Structure and Flow of the RIHN Research

The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) is developing comprehensive research that transcends existing academic fields and disciplines through a “Program–Project system” that unites several research projects under a Program. The Programs consist of a Research Program and Strategic Program, with several research projects under each Program. The research projects are conducted in accordance with the priority issues set for each Program. During the six years of Phase 4 starting from FY2022, the Research Programs and the Strategic Program are to clarify the relationships among various elements in global environmental issues, as well as the dynamics in the temporal and historical development processes that led to the Anthropocene. The Program results will be linked with transformations that will lead to a more sustainable (futurable) society. We strive to achieve flexible, versatile, and effective results, and disseminate them in society. In addition to Program research, we will promote research within the framework of “Designated Research,” which is special collaborative research that contributes to the achievement of the RIHN mission. Please note that at the start of the Phase 4, some projects that have continued from the Phase 3 may not belong to a Phase 4 Program.

Research Program

Three Research Programs will be implemented in accordance with the mission of the RIHN, and with activity policies that contribute to the realization of the promotion goals of Phase 4, which include the three perspectives listed below. Particularly, projects that accomplish the Program Director’s (PD) plan are openly called.

Perspectives for the Research Program

RIHN’s aim is the realization of an equitable, fair, and sustainable global society by envisioning ideal relationships between humans and nature from regional perspectives, on a global scale.

This perspective explores the understanding of environmental changes, as well as responses to degradation, from an Earth-systems perspective, in addition to an investigation of the interrelationships and linkages between social/economic systems and natural/ecological systems within Earth systems. Further, it aims to elucidate how the anthropogenic degradation of the natural environment and ecosystems occurs in Earth systems, which comprise intertwined elements and processes, and to explain how this degradation affects human society. Various points are elucidated, such as how Earth systems cascade to tipping points with potentially irreversible consequences, and how far-reaching interactions relate to changes in socioeconomic and ecological systems across the world. An investigation is conducted into the responses that can prevent the further degradation of global environments and restore already degraded global environments.

This perspective explores the “ways of life” in the Anthropocene through understanding environmental issues in terms of their connections to culture and value systems. In the current “Anthropocene,” as global environmental problems are rapidly increasing in size and scope, we promote interdisciplinary research involving the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to help solve these urgent issues. We ask how we can create spaces within the limits of the earth and society where humanity can operate justly and safely, and what are the ways people can best live in the Anthropocene. Through these studies, the relationships between humans and nature are explored in an explicit and normative manner, as well as the significance and importance of culture and value systems.

This perspective presents mechanisms for developing ideas and measures to solve global environmental problems, in collaboration with diverse actors in society, in addition to the means to realize such solutions. To transition and transform socio-economic systems into sustainable systems, it will be important to reorganize the roles of key institutions and parties on a large scale. Here, we ascertain how various actors in society (researchers, citizens, non-profit organizations (NPOs), governments, international organizations, etc.) can act to bring about partial renewal and a fundamental change in the system, without being bound by stereotypes and vested interests. We will explore methods of transition/transformation to a sustainable society through case analyses of historical and contemporary transition/transformation processes, social experiments based on practical research, and in other practical and scholarly ways.

Global Environmental Culture Program

Combining Knowledge for a Fundamental Innovation of Land Use Program

Co-creation of the earth-human system Program

Strategic Program

The Strategic Program is designed to develop important concepts and theories for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research toward a further synthesis of global environmental research, and to formulate frameworks for methodologies to apply to social practices for problem solving. The Strategic Program invites applications for projects that implement the Program’s mission, and while collaborating and cooperating with the Research Program and research projects, we will utilize the resources of the RIHN Center; incorporate trans-disciplinary research from outside the Institute; and develop specific and applicable theories, methodologies, and concepts consistent with the mission of RIHN.

Flow of the RIHN Project Formation

Projects established under the Research Program and Strategic Program will continue to accumulate research while undergoing evaluation both within and outside of the Institute.

  • IS (Incubation Studies, Research Program only)
  • FS (Feasibility Studies)
  • PR (Pre-Research, Research Program only)
  • FR (Full Research)

Through the above stages, projects will deepen and refine the research content.

Project Formation for Research Projects

Project Formation for Research Projects

Project Formation for Strategic Projects

Project Formation for Strategic Projects

RIHN Invited Scholar Program & RIHN Visiting Research Fellow Program

Opportunities for Overseas Researchers to Spend Time at RIHN

RIHN has established two programs to enable overseas researchers to spend several months at the Institute, engaging in research and interacting with other RIHN researchers. The basic idea is that such visits benefit both the researcher and the Institute. The programs are open to researchers based outside of Japan (including those with Japanese nationality) and researchers based in Japan with a nationality other than Japanese. Candidates for both schemes are selected competitively.

Brief comparison of the schemes
Invited Scholar Visiting Research Fellow
Role at RIHN Contribute to the development of the intellectual foundations and strategic directions of the Institute Engage in specific research in the context of one of the RIHN Programs, Projects, or Units
Basic requirements Be employed at a home institution and have rich and broad research experience Be employed at a home institution* and have at least 3 years’ postdoctoral research experience or equivalent
*Applicants should maintain their employment status at the home institution until the end of placement at RIHN
Selection procedure Competitive based on nomination by RIHN faculty member (most of the paperwork is the responsibility of the faculty member) Competitive based on application by candidate to an open call (most of the paperwork is the responsibility of the applicant)
Period of Stay 1 month – 3 months
*Subject to change based on the budget ability
2 months – 6 months
*Subject to change based on the budget ability
Conditions while at RIHN Employed by RIHN Not employed by RIHN, costs covered