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NSF/Tokyo Report: US-Japan Exchange Programs for Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students: Accomplishments and Trends April 23, 1998

The National Science Foundation's offices in Tokyo and in Paris periodically report on developments abroad that are related to the Foundation's mission. These documents present facts for the use of NSF program managers and policy makers; they are not statements of NSF policy. Report Memorandum #98-08 April 16, 1998

US-Japan Exchange Programs for Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students: Accomplishments and Trends Abstract Programs initiated within the past 10 years for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students have provided more than 1300 Americans [many of them young scientists and engineers (S&Es)] with a research experience in Japan. Prior to 1988, research opportunities were limited, especially longer-term research visits. A varied "menu" of research visitation programs came into existence within the past 10 years; it is now possible to visit Japan for as short as one week or as long as two years. All or most of the costs of these research visits are borne by one of the Japanese agencies concerned with S&T. Even though Japan is experiencing fiscal problems, the GOJ continues to place a high priority on S&T. Consequently, S&T budgets have not decreased and the programs that bring foreign researchers to Japan remain strong even though interest by Americans in applying for a long-term research experience in Japan has been in decline since 1991. Introduction The primary purpose of this report is to assess the first 10 years of US-Japan programs for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Many of these programs came into being after the signing of the US-Japan S&T Agreement (UJST) in 1988, however, some programs had non-UJST origins. Prior to the signing of the UJST in June of 1988, the major bilateral program that NSF had with Japan was the Cooperative Science Program (CSP). The first significant cooperative scientific bilateral arrangement for either country, CSP was begun in 1961 and continues today. Within the framework of this bilateral cooperative science program, more than 27,000 scientists and engineers (mostly senior-level) from the US and Japan have participated in jointly funded research projects as well as joint seminars. After the signing of the UJST, numerous exchange programs began. These new programs were aimed at correcting the imbalance in researcher flow between the US and Japan. Costs for these programs were largely borne by the Japanese sponsoring agencies. These programs greatly expanded and diversified the opportunities for US scientists and engineers to visit Japan. Additionally, many of the new programs were sharply focused on early career S&Es, an NSF priority. The new programs instituted since 1988 can be divided into two categories: fellowships and summer programs. FellowshipsNSF nominates researchers for five fellowship programs administered by the

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Science and Technology Agency of Japan (STA). The range of programs allows research visits of as short as one week to as long as two years to Japanese universities, inter-university research institutes, and over 120 Japanese national laboratories, public corporations, and non-profit research organizations. Another fellowship program, supported by the Center for Global Partnership (CGP), enables American senior-level and postdoctoral scientists and engineers to work at public or private laboratories in Japan. NSF implements this program using funds provided by CGP. The JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship, established in 1988, supports 1-2 year visits to Japanese universities or inter-university research institutes. To be eligible, US researchers must be within six years of their Ph.D. Through 1997, this program supported 144 US researchers (nominated by NSF). An additional 99 were nominated through their host researcher during this period (Table 1). In response to NSF requests to provide shorter-term fellowship opportunities, JSPS created the Short-term Postdoctoral Fellowship (3-11 months) and allowed NSF to nominate US researchers for a Short-term Invitational Fellowship (7-60 days). The former was instituted in 1997 and US researchers within 10 years of their Ph.D. are eligible. This program (JSPS Short-term Postdoctoral Fellowship) is exclusively for US scientists and engineers; all other fellowship programs sponsored by JSPS and STA are also available to non-US researchers. For the latter program (Short-term Invitational Fellowship),! NSF could only begin nominating individuals in 1995; this program is open to all Ph.D. holders in science and engineering. The JSPS Short-term Invitational Fellowship supported 106 researchers (nominated by NSF) since 1995 (another 189 were nominated through host researchers from 1995-97). The JSPS Short-term Postdoctoral Fellowship supported 5 NSF-nominated fellows in its initial year (40 were nominated by host researchers). The Science and Technology Agency of Japan (STA) Postdoctoral Fellowship, established in 1988, supports 6-24 month visits to over 120 Japanese national laboratories, public corporations, and non-profit research organizations. To be eligible, US researchers must be within six years of their Ph.D. Through 1997, this program supported 143 US researchers (nominated by NSF). An additional 25 were nominated by their host researcher during this period. In 1994, STA created the Short-term Fellowship Program (1-3 months). Through 1997, this program has attracted 55 participants nominated by NSF with an additional 27 nominated by their host researcher. The Center for Global Partnership (CGP) Science Fellowship, established in 1992, enables American senior-level and postdoctoral scientists and engineers to work at public or private laboratories in Japan from 3-24 months. This program is unique and attractive in several ways. It is the only fellowship program that 1) can place a fellow at a private laboratory in Japan; 2) supports stays longer than 3 months for senior researchers; and 3) it is the only program offered by INT that can pay 50% of salary and benefits. Through 1997, 71 US researchers have participated. Summer ProgramsThe "Summer Institute in Japan" Program evolved from discussions of the Task Force on Access of the UJST, and was established (in 1990) to provide U.S. science and engineering graduate students first-hand experience in a Japanese research environment, intensive Japanese language training, and an introduction to the science and science-policy infrastructure of Japan. The goals of the program are to introduce U.S. graduate students to Japanese science and engineering research laboratories and to enable the development of

