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Call for Sechi Kato Program for RIKEN Hakubi Fellows – Female Junior PI Program (FY2023)

The call for FY2023 has been closed.


RIKEN offers up to one junior Principal Investigator (PI) position, a RIKEN Hakubi Fellow position, for an exceptionally talented female researcher for a maximum of 7 years in the framework of the Sechi Kato Program. The RIKEN Hakubi Fellow is expected to engage in creative and ambitious research in natural and mathematical sciences, including research areas bordering the humanities and social sciences, by leading her independent research team. Proposals intended to resolve urgent issues that humankind faces today are also welcome (See for example, Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations).

One of the important goals of the RIKEN Hakubi Fellows Program is to foster stimulating interactions among the Fellows with diverse backgrounds and to create an intellectual hub of scientists with different disciplines within and beyond RIKEN. See RIKEN Hakubi Fellows (Sechi Kato Program) appointed in 2019 and 2020.

Who was Sechi Kato?
Sechi Kato (1893-1989) is one of the pioneering female scientists who developed spectrometric analysis of organic materials in Japan, and the first female Chief Scientist of RIKEN.

What is “Hakubi”?
Hakubi is a proverb derived from classical Chinese literature. There were five siblings in ancient China, all excellent, but the most brilliant one had white (haku) eyebrows (bi).


Applicants should be talented female researchers who are able to engage in research at RIKEN on a full-time basis with the ability to manage their research laboratories as PIs. A doctoral degree is not necessarily required for this position.

Research environment

In addition to the salary, a successful candidate will be allocated a research budget of 10 to 40 million yen per year depending on the research plan and the progress. The Hakubi Fellow is assigned a laboratory space of up to 150 square meters at one of RIKEN’s branches in Japan. The final details will be decided through discussions with the Hakubi Fellows Program Head.

  • The Hakubi Fellow receives assistance and advice from the Program Head and mentors (assigned to each Fellow) for setting up the research team and for day-to-day laboratory management matters. Meetings with the President of RIKEN are arranged.
  • The Hakubi Fellow is encouraged to take maximum advantage of the RIKEN research environment, such as applying for competitive grants and using shared facilities and equipment. Furthermore, in order to recruit students and postdoctoral researchers to the team, the Fellow is entitled to be on the list of laboratories accepting the Special Postdoctoral Researchers, Junior Research Associates, and International Program Associates.
  • RIKEN promotes a Gender Equity Program by taking various measures to create an equitable workplace where both men and women are able to give full rein to their talents and abilities. Hakubi Fellows who take maternity leave or childcare leave during the contract have their contract duration extended, in accordance with RIKEN regulations

Term of employment and salary

Employment starts on April, 2023 or later and the contract period is up to a total of 5 years. Upon evaluation the period can be extended for additional 2 years, for a maximum of 7 years.

The annual salary is approximately 10 million yen per year (including tax). In addition, commuting and housing allowances are provided according to the RIKEN regulations. Social security benefits are also provided. Enrollment in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (Kyosaikai) is included. Other provisions are as per RIKEN regulations.

For those who already have a position at RIKEN when appointed as a Hakubi Fellow: The maximum term as the Hakubi Fellow is restricted so that the total sum of continued contract with RIKEN shall not exceed 10 years from April 1, 2013.

Application and screening procedures

Apply online through Application procedures.

Applicants of the Sechi Kato Program may also apply for the regular Hakubi Fellows Program. The first stage of screening is an evaluation of submitted documents, the results of which is notified in September. Successful applicants then proceed to the second stage, the interview, which is currently scheduled to take place in autumn.


Online registration: 24:00 (JST), July 7, 2022
Upload of application documents: 15:00 (JST), July 14, 2022

Other matters

  • Part of the travel and lodging expenses incurred by applicants invited to interviews are reimbursed according to RIKEN regulations.
  • Research results will be treated in accordance with the employment contract.
  • No information will be released concerning application status or evaluation details.
  • All personal information provided to RIKEN during the application process is handled in strict confidentiality, and will not be used for any other purpose or disclosed to any third party.
  • The conditions for this position are based on RIKEN’s budget and are subject to change with changes in the budget.

Contact information

Please see the FAQs for further information.

RIKEN Hakubi Desk
Research Personnel Affairs Section, RIKEN
hakubi [at] riken.jp