Research Institute for Humanity and Nature FY2023 Call for Proposals for Research Project Incubation Studies (IS) and Feasibility Studies (FS)
We will hold an Explanatory meeting on the call and procedures on zoom and would like all applicants to attend the meeting. Please send us e-mail at opencall[at]chikyu.ac.jp for more detail. (Please change [at] to @.)
Ⅰ. Purpose of RIHN
The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) was established in 2001 as an Inter-University Research Institute to conduct comprehensive research for solving global environmental problems. Its mission is to clarify the essential environmental problems and present an integrated view of the relationship between humans and nature by taking an overarching view of research in various fields. Since its establishment, the core belief of the RIHN has been that "the root cause of global environmental problems is human culture." The RIHN has been engaged in problem-solving research through a variety of research projects featuring "interdisciplinary research" centered on the fusion of the humanities and sciences, and "transdisciplinary research*" rooted in direct collaboration between researchers and society.
*Transdisciplinary research: It refers to research in which a community of researchers collaborates and cooperates with various stakeholders in society to create new knowledge. It comprises multiple processes, such as identifying stakeholders, planning for collaboration, conducting joint research, disseminating research results, and implementing research in society.
Ⅱ. Program-Project System
To comprehensively develop its research activities, the RIHN conducts research under a "program-project system," which links multiple research projects and their preparatory studies under a program that unites diverse research activities beyond existing disciplines and fields, as based on the RIHN mission. With the commencement of the Phase 4 Mid-term Goals/Plans period from FY2022, we have launched a new program and established a system for even closer and more organic collaboration between the program and projects. The program comprises a "Research Program" and a "Strategic Program"; however, only the former is the subject of this call for applications.
During the Phase 4 Mid-Term Goals/Plans period, three Research Programs are scheduled to begin accepting applications in sequence.
Scheduled date of public offering
Towards a Global Environmental Culture by Articulating Science with Indigenous Knowledge
For FY2022 starts (IS and FS) FY2023 starts (FS only)
Combining knowledge for a fundamental innovation of land use to combat global environmental challenges
For FY2023 starts (IS and FS) FY2024 starts (FS only)
Co-creation of the sustainable future based on the linkage of the earth-human system
For FY2024 starts (IS and FS) FY2025 starts (FS only)
The Research Program includes the following three perspectives in the research theme to be explored, formulates a clear mission to accomplish the task, and implements a practice project based on this mission.
Perspectives on understanding environmental change from an Earth systems perspective and exploring responses to degradation;
Perspectives to explore the "way of life" in the Anthropocene through understanding environmental issues in terms of their connection to culture and value systems;
Perspectives to explore measures and thoughts for solving global environmental problems in collaboration with diverse actors in society, and to present mechanisms for realizing such solutions.
In the Research Project, under the leadership of the program director, you will conduct research on the research theme of the Research Program. The formation of Research Projects is characterized by a system in which research content is deepened and refined through internal and external reviews and evaluations at the RIHN. There are Incubation Study (IS), Feasibility Study (FS), and Full Research (FR) phases—with a Pre-Research (PR) phase as a preparatory period before FR. Additionally, research proposals that can immediately contribute to the Research Programs may skip the IS phase and commence at the FS phase.
Upon reaching the FR stage (including PR)—the final stage of research project formation—, the Project Leader (PL) is required to become a full-time faculty member (Professor or Associate Professor) of the RIHN, either by full transfer to the RIHN or by application of the Cross Appointment System. Thereafter, a FR will form a research group in collaboration with universities, research institutes, companies, local governments, etc., within the RIHN. In doing so, you can utilize the various resources of the RIHN. Additionally, research projects must always be structured with researchers from different disciplines. For the criteria required for research projects, please refer to Appendix 1 "Evaluation Criteria" of the "Detailed Rules for Implementation of Research Projects at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature".
The final research outcome should be to construct and present options, such as a shift in people's awareness and values and the specific nature of society, through the implementation of academic research and collaborative practice in society to solve global environmental problems.
Ⅲ. Project Trajectory
Incubation Study (IS)
This joint research aims to identify new research seeds for comprehensive research to solve global environmental problems. After six months or one year, the research will proceed to the FS phase after an internal review by the RIHN. The budget size is limited to 1 million yen per year.