professional and personal relationships that will better enable students to collaborate with Japanese counterparts in the future. The long-term goal of the program is to increase the number of American scientists and engineers who are both familiar with the culture and language of Japan, and the research being conducted in Japan in their fields of expertise. The program is jointly supported by STA and the following US agencies: the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and NSF. NSF and STA serve as implementing agencies. Since the inception of the Summer Institute in 1990, 425 US graduate students have participated. The "Monbusho Research Experience Fellowships for Young Foreign Researchers" (the so-called "Monbusho Summer Program") began in 1993 when NSF and counterpart organizations in Germany and the United Kingdom joined Monbusho in a trial program to invite young foreign researchers to Japan for a summer research experience. The program was formally established in 1995 by Monbusho as the "Research Experience Fellowships for Young Foreign Researchers" and included 15 students (7 from the US, 4 from the UK, and 4 from Germany). France joined as a partner in 1996. For this past year (1997) Monbusho proposed to expand the total number of participants to 80 including 50 students from the United States; neither target was achieved, however. NSF nominated 23 of the total number of 69 participants in 1997. Since program inception, 41 US graduate students have participated. The above programs accomplished two key objectives of NSF's international mission: enabling US researchers to advance their work through international cooperation; and providing US scientists and engineers early in their careers with professional experience in other countries. A total of 990 NSF-nominated researchers (1370 Americans overall including both NSF-nominated and host-nominated) participated in the programs above. Only a very small percentage would likely have had such a research experience in Japan without the existence of these programs. Trends For long-term fellowships (defined as 3 months or greater), the level of interest has been declining since 1991 (see Figure 1). Between 1989 and 1992, the number of long-term postdoctoral fellows and visiting researchers (all programs) averaged 52.3 per year; from 1993 to 1996, the yearly average dropped to 45.8. In 1997, the number was 29, the lowest since the first year of the program in 1988. Early projections for long-term fellows in 1998 are not encouraging; the final number is not yet known but it likely will be equal to or lower than that for 1997. Why the declining interest? A number of reasons have been put forward (see below). And the decline in interest is not just confined to basic science and engineering. Other US-Japan programs, such as the Manufacturing Technology Fellowship Program, the Japan Industry and Technology Management Training Program, and the Fulbright Fellowship Program, are also experiencing drop-offs in applications. Some of the reasons suggested for the decline are (in no special order): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Language and culture barriers; Cost of living; Difficulty in obtaining meaningful spousal employment; Limited potential for permanent employment in Japan; Quality of the research experience in Japan;

6. Declining pool of potential applicants; 7. US economy All of the above have not significantly worsened since 1988, and several items have improved. Especially item #7. The US economy has become significantly more robust since 1992 which was also the first year of the declining trend for long-term visiting researchers. It appears likely that there is an inverse correlation between the strength of the US economy and the number of applications received for long-term fellowship programs. It is very difficult for a 1-2 year fellowship offer in a foreign country to compete with a salaried position in one's home country. Whereas fellowship applications have decreased from US applicants for Japan fellowship opportunities, there has not been a similar decline from other countries. There has been little difficulty filling long-term fellowships offered to other Asian and Western European countries indicating that the decline in interest is peculiar to the US. Should the economies in Western Europe and Asia improve dramatically, it will be interesting to note if there is a significant decline in the number of fellows from those regions. For short-term fellowships, the demand from US researchers remains relatively strong. This indicates that such programs are desirable and should be continued. It is hoped that these programs will help foster long-term collaborations between Japanese and US researchers. As these programs are still relatively new, it remains to be seen if this goal will be achieved. For the summer programs, the Summer Institute was at, or closely approached, a maximum steady state from 1992-97 (see Figure 2). The Monbusho Summer Program grew dramatically in 1997, almost tripling in size from 1996. (This rapid growth was due, in large measure, to the increased funding and slots provided by Monbusho.) Unfortunately, eligible candidates for 1998 Summer Programs in Japan (69) were well below the number of available slots (110) so concerns have been raised (among both NSF and our Japanese counterparts) about possible declining interest in these programs as well. Accepting the idea that both long-term fellowships and summer programs in Japan are valuable opportunities for the US S&E community that warrant continued NSF effort to try and increase demand, we need to better demonstrate the career-enhancing potential of a research visit to Japan. In doing so, we can hopefully attract more participants to these special programs. Edward O. Murdy Head, NSF Tokyo Regional Office Attachment: Figure 1.xls Figure 2.xls Table 1.xls Editor's Note: The remainder of this document consists of extensive data in tabular form that is not available in the ASCII version. A hard copy of this report, including the tables, can be obtained from Elena R. King, Division of International Programs, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230, Phone: (703) 306-1709; FAX: (703) 306-0476. When requesting a hard copy, please refer to Tokyo Report Memorandum #TRM 98-08 US-Japan Exchange Programs for Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students: Accomplishments and Trends

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