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Young Researchers Overseas Visit Program

Outline of the Program

Hitotsubashi University has launched the Young Researchers Overseas Visit Program for Strengthening the Alliance of Schools of Social Sciences (YROVP-SASSS). The Program is being funded by the Institutional Program for Young Researcher Overseas Visits under the auspices of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for the financial years 2010–2013.

Aim of the YROVP

Hitotsubashi University is a leading pioneer of the social sciences in Japan. Its research and education cover a wide range of disciplines including business and commerce, economics, law, political science, international relations, sociology, anthropology, history and linguistics. Hitotsubashi University defines itself as a School of Social Sciences (SSS), a unique tradition that continues to produce young researchers at the cutting-edge of the social sciences. In recent years, Hitotsubashi University has given priority to strengthening its alliance with world-class universities in the field of social science research and education. Drawing on such existing networks, and based on Hitotsubashi University’s mission to promote its global partnerships with other SSSs, the Young Researchers Overseas Visit Program for Strengthening the Alliance of Schools of Social Sciences (YROVP-SASSS; hereafter YROVP) aims to send our young researchers to overseas institutions, a policy now central to the university’s internationalization strategies. In addition, the YROVP is the first of its kind at Hitotsubashi University to provide intra-university support for the career development of young scholars, an initiative which has hitherto been done independently at each Graduate School.

The YROVP takes a twofold approach to achieving the above aim.

Firstly, it places greater emphasis on Hitotsubashi University’s renowned intellectual tradition of pragmatism through empirical and practice-oriented research. Hence, it aims to give postdoctoral fellows (PDFs), postgraduate students and undergraduate students with advanced training the opportunity to go overseas to build on their expertise in social science research. Secondly, it offers them the financial support to visit overseas institutions, keeping in view both the cross-program and program-specific dimensions of our initiative of academic career support. Linking these will be our basic principle in running the YROVP.

With cross-program support we seek to help our young researchers develop further skills in undertaking data collection and engaging in academic presentations and debates in a foreign language. Such skills are a prerequisite for academic exchange and the dissemination of research, regardless of the academic stage.

Program-specific support, on the other hand, calls for diverse strategies designed for each academic stage. For PDFs we provide state-of-the-art support in furthering their research at the cutting-edge of their disciplines. For PhD research scholars we offer support and incentives to obtain their PhD, whereas for Master’s students with aspirations to continue their studies to the PhD level, we provide basic training to build their academic skills and knowledge. Finally, we intend to provide undergraduate students seeking academic careers with a global academic experience.

On the basis of this two-tier support, we require the following of YROVP fellows.

  1. PDFs are sent for a period of 2–12 months. They are required to achieve substantial results, including publications in peer-reviewed journals overseas, presentations in symposiums, seminars or workshops at their host institutions, and the completion of an end-of-program report.
  2. Postgraduate students – both PhD and Master’s – are sent for up to 2 months, during which time they undertake data collection activities for a thesis or dissertation, disseminate their research (e.g. at conference presentations) and participate in intensive courses/seminars or internship programs. They are required to submit an end-of-program report to their supervisors. Their end-of-YROVP reports and their supervisors’ evaluation reports are shared with the Office of International Initiatives for analysis of the outcome of their visits.
  3. Undergraduate students who wish to pursue an academic career are given exposure to a global academic environment through a fieldwork education program, which is accompanied by seminars and workshops. The Area Studies Program for the Training of International Economic Analysts is such an initiative, which has been under way at the Faculty of Economics since 2009 in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and overseas universities. Hitotsubashi University has set in motion plans to expand and institutionalize such initiatives.

As a comprehensive university for the social sciences, Hitotsubashi University continues to strengthen its alliance with leading universities across the globe in social science research, and strives to expand its academic exchange arrangements with overseas universities. Building a closer alliance with them will be the key to successfully implementing the YROVP.