Call for applications for FY 2015 Foreign Postdoctoral Researcher (FPR)

New internationalized SPDR program
The Foreign Postdoctoral Researcher (FPR) program launched in 2007 has provided talented young foreign scientists with the same kind of opportunities as the Special Postdoctoral Researcher (SPDR) program which was primarily targeted at young Japanese scientists. Starting from FY 2016, the two programs will be merged into a new internationalized SPDR program. Qualified candidates of all nationalities are welcome to apply. Please see here for details.

RIKEN is now accepting applications for Foreign Postdoctoral Researcher (FPR) positions for FY 2015. These positions are for foreign scientists who have demonstrated creative and innovative ideas and who can be expected to achieve broad international recognition in the future.


RIKEN will invite as Foreign Postdoctoral Researchers foreign scientists who have demonstrated creative and innovative ideas. The intent of this program is to have these scientists contribute to the advancement of RIKEN’s research, and to lay the foundations for a truly global RIKEN that actively encourages foreign participation in its activities. By inviting researchers from other countries, RIKEN hopes to achieve a stimulating research environment that transcends national boundaries, and to thereby become a global leader of scientific endeavor.

Foreign Postdoctoral Researchers will be expected to make full use of RIKEN’s research environment and to apply their creative and innovative ideas, under the direction of RIKEN’s laboratory heads, to the research currently being conducted at RIKEN.

Research fields

All scientific and technological areas of physics (Physics I(particle, nuclear, astro, ..), Physics II (condensed matter)), chemistry, biology, medical science, and engineering that relate to research being conducted at RIKEN

Number of openings

Around 20


Applicants must fulfill all the conditions below.

  1. Applicants must be non-Japanese citizens.
  2. Applicants must have a PhD in the natural sciences awarded on or after January 1, 2009, or expect to be awarded a PhD by the date of hire.
    Note: Those with PhDs acquired prior to December 21, 2008, may also apply if there was a lapse in their research activity if subtracting this period of non-research activity will allow them an equivalency that meets the above requirement. RIKEN’s screening committee will determine whether the period of lapse is justifiable after the deadline submitting the application.
    Examples of acceptable periods of lapse: maternity leave, childcare leave, and working for a private industry in a non-research capacity.
  3. Applicants must be able to start working at RIKEN within FY 2015 (April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016).
  4. RIKEN employees may not apply for this position. However, those who were newly employed in fiscal year 2013 or later are eligible to apply.

Place of work

RIKEN host laboratory location

Please consult the FPR desk prior to applying if the primary place of work is likely to be outside of Japan.

Contract duration

  1. From date of hire to March 31, 2016.
  2. The contract can be renewed for up to a maximum total duration of 3 years depending on the results of an evaluation made prior to the end of the current contract year.

Salary and benefits

  • Annual salary will be paid in the monthly amount of 487,000 yen (includes social insurance premiums and taxes). Commuting allowance (actual cost up to a maximum of 45,000 yen per month) and housing allowance (partial payment of rent) will also be paid.
  • Travel cost to take up the appointment at RIKEN will be compensated according to RIKEN’s rules and regulations.
  • Enrollment in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (Kyosaikai) is compulsory. A Kyosaikai membership fee will be automatically deducted from your salary each month.
  • Days off from work include Saturdays and Sundays, national holidays, year-end/New Year holidays (Dec. 29 to Jan. 3), and RIKEN Foundation Day.
  • Other provisions as per RIKEN regulations.
  • Research budget: 1,000,000 yen per year allocated to host laboratory.
  • Salary above is based on FY 2013 figures.
  • FPRs will be exempt from repayment of category 1 scholarship loans from the Japan Student Services Organization that were made before fiscal year 2003.
  • FPRs are eligible to apply for external funding (kakenhi and the like).
  • FPRs who take maternity leave, childcare leave, or additional leave for childcare during the contracted period, may have their contract duration extended, in accordance with RIKEN regulations.
  • RIKEN is an equal opportunity employer, and has a number of systems in place available to both men and women.

* (Due to system maintenance, the website will be closed to access for about 5 minutes between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., March 18 and April 15, 2014, Japan Time.)

Application procedures and deadline

I. Applicant

To apply

  1. Contact the laboratory where you would like to work

    Explain your research field, experience, and achievements, and discuss with the head of the laboratory the possibility of your participation in the laboratory’s work, the topics you might pursue, your research plans, and how your duties in the laboratory will be allocated. Please note that not all laboratories are accepting FPRs this year. Refer to the list of host laboratories (lab location). This list is updated regularly. Please take note of the date on which the list was last updated.

