United Kingdom – Japan Arctic Research Bursaries Scheme 2024-25


An opportunity for United Kingdom-based researchers to apply for bursaries ranging from £10,000 to a maximum of £50,000 to support active participation in new joint partnerships with researchers based in Japan in the 2024-25 season.

Please note, the call for applications has now closed.


Researchers in the United Kingdom and Japan are well-placed to develop important new Arctic science partnerships that address pressing research questions. These partnerships can support the development of skill- and knowledge-based networks to strengthen researchers’ capability in both communities; generate innovative technical and observational approaches; and create lasting research connections.

The United Kingdom’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, working closely with the Science and Innovation Network in the British Embassy Tokyo and the NERC Arctic Office, is funding a new bursaries scheme to support new UK-Japan Arctic science connections.

The outcomes of the bursaries programme are expected to support and further develop long-lasting research and collaboration links between UK-based and Japan-based researchers; to provide access opportunities for UK-based researchers to work with new partners in Japan; and develop ideas for future international projects.

Bursary details

UK-based applicants: This programme is open to UK-based researchers in a broad range of science fields. Applications will be particularly welcomed from early career scientists and all those researchers within groups under-represented across the research community. It is expected that applicants will normally be employed in positions within UK institutions. PhD candidates undertaking the research as part of their qualification will not usually be eligible. Proposals could be for a single researcher or a small number of UK-based researchers working collaboratively. Eligible costs should not exceed £50,000 in total. Applications for smaller sums are especially welcome. All costs will be funded at 100 per cent.

Japan-based partners: The programme is intended to foster new UK research engagement with researchers based in Japan. It will be the responsibility of the UK-based applicant to obtain written and specific permission for the UK-based researcher to join with the Japan-based researcher or team, together with confirmation that any appropriate permits and access provisions are – or will be – in place. This letter and permission must come from the Japan-based researcher.

Supported activities: The expectation is that this will be for practical work, networking and partnership building, including science cruises, fieldwork and associated research and laboratory work as required, undertaken in the financial year 2024-25 (1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025). Applications may be for work which addresses a specific research question or which is part of a wider initiative where the bursary scheme will add value and impact. Applications can be for work which is focused on capacity and confidence building in new joint teams, sharing skills and techniques, developing practical methods, developing and deploying new equipment and innovative technology – including autonomous vehicles – and beyond.

The programme will not generally be available to support existing UK-Japan joint research projects but will focus on new or significantly extended collaborations. Researchers with existing partnerships must clearly identify the additional value and the new aspects of the collaboration in their application.

Eligible costs can include: travel, accommodation and subsistence, development/purchasing/hire/use of special equipment, logistics and shipping costs, specific training and permit/access costs. Where appropriate, travel and related subsistence costs for Japan-based researchers to visit the UK can be eligible. Salary costs and associated costs, such as insurance, will not normally be eligible. Conference costs are unlikely to be eligible unless there are specific and focused links to the bursary, and fieldwork or other practical project work forms the major part of the proposal. Publication costs will not normally be eligible.

All funds will be dispersed to a UK-based institution. However, in the proposal, applicants may identify appropriate opportunities to support the activities of Japan-based research partners should their application be successful.

Research fields: Applications are welcomed from across the full range of Arctic environmental, social and cultural research themes, including: cryosphere, atmosphere, social and human, health, marine, and terrestrial research. Applications demonstrating clear links to known and demonstrated areas of priority Arctic research, including those identified as part of the ICARP III process http://icarp.iasc.info/ and the IASC Strategic Plan 2023-26 and which show potential for medium-long term collaboration are encouraged.

Eligibility: Applicants who are normally able to apply for UK Research and Innovation funding will be eligible to apply.  

Timelines: All funded bursary activity must be completed during the 2024-25 financial year (1 April 2024 -31 March 2025)

Data handling and storage practices should be in line with overall UK Research and Innovation principles of data management. A short final report will be required, in addition to responses to ad hoc requests.

Japan research organisations

Details of Japan-based researchers with whom potential applicants may wish to investigate partnership opportunities can be found through a variety of sources, including through JAMSTEC and NIPR.

Networking and new research partners event

There will be an online information and networking event at 0800-1000 UK/GMT and 1700-1900 Japan on 29 November to enable prospective partners based in the United Kingdom and Japan to meet and talk to each other, ask questions about the bursaries scheme and exchange information. The event will be held in partnership with JAMSTEC and NIPR in Japan.

Participation in this information and networking event is not mandatory to submit an application to the bursary scheme, but prospective applicants are encouraged to attend.

Please register for the event here: https://forms.office.com/e/Z87D5nH9BJ, with further details to follow.

Application and assessment process

You are strongly encouraged to contact the NERC Arctic Office to discuss your proposal and eligibility at an early stage before submitting an application.

Applications must not exceed four pages A4 (12 point text). They must be submitted electronically to the NERC Arctic Office arctic@bas.ac.uk by 1600 on Wednesday 31 January 2024 in PDF format.

Supporting documentation such as CVs and confirmation letters from Japan-based partners can be in addition to the four page limit.

The application must include:

  • A proposal title and executive summary (200 words maximum)
  • A description of the research or other work to be undertaken by the UK applicant, including details of the role and responsibilities of the UK researcher
  • A description of the expected scientific outputs and/or other outcomes/impact of the joint UK-Japan project
  • Details of the Japan-based researchers and organisations with which the UK project will link
  • Amount applied for, with a full breakdown of expected costs for the project
  • Evidence of where the proposed work could lead to further medium-long term UK-Japan Arctic research collaboration
  • Self-confirmation of the UK employment status of the applicant

Enclosed documents

  • A confirmation letter from the Japan-based lead research partner demonstrating their agreement to partner with, and provide support for, the UK component
  • A two-page (max.) CV containing full contact details of the UK-based applicant, including e-mail and telephone details

The review of applications will be undertaken by a small joint UK-Japan Review Team. The criteria used will include the assessment of all evidence provided, and in particular:

  • The overall importance of the proposed research question in Arctic science, as demonstrated by the applicant and with appropriate reference to the Research Councils’ remits
  • the value of the new partnership being created and/or the innovative nature of the links being created.
  • the potential for new, related follow up research in the future which will deliverhigh-quality UK-Japan research impact.
  • The practical feasibility of the proposed work within the budget and timescale outlined.
  • The anticipated scientific outcome and impact, or other impact connected to the proposed work.
  • The level of support and integration with Japan-based partners; the focus on empowering local research partners and organisations, including knowledge and skills exchange; and planned outreach activity.


Applications must be submitted by 1600 (GMT) on Wednesday 31 January 2024. Confirmation of receipt will be via e-mail. You must contact the NERC Arctic Office – arctic@bas.ac.uk – if you do not receive confirmation of receipt.

Applicants should receive written confirmation of the outcome of their application by the middle of March 2024. Funding will be issued to your institution from May 2024 on completion of appropriate documentation.

All Bursary activities must be completed during the 2024-25 financial year.


Further details and questions

Henry Burgess

NERC Arctic Office


(01223) 221426