Feasibility Study (FS)
Preliminary joint research is performed to verify feasibility as a FR, with a maximum budget size of 4 million yen per year. During the FS phase, the FS Principal Investigator must be a visiting faculty member of the RIHN (FS Principal Investigators affiliated with the RIHN are subject to personnel screening to become full-time research and education personnel).
After a program is selected, it will be evaluated by RIHN internal review (usually performed in late-November) and the External Research Evaluation Committee (usually held in February) comprising external review committee members from Japan and abroad. It may then be adopted by the RIHN Council for Research Strategy and approved by the RIHN Board of Advisors. The program can proceed to the FR as early as April 2024.
After the decision is made to move to the FR stage, a preparation period of up to one year may be allowed. The budget size is limited to 16 million yen per year (reduced by monthly installments if less than one year). During this period, you will make various preparations to ensure a smooth launch of the research from the beginning of the FR stage, such as recruiting researchers who will implement the project.
You must have a full-time status (Professor or Associate Professor) within the RIHN after completing the procedures for transfer or cross-appointment to the RIHN to commence PR.
Full Research (FR)
The research period ranges three to five years, with two types of budget: 50 million yen/year and 30 million yen/year; interchanges are possible until transition to the FR stage. The two budget types are established to respect the nature of the research themes and the diversity of the methods of integration and collaboration between the humanities and sciences; they do not represent differences in the significance of the projects.
- FR annual budget up to 50 million yen over five years, not to exceed 250 million yen
- FR annual budget up to 30 million yen over five years, not to exceed 150 million yen
The budget amount shown for each research phase is subject to change depending on the budget amount allocated as an operating grant. Please be advised in advance.
Ⅳ. Content of the Call for Research Proposals
The call for research projects is based on the mission of the RIHN and the mission statement of the Research Program. Presently, we are accepting applications for the following programs; we request that you understand the orientation indicated in the attached mission statement, and that the content of your research matches—or is partially related to—that orientation.
Programs open to the public
Outline of Research
Towards a Global Environmental Culture by Articulating Science with Indigenous Knowledge
(Global Environmental Culture Program) Program Director Matsuda
To clarify the complex processes of interrelating and coupling forces acting on sites of global environmental problems using interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods. Specifically, to realize a new interrelationship between humanity and nature for a sustainable future society by including the role of culture in its scope.
Combining Knowledge for a Fundamental Innovation of Land Use to Combat Global Environmental Challenges (Combining Knowledge for a Fundamental Innovation of Land Use) Program Director Shobayashi
To mitigate and adapt to global environmental problems, the relationship between various regional socioeconomic activities and natural capital need to be substantially improved. This program strives to present a new vision of land ownership and use while developing a general-purpose and science-based institutional framework and policies. It aims to achieve social implementation and the adoption of scaled-up mechanisms that drive changes in land use. Finally, the program aims to build and share its findings internationally.
Please directly contact the program director in case you have any question about the research content or other requirements related to the program, or to discuss the relationship between your project and the one for which you are applying.
Program Director and Specially Appointed Professor, Motoji Matsuda Contact: matsuda[at]chikyu.ac.jp (Please change [at] to @.)
Program Director and Specially Appointed Professor, Mikitaro Shobayashi Contact: mshobayashi[at]chikyu.ac.jp (Please change [at] to @.)
Ⅴ. Characteristics of the public offering for FY2023
This is the second year of the "Global Environmental Culture Program”, and the first year of the "Combining Knowledge for a Fundamental Innovation of Land Use" program. Please note that there are a few differences in the research process between the first- and second-year applications.
First-year Open Call: Combining Knowledge for a Fundamental Innovation of Land Use (Program Director Shobayashi)
In the first year, we are soliciting two types of proposals: beginning with IS, or beginning with FS. Research proposals from the FS phase must undergo the FR transition internal review approximately six months after the commencement of the program; therefore, you must possess a thorough understanding of the program.
(A) If you apply for IS in the first-year application and are selected
After the commencement of IS in April, if the applicant does not wish to transition to the FS stage as described below, or if the applicant is not selected for the FS transition, the applicant will be required to undergo a review for transition to FS at the end of the fiscal year.
Early transition is a system that allows IS Proponents to undergo a transition review to begin FS in October, if they so wish. If selected, the FS can begin in October, and the internal review for FR transition will occur at the end of November. If the study is adopted by the internal review, it can begin the FR the following April, after an external review at the beginning of the year and if it is also adopted by the internal review of the RIHN. If the FS is not accepted by the internal review, it will terminate at the end of the fiscal year. However, if the FS is accepted by the internal review and is not accepted after the external review, it can be continued for one year only if the Principal Investigator so wishes.
*The schematic below is for cases where PR is not conducted.
(B) If you apply for FS in the first-year application and are selected
The FS will commence in April, and the internal review for FR transition will occur at the end of November. If the program is adopted by the internal review, it can commence the FR the following April, after an external review at the beginning of the year, and if it is also adopted by the internal review of the RIHN. If the FS is not accepted by the internal review, it will terminate at the end of the fiscal year. However, if the FS is accepted by the internal review and is not accepted after the external review, it can be continued for one year only if the Principal Investigator so wishes.
*The schematic below is for cases where PR is not conducted.
Second-year open call: Global Environmental Culture Program (Program Director Matsuda)
In the second year of the program, owing to program time constraints, there will be no call for proposals that begin with IS, but only for proposals that begin with FS. Research proposals from the FS phase must undergo the internal review for FR transition approximately six months after the commencement of the program; therefore, you must possess a thorough understanding of the program.
(C) If you apply for FS in the second-year application and are selected
The FS will begin in April, and the internal review for FR transition will occur at the end of November. If the proposal is adopted by the internal review, followed by an external review at the beginning of the year, and thereafter, by an internal review of the RIHN, the FR can begin the following April. Unlike (B), the FS will be terminated at the end of the fiscal year owing to program period constraints, even if the proposal is adopted by the internal review and is rejected after the external review.
*The schematic below is for cases where PR is not conducted.
Ⅵ. Personnel Procedures for Project Leaders
Upon reaching the FR stage (including PR), the PL is required to become a full-time faculty member (Professor or Associate Professor) at the RIHN, either by transferring fully to the RIHN or by applying the cross-appointment system. In either case, the personnel procedures will be thoroughly discussed between the RIHN and the PL's home institution, and will be stipulated in a collaboration agreement or memorandum of understanding, as necessary.
To use the cross-appointment system, you are asked to provide an effort rate for the work of the RIHN in consultation with your institution before the internal review (RIHN General Meeting) in November, when the transition from FS to FR is reviewed. Based on the concept of allowing the staff members devote themselves to RIHN work as much as possible, the cross-appointment system follows the policy that the effort ratio of cross appointments (including participation in internal meetings, etc.) should be at least 70%.
Ⅶ. Procedures for application
1．Documents to Submit
1) IS (first-year open call only)
Form 1–1a, b Application Form for 2023 Incubation Study (IS) 1-1a: WORD / PDF 1-1b: WORD / PDF (1a is for non-RIHN applicants and 1b is for in-house applicants, and only the approval sections of these forms differ.)
Form 1–2 2023 Incubation Study Proposal 1-2: WORD / PDF
Names and contact information of two persons who can provide reference opinions (only for those who fall under the category of “4. Eligibility (2)” in VII Procedures for application)
Form 1–7a, b Application Form for 2023 Feasibility Study 1-7a: WORD / PDF 1-7b: WORD / PDF (7a is for non-RIHN applicants and 7b is for in-house applicants, and only the approval sections of these forms differ.)
Form 1–8 2023 Feasibility Study Proposal 1-8: WORD / PDF
Names and contact information of two persons who can provide reference opinions
(only for those who fall under the category of “4. Eligibility (2)” in VII Procedures for application)
2. Submission deadline
January 23, 2023 (Monday), 10:00 a.m. (Japan Standard Time)
Forms 1–1 and 1–7 should be scanned from the official sealed form and submitted as PDF files attached to your email.
The subject of the application e-mail should be "FY2023 IS (or FS) Call for Proposals, and your Name and Affiliation."
If you do not receive a confirmation email by 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25 JST, please contact us.
Form 1–1 or 1–7, which has already been stamped with the official seal, does not need to be sent by postal mail.
3. Address for submission
By email: opencall[at]chikyu.ac.jp (Please change [at] to @.)