  2. Application documents and submission requirements

    You should only apply once a laboratory has agreed to accept you as an FPR and you have settled on your research topic and other conditions.
    After you have reached agreement with the laboratory head access the website noted below and enter the required information to register. This must be done by April 30, 2014, Wednesday. Please note that the recommendation letter must be uploaded by the same day, so please take care of things well in advance.
    This website will not go up until March 17, 2014.
    For instructions on the registration procedure, see here.
    (The call has been closed.)
    After you have registered online, download and prepare the following application documents.

Application documents to be prepared by the applicant

  1. Curriculum vitae [MS-word 2003][PDF]
  2. Summary of major research achievement [MS-word 2003][PDF]
    This document is intended to present your major achievement to the members of the screening committee. The summary should be clear and concise and should be no more than 1 A4 page. For papers of which you are a co-author, the summary should explain your specific contribution. If you have several major research achievements and related papers, they should be numbered on the List of research achievements and referred to by that number in your summary.
  3. List of research achievements [MS-word 2003][PDF]
  4. Research proposal [MS-word 2003][PDF]
    Research topic, objective, description, and annual plan; no more than 5 A4 pages
  5. Reference from 1 or 2 individuals who are qualified to evaluate your research achievements
    Letters of reference should be sent directly by the referee. A request for a letter of reference will be automatically sent to the email addresses for references that you list when you register to apply.

    (IMPORTANT: The deadline for the letters of reference is the same as the application deadline.
    Please be sure to contact your referees and register early so that there will be plenty of time for them to prepare and send in the letters of reference.)

    There is no set format for the letters of reference, but they must meet the following conditions: they must be uploaded as PDF files and must be addressed to the President of RIKEN. You can scan the signature or upload a graphic version of the signature.

  6. Reprints of no more than three representative papers, if applicable

Submission procedure

After you have registered online you will automatically be sent an email with your user ID, registration number, and password. Go to the website indicated in the email and upload your application documents.
IMPORTANT: All files must first be converted to PDF format before you can upload them.


5 pm, April 30, 2014, Wednesday (Japan Standard Time)

II. Host laboratory

You are asked to check the applicant's documents and prepare your own hosting documents online.

Check the applicant's documents

After the April 30 deadline, you will automatically be sent an email with a user ID and password with instructions. Go to the website indicated in the email and check the candidate's application documents.

Host document preparation and submission

After you have checked the candidate's application documents, prepare the required host document online. Refer to the online instructions for information on the procedure.


5 pm, May 12, 2014, Monday (Japan Standard Time)

Selection procedures and schedule

  Notes Notification
First screening (documents)
When filling out the basic information, make sure to include an email address where you will be able to receive the results at the time specified in the right column.
Beginning of July 2014 (notification of results and interview schedule)
Second screening (interviews) Examination date Location  
One day in the period from July 28 to August 1, 2014 (to be announced later) Wako, Saitama End of September 2014 (notification of screening)

* If you will be traveling to Japan from overseas to undergo the examination, RIKEN will reimburse you for your airfare up to the maximum sum listed below, so please bring your flight invoice, itinerary, boarding pass stubs, and bank account information for reimbursement. You will be responsible for other costs.
* China, Korea, Taiwan: Actual cost up to 30,000 yen maximum
* Other Asian countries: Actual cost up to 50,000 yen maximum
* Other countries: Actual cost up to 70,000 yen maximum


FPR Desk
Global Relations and Research Coordination Office, RIKEN
2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan
Fax: 048-463-3687
Email: fpr [at]

Note: Please send queries by fax or email. Telephone inquiries cannot be accepted.
Information cannot be provided on the details of the screening process.

Other matters

  1. The application documents, except for the Request to host an FPR (to be filled out by the host laboratory), must be filled out in English.
  2. Incomplete or incorrect applications may be rejected.
  3. Submitted application documents cannot be returned or changed.
  4. Submitted documents will be handled in accordance with the RIKEN rules concerning personal information, and only used for screening applications for this position. Personal information will not be disclosed, transferred, or lent to any third party without a justifiable reason.
  5. All costs incurred in making application must be paid by the applicant.
  6. Intellectual property issues will be handled in accordance with RIKEN regulations.
  7. You may only apply for one laboratory, but you may submit more than one research topic.
  8. The provisions for this position are premised on RIKEN’s current budget and are subject to change with any change in the budget.
  9. If successful applicants will not have acquired their PhD by the date of hire, the job offer will be cancelled.
  10. Relocation allowances (actual travel cost, prescribed moving allowances and arrival allowance) will be paid upon arrival at RIKEN.
  11. Foreign Postdoctoral Researchers may not receive any scholarship, fellowship, or similar type of funds from outside sources during their term of employment at RIKEN.