated with these physiological phenomena.

Host Scientist: UEDA Yoshiaki
Location: Madagascar 

Desired Qualifications:

  1. Be a citizen of a developing country.
  2. Applicant must be currently employed in a research organization or university in their home country where he/she is actively engaged in research relating to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. After completing the Fellowship, he/she must be willing to return to his/her country and continue the research at the same research institute or university.
  3. The applicant should possess at least an MSc degree in a field related to socio-economics, natural sciences, or technology.
  4. Should be able to work exclusively on the research theme applied for.
  5. Should be in good health.
  6. Be required to have an adequate command of English and/or Japanese language.
  7. Should be endorsed by the authority of the institution where the applicant is employed or affiliated.
  8. The researcher for Theme 5 shall be based in Madagascar. Therefore, applicants of Madagascar nationality or those who are eligible to stay in Madagascar for one year will be given preference.

Fellowship Conditions:

Tenure/Period of Fellowship

The duration of the fellowship program is one year, starting from October 2024.

Fellowship Benefits

  1. A round-trip economy-class airline ticket (not available for dependents) will be provided.
  2. Living allowance: JPY 7,700 per day (excluding housing allowance).
  3. Housing:
    1. The housing allowance will be based on government housing regulations.
    2. Living facility will be provided.
      • In Tsukuba, Japan
          The facility will be.
          Tsukuba International House (TIH) 
          2-1-9, Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-860
      • In Madagascar:
          The facility is yet to be determined. 
  • Insurance: Overseas travel accident insurance package for injury, sickness, and damage will be covered for the applicants. However, please note that chronic diseases, dental treatment, pregnancy, or childbirth are NOT covered by this insurance.

See full description of the Fellowship Terms of Condition.

How to Apply:

To apply for this Fellowship Program please follow the three-step application process outlined below:

Step 1:
Register your application by filling out the Online Registration Form. Registration
Step 2:
After your registration, an email from JIRCAS confirming your registration, and provide guidance for document submission. 
Step 3:
Please submit the required documents (items 1 - 7* listed below) to JIRCAS by email.

Required Documents

  1. A summary of your ongoing research at your institute/university
    Download Template
  2. A summary of your proposed research to be taken under the program
    Download Template
  3. A list of your publications
    Download Template
  4. An endorsement letter signed by the authority of your institute or university
    Download Template
  5. Curriculum vitae (any format, maximum of two pages, no certificates attached)
  6. A recent photo of yourself  [See Example]
  7. Copies of the three most relevant publications

Application Deadline and Notification of Result:

Registration and submission must be completed by May 31, 2024, 5 pm (JST) 

Applicants will receive an e-mail notification of the results by June 27, 2024.


Please contact us through the inquiry form on the JIRCAS website inquireas an inquiry for “Visiting Research Fellow”. Please note that the Inquiries relating to research themes will NOT be answered.

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