Research Internship

Download: OIST Research Internship Program Information Flyer

In addition to the OIST Doctoral Program, seminars, and workshops, the OIST Graduate School offers education and research opportunities through a system of undergraduate and graduate placements as Research Interns. These short-term placements as a Research Intern give a select few talented students the opportunity to gain experience in a particular laboratory or to learn a specific technique. They work under the direction of a Professor at OIST and contribute to the research activities of OIST.

Places for Research Interns are awarded four times a year on a competitive basis, with application typically months in advance.


Those eligible to apply include students enrolled at graduate or undergraduate programs in universities, colleges, junior colleges, and vocational schools in Japan or overseas, or recent graduates of such institutions. Currently enrolled students must have approval from their home institution.


The tenure of Research Intern placements is between 2 and 6 months, typically 10 to 12 weeks. Tenure will not normally be extended. Interns may not take extended leave during their time at OIST, and are expected to work full time on their project.  Internships may begin and end at any time during the year, but application deadlines depend on the desired starting date of the internship (see below for details).



OIST provides living allowance, commuting support where necessary, and accommodation either on campus or nearby. Successful applicants will receive a Living Allowance of 2,400 JPY per day (weekends excluded) whilst at OIST.  

Travel Expenses

OIST will pay for one direct roundtrip travel for Research Interns between the home university or institution and the research unit or other facility where the internship will take place (usually Okinawa).  The travel dates must be as close as possible to the term of the placement.

Other Support

The Student Support Section of the Graduate School will provide support for Research Interns at OIST with matters such as housing, visa acquisition, insurance procedures, and local registration. OIST regrets that support for dependents, family members, and persons other than the student is not available. 

Application Procedure

Research Intern places are awarded four times a year on a competitive basis. Deadlines for application are listed in the table below. Selection is highly competitive, and depends on suitability of the intended research, a student's academic background, and available funding and space. Professors accepting students under these programs will review the student’s qualifications, research capabilities, and academic training in a comprehensive manner. Information is available below regarding research units that can provide research intern positions in any year, and the type of projects offered.  Please keep in mind that listed numbers indicate maximum availability, and only around 10% of the total open positions are filled in each round.  

The applicant is notified of the receipt of an application, and then of the outcome of their application once a decision has been made. OIST Graduate School will send the application result by email.  Please note that ample time must be allowed for the issue of a visa and other necessary Japanese government documentation.

Required Application Materials

We suggest you first download this HANDY WORKSHEET to guide your preparation of the application, as you must enter all details in the application form at once and cannot resubmit an application. Please fill out and submit the following materials to apply for the program: 

1) Curriculum Vitae Sheet - OIST CV SHEET

2) Personal Statement - STATEMENT SHEET

3) Academic Transcript - Upload a scan of your current academic transcript in PDF format. Unofficial partial transcripts are accepted.

4) Recommendation Letter - A letter of reference from an academic or research professional familiar with your work is required; the application system will ask them directly, using the email contact details you provide. Please arrange for the consent of that person before submitting their details in the form.  Applicants will be notified by the application system when a letter of recommendation is received.

5) ID Photo - Upload a recent photo, showing your face from the front in standard passport orientation (image must be in JPG format, and less than 5 MB).

Once you have obtained all the documents above, please attach and apply to the program through this APPLICATION FORM

Application Deadline

All application documents, including the letter of recommendation, must be sent by the deadline listed below for your intake dates.  Application periods correspond to time ranges in which your internship starts. (The deadline for your application depends on the day you plan to start your internship.  For example, if you plan to start May 1, your "Desired Starting Date" is in the range of Apr 1- Jun 30, so the deadline is Nov. 15).  

Actual internship periods may include parts of two or more separate intake periods (for example, you could request an internship that lasts from March 1- May 10).

Desired Starting Date Range
(the internship may extend beyond this period; this is your desired START date)

Jan 4 - Mar 31 Apr 1 - Jun 30 Jul 1 - Sep 30 Oct 1 - Dec 28
 Application Period Aug 1 - Sep 15 Oct 15 - Nov 15 Jan 15 - Feb 28 Apr 15 - May 31
Approximate Date of Result Announcement mid October mid December late March early July



If you need any more information or assistance with your application, please contact us at:


Applicants who intend to import biological or hazardous material for their research are urged to insure that such import is in compliance with all regulations of their home country, any country of transit, and of Japan, and to complete all necessary paperwork for importation well ahead of time.

Detailed regulations pertaining to matters of payment, intellectual property rights, attendance, health and safety, and other matters have been drawn up and will be made available to successful applicants.

2018 Availability and Projects

Units are not always able to accept interns due to varying availability of research space, supervision, etc. 

Professor Unit Name

Maximum Availability
for 2018 
interns per quarter

Research Interests and Project Information

For more information on Research Activities, see

Gordon Arbuthnott

Brain Mechanism for Behavior

No positions in 2018

Projects available in behavioural neuroscience or in neuroanatomy

Mahesh Bandi

Collective Interactions 

No positions in 2018-2019

Fluid dynamics, experimental softmatter physics, nonequilibrium statistcal physics and biomechanics.  For example,

  1. Spreading of immiscible surfactants on polