Research Institute for Humanity and Nature Core Project
2020 Call for Proposals for Feasibility Studies

* This project recruitment has been closed.

Ⅰ The Purpose of RIHN

The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) is an inter-university research institute founded in 2001 for the purpose of conducting multidisciplinary research aimed at generating fields of academic inquiry for solving environmental issues.

The mission of RIHN is to bring together research efforts from multiple fields to shed light on the fundamental nature of environmental issues and present comprehensive ideas on the relationship of humans and nature. Since our founding, we have taken the view that problems of human cultures lie at the root of environmental issues. Accordingly, we have always promoted solution-oriented research through a diverse range of research projects characterized either as interdisciplinary projects which span the natural sciences and humanities and as transdisciplinary projects* which involve direct collaboration with social stakeholders.

*Transdisciplinary research: In transdisciplinary research projects, researchers collaborate with various social stakeholders with the aim of generating new knowledge. These projects involve a number of processes, including identifying the stakeholders, planning the collaboration, organizing the collaborative research, communicating the study’s findings, and applying these findings in society.

Ⅱ Core Projects within RIHN’s Program and Project Management System

In fiscal 2016, we introduced a new system of program and project organization under which we comprehensively manage and integrate projects that have been developed in a bottom-up manner in order to facilitate the generation of robust comprehensive knowledge. Our programs now consist of Research Programs and the Core Program. The Core Program has a program director who oversees several Core Projects.

The aim of a Core Project is to move beyond individual topics or research fields and to develop, under the leadership of the program director, concepts and/or methodologies to solve global environmental problems in collaboration with society that can be applied to a variety of global environmental issues and that have wide applicability to the foundations of global environmental studies. Project leaders of Core Projects are affiliated with RIHN and form research teams at RIHN. Core Projects leverage the diverse research-related resources (research topics and results, research areas, networks of people, and so on) that have been accumulated at RIHN over the course of Research Projects that are currently underway (projects under the umbrella of a Research Program that aim to develop concrete solutions to global environmental issues) and the numerous Research Projects that RIHN has hosted in the past. Core Projects are research projects that are carried out of the course of two to three years. RIHN will provide a research budget up to ¥10 million per year.

The goal of a Core Project is to develop concepts and/or methodologies for solving global environmental issues and that can be disseminated widely to domestic and international research institutions, researchers, and social stakeholders that are actively trying to solve those global environmental issues.

Ⅲ Content of the Call for Research Proposals

1. Core Feasibility Studies

RIHN is currently soliciting proposals for Core Project Feasibility Studies that aim to investigate the feasibility of a proposed Core Project. A Core Feasibility Project is carried out by a proponent in collaboration with researchers from inside and outside RIHN as well as various social stakeholders. Core Projects take on the task of developing concepts and/or methodologies for solving global environmental problems, which they do by collaborating with Research Projects currently hosted by RIHN and by leveraging results from completed RIHN projects as well as capitalizing on the applicant’s own expertise. As such, core projects are also expected to forge links with research taking place outside RIHN, both in Japan and abroad.

Please refer to the overview of research areas below and decide on a specific research topic. RIHN welcomes proposals from a wide range of people, including those who are not researchers in the traditional sense.

The two Core projects listed below are currently underway at RIHN and the research in these projects may also be relevant to new applications. Any questions about the direction and contents of the research, etc. may be directed to the program director. (For administrative matters, please contact the staff listed in “Ⅶ. Other Matters.”)

(Makoto Taniguchi, program director. Contact: E-mail).

Program and
Research Themes
Overview of research areas
(Core Program)
Developing concepts and methodologies to solve global environmental issues in collaboration with society
Core Projects undertake research that aims to develop widely applicable concepts and systematic methodologies for global environmental research that strives to build sustainable societies. In particular, we are looking for projects that focus on environmental ethics, fairness, justice, and altruism; methods to evaluate the balance between the environment and the economy; and scenario and policy development in cooperation with stakeholders.


Applicants must:
  1. 1) be a professor, associate professor, lecturer, or assistant lecturer at a national, public, or private university or similar institution; or
  2. 2) be recognized by the Director-General as having at least the same level of research competence as such.

3. Personnel procedures

When a project is approved as a Core Project Feasibility Study, the project representative (applicant) must become a Visiting Professor of RIHN. (One year)

When a project advances to the Core Project Full Research stage, the project representative (Project Leader) must become a Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor of RIHN. In this situation, there are several options: 1) the project representative becomes a faculty member at RIHN for the duration of the project (two to three years); 2 the project representative is seconded to RIHN from the institution of affiliation; or 3) the project representative makes use of the joint-appointment system to hold posts at the present institution of affiliation and RIHN concurrently. RIHN will consult extensively with the project representative’s institution of affiliation about employment-related personnel matters.

If the project representative plans to use the joint-appointment system, RIHN and the institution of affiliation will enter into discussions to establish the percentage of time the project leader will devote to research at RIHN. To encourage project representatives to make research at RIHN their primary focus to the maximum extent possible, RIHN requires those who use the cross-appointment system to devote at least 70% of their work time to research at RIHN (including participation in meetings, etc. at RIHN). This will be stipulated in the partnership agreement or memorandum of understanding between RIHN and the institution of affiliation.

If the Core Project receives a highly positive evaluation after its conclusion, the project representative’s employment at RIHN may be extended. In that case, RIHN will conclude a new partnership agreement or memorandum of understanding with the institution of affiliation.

4. Research Period

April 2020 to end of March 2021

5. Expenses

RIHN will cover expenses, such as travel and expendable items, within the scope of the project’s budget. Please prepare a plan with a budget of ¥500,000 to ¥1 million. Please note that we do not subsidize fixtures and fittings with a purchase price of ¥100,000 or more during the Feasibility Study period.


For more information on creating a proposal, consult the following guidelines and “RIHN’s Mission” and other content on the RIHN website.

  1. ・RIHN’s Mission : WEB SITE
  2. ・RIHN Philosophy and Approach:WEB SITE
  3. ・Expectations towards Core Projects: PDF
  4. (Core Projects will be screened based on items 1–7.)

  5. ・Research Program mission statements and trajectory to the Full Research stage:WEB SITE
  6. ・Posted on RIHN’s website in English under “RIHN Programs”:WEB SITE

Ⅳ Submitting Documents

1.Documents to Submit 

  1. ・Form 1–4: Application Form for 2020 Core Project Feasibility Study( WORDPDF
  2. ・Form 1–5: Core Project Feasibility Study Proposal(WORDPDF
  3. ・Curriculum Vitae of Applicant(WORDPDF


Documents must arrive no later than 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 12, 2020 (JST)

(Please email the documents as attached PDF files. The PDF of Form 1-4 should be a scanned copy of a printed form bearing the necessary seal (signature). In the subject line, please write “Re. 2020 Call for Proposals for Core Feasibility Studies” followed by your name and the name of your institution. Please send us Form 1-4 by postal mail, or deliver it to us by hand, by Friday, February 28, 2020. You will receive a confirmation email after you email the documents. Please contact us if this confirmation email does not reach you by 13:00, Friday, February 14.)

3.Schedule Following Application (subject to change)

  1. ・Document screening
  2. Tuesday, February 18, 2020

  3. ・Research proposal presentation (of proposals that passed document screening)
  4. Thursday, February 27, 2020
    (Possible second day*)Friday, February 28, 2020

  5. ・Research project commences
  6. Wednesday, April 1, 2020

  7. ・Presentation at RIHN General Meeting (@Kyoto city)
  8. Wednesday, November 25, 2020
     to Friday, November 27, 2020

  9. ・External Research-Evaluation Committee hearing(@RIHN)
  10. February 2021

*The possible second day is planned just in case, due to a large number of applicants, the presentations cannot be finished in one day. The second day is therefore not an option applicants can choose according to their schedules.

4.Where to submit

Email: E-mail

Sending by postal mail or delivering in person:
Research Planning Subsection, Planning and Collaboration Section, the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, 457-4 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8047

Ⅴ Review Process

Research proposals will be reviewed by RIHN’s Project Review Committee. The committee will review the documents you submitted in your application, including your budget plan. If your application passes this step, you will be invited to present your proposal at a public seminar at RIHN for comprehensive review.

Ⅵ After the Project is Approved

After a project is approved as a Core Project Feasibility Study, the project representative will present a Feasibility Study report and a plan to transition the project to the Full Research stage at the RIHN General Meeting in November 2020. If the project passes an internal review by RIHN’s Project Review Committee, it will advance to review by the External Research-Evaluation Committee in February 2021.

Ⅶ Other Matters

  1. When preparing the documents to submit, please be aware that certain sections must be completed in the language indicated. Where there is no such indication, you can use either English or Japanese.
  2. As noted in “Ⅴ Review Process,” RIHN’s project system calls for a research proposal presentation (those that passed document screening) that will be attended not only by reviewers but also by RIHN researchers and others. All application documents will be made available to these RIHN researchers. Please take care not to include research data that may not be disclosed.
  3. For the research proposal presentation (presentation of proposals that passed document screening), you may use either Japanese or English. RIHN cannot subsidize any travel expenses for attending the research proposal presentation.
  4. RIHN General Meeting may be conducted in Japanese or English, but the External Research-Evaluation Committee uses English exclusively.
  5. As a general rule, you will give presentations at the respective presentation venue.
  6. Inquiries
      Planning and Collaboration Section (Research Planning Subsection) of the Administrative Office
      E-mail: E-mail