Program Outline

The Strategic Young Researcher Overseas Visit Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation: Construction of a Global Platform for the Study of Sustainable Humanosphere

Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the Graduate School of Asian and African Studies and the Center for African Area Studies applied for a the project titled“Establishing the Global Research Platform for Sustainable Humanosphere Research in Asia and Africa 2012-2014” and this was adapted into the “Strategic Young Researcher Overseas Visit Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation” which the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science (JSPS) initiated in 2011.


What is Strategic Young Researcher Overseas Visit Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation?

The Strategic Young Researcher Overseas Visit Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation (hereafter the Brain Circulation Program) is a competitive program for research funding which JSPS established based on the concept of “Funding Program for World-leading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology Research.” It aims to support the dispatching overseas of young researchers who are engaged in international collaborative research and to promote our country’s science through accelerating international brain circulation. This program focuses on expanding the opportunities for young researchers to be involved in world-class research and to tackle various crucial issues faced by the world, as well as strengthening the research network with overseas research institutions, including other universities.

About the Program

One of the most pressing issues in the modern world is to achieve the harmonized co-existence of the global community. The key to achieving this goal is to academically clarify suitable policies to achieve sustainable humanosphere development in the emerging countries in Asia and Africa. This program dispatches young researchers to the Asian and African research institutions. Additionally, some will also be dispatched to European and American research institutions where they then conduct collaborative research to achieve this goal. Through these activities, this program connects the regional research institutions located in Japan, the other parts of Asia, Africa and the West and thus it establishes an international research platform that enables inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and Africa.

Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the Graduate School of Asian and African Studies and the Center for African Area Studies have been promoting interdisciplinary sustainable humanosphere research, aiming for the harmonized development of the geosphere, biosphere and human society. This model of development will be transmitted from Japan to the world, and through continuous academic exchange, subsequently the research will be polished into a developmental framework which is meaningful internationally. Furthermore, to redress the biased Western centric view found in international development studies, closer intellectual links will be forged between Japan and the other parts of Asia & Africa. Based on the stronger links created with Asia and Africa, additionally we will interact with research centers in Europe and the U.S. for further academic exchange.

This program focuses on the following three research areas.

  • 1) Research on “plural co-existence” which encourages co-existence in diverse culture and social groups, and seeks to achieve inclusive development (Life Research)
  • 2) Research on the “biomass society” which aims to promote environmentally sustainable development built on renewable livelihoods (Green Research)
  • 3) Research on “local knowledge” which aims to create a sustainable humanosphere utilizing intellectual resources from each specific region (Knowledge Research)

To achieve the goals of this research, our program will dispatch young researchers to related academic institutions, where an excellent research environment for area studies is offered and with which Kyoto University has established academic exchanges. Accordingly, the cooperative relationship that exists between the institutions will also be strengthened through the program.

Dispatch of Young Researchers and International Collaboration Research

In Kyoto University, area studies, which integrate the interdisciplinary approaches of the humanities and science based on practical fieldwork, are promoted and this effort is accordingly highly evaluated globally. Besides the natural sciences, these area studies are one of the few research areas stemming from Japan, which is globally competitive. One research area in particular with a strong potential to hold a crucial position in future academic trends is that relating to the sustainable humanosphere based on area studies; in terms of academic research and its pragmatic contribution it is directly related to issues which are now central globally.

The area studies of Kyoto University have been promoting academic exchange with regional research institutions located in Asia and Africa, as well as in Europe and the U.S. However, there are limited opportunities for above-mid-career researchers, who are at the core of these studies, to stay in the relevant partner countries for longer periods. Moreover, international collaborative research and the brain circulation of young researchers in an institutionalized and consistent manner are not yet sufficiently implemented. Furthermore, research concerning a sustainable humanosphere, which is this program’s theme, represents a new research area which has been gaining global interest. Thus, focusing on this topic at this moment in time and conducting collaborative research could have great significance for establishing Japanese intellectual leadership in this area, in the near future. Through this program, young researchers are dispatched to institutions/centers of area studies in Asia and Africa and are expected to promote collaborative research through cooperative fieldwork conducted with local researchers. At the same time, they will also be dispatched to the institutions and research centers in Europe and the U.S. to reconsider the theoretical frameworks related to international development studies, questioning them from an Asian and African standpoint, to be able to obtain ability to globally examine similarities and differences.

The Region/Country and Research Fields of the Partners Institutions

This program dispatches young researchers, who are engaged in Asian and African area studies, to Southeast Asia (Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia, Universities Malaysia Sarawak in Malaysia), Southwest Asia (University of Delhi in India, Ankara University in Turkey), and Africa (Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, University of Yaounde I in Cameroon) for long term placements. Once there they conduct collaborative research, regarding the sustainable humanosphere of the respective areas, together with local researchers. These research institutions are those that the area studies researchers at Kyoto University have maintained close relationships with. Additionally, the young researchers will also conduct international collaborative research with the leading institutions of area studies in Europe and the U.S., such as the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK, Cornell University in the U.S, and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Stemming from Kyoto University acting as its hub and connecting the research institutions in Asia, Africa, Europe and the U.S., an international research platform focused on the sustainable humanosphere will be established, while simultaneously Japanese leadership within the academic sphere of this field will be secured.

International Collaboration Research: The Overview of the Plan

With diverse ethnicities, religions and cultures, which can be a potential cause for conflicts, Asia and Africa have formed plural co-existence societies, in which groups influence each other through their diversity. These regions, maintaining their traditional values, have been developing unique livelihoods built on a rich biomass, which serves as a locomotive establishing their socio-cultural basis on the “Indigenous knowledge.” However, they still face serious challenges to their ecosystems and social systems, such as a loss of biodiversity, decrease of rain forests, energy problems, inadequate preparation against disasters, poverty and growing economic disparity. To tackle these issues, this program aims to expand the sustainable humanosphere research, which Kyoto University created, to Asia, Africa, Europe, and the U.S. Subsequently, this program will present an appropriate strategy for sustainable social development reducing negative impacts on the global environment, and strengthening the research education system and the human network, while holding the paradigm of sustainable humanosphere as its fundamental concept.

International Collaborative Research: Attainment Goals

Academic Goals
(1) To strengthen the human network and academic community for “humanosphere” research in Asia, Africa, Europe and the U.S., and to promote the sharing of these academic ideas.

(2) To spread Japanese area studies, which integrates the interdisciplinary approaches of the humanities and science and is internationally highly recognized, into the academic spheres in Asia, Africa, Europe and the U.S., by the program serving as a research hub. In addition, it aims to develop area studies, which seek to pragmatically address and solve the challenges we face.

(3) To transmit the research across the world from area studies stemming from Asia and Africa, based on mutual exchange and edification, by establishing a comprehensive academic partnership system collectively within Japanese, Asian, African, European and American academic spheres.

Social Goals
The sustainable humanosphere based on the co-existence between civilization and the natural environment is promoted as the main concept for the strategic partnerships which connects Asia, Africa, Europe and the U.S. We will also encourage the conducting of practical research on the sustainable humanosphere in Asian and African societies, which is an indispensable prerequisite for our country’s future development,

Brain Circulation Program Secretariat
Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University
46 ShimoAdachi-cho, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, JAPAN
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