By postal mail:
457-4, Kamigamo Motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan
Research Planning Subsection, Research Support Section, Administrative Office, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN)
4. Eligibility of Applicants
(1) Professors, Associate Professors, Lecturers, and Assistant Professors at national, public, and private universities (2) A person who is equivalent to (1) above (in this case, the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of two persons who can provide their opinions (references) about the applicant are required.)
5. Research period
April 2023–March 31, 2024
6. Research expenses
The cost of travel, supplies, etc. can be planned in the limits of its budget. Please plan your budget within 1 million yen for IS, and 4 million yen for FS. Please note that purchase of equipment (with a unit price of 100,000 yen or more) during the IS and FS periods is not allowed.
7. Schedule following application
(Please note that this is the current schedule, and is subject to change.)
Deadline for submitting documents
January 23 (Monday), 2023
Explanatory meeting on the call and procedures
January 6 (Friday) and 19 (Thursday), 2023
Notification of document screening results
January 30 (Monday), 2023
Research presentation (at the RIHN) *Presentation review of proposals that have passed the document review
February 21 (Tuesday), 2023 (Reserve date*) February 22 (Wednesday)
Commencement of research
April 1, 2023
IS Reporting and FS Transition Review (Only for IS that will transition to FS from October)
Around September 2023
RIHN General Meeting in Kyoto City (FS only)
November 28 (Tuesday)–30 (Thursday), 2023
External Research Evaluation Committee Meeting at the RIHN *Presentation review of proposals that have passed the internal review at RIHN General Meeting (FS only)
February 6 (Tuesday)–8 (Thursday), 2024
IS Reporting and FS Transition Review at the RIHN (IS only)
February 20 (Tuesday), 2024 (Reserve date*) February 21 (Wednesday)
* A "reserve date" is a substitute date if the screening cannot be completed on the originally scheduled date owing to excessive applications, or other reasons. The applicant may not themselves designate a reserve date.
8. Screening and post-adoption process
Proposals that pass the document review process will be presented at a meeting attended by staff members of the RIHN, followed by a comprehensive review by the Council for Research Strategy.
In evaluating and adopting research projects, the RIHN emphasizes the following three points: 1) the scope and significance of the research, 2) the appropriateness of the research proposal, and 3) an appropriate project design.
In 1) above, we are seeking original research based on a clear background and subject matter, and in light of existing research. All the research projects of the RIHN are international joint research, but this does not imply that the research is conducted at a foreign research site; the research must be based on an international perspective and the possibility of international dissemination. Additionally, the project must integrate perspectives from diverse disciplines in its research questions and concepts, beyond its area of expertise.
In 2) above, PLs are required to have an appropriate academic background, ability to work with society, and management skills, as well as apply appropriate methodologies to achieve the research objectives.
In 3) above, the project must have an appropriate structure, including research objectives, and human and material resources and budgets.
Starting with IS
After being selected for the IS, you are required to participate in a workshop (hosted by the RIHN) at the RIHN, with prospective research participants, program directors, and RIHN staff, for the purpose of deepening understanding of the objectives of the RIHN and the mission of the Research Program, as well as exchanging opinions on the direction of the research for the FS. In addition, the IS report and FS research plan will be presented in late February 2024 for those who wish to start the FS in April 2024, and will be reviewed for FS transition.
Starting with FS
After the FS is adopted, the FS report and FR proposal will be presented at the RIHN General Meeting at the end of November 2023. Thereafter, after review by the Council for Research Strategy, the program will proceed to the External Research Evaluation Committee in February 2024. As the RIHN conducts IS/FS selection and research project formation based on the assumption that FR will be implemented in the future, all FSs will be subject to FR transitional review.
9. Reference materials
Kindly refer to the following RIHN handbook and website for application instructions.
The documents for submission should be written in the language specified, and in English or Japanese for all other parts.
The language to be used at the presentation after passing the document review should be either Japanese or English, and the travel expenses for participation shall be borne by the applicant.
The language used at the RIHN General Meeting (RGM) will be either Japanese or English, but the language used at the External Research Evaluation Committee Meeting will be English.
In principle, presentations at presentation meetings, the RGM, and the External Research Evaluation Committee Meeting should be made at each presentation site.
Contact information for inquiries
Research Planning Subsection, Research Support Section,
Administrative Office, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN)
email: opencall[at]chikyu.ac.jp (Please change [at] to @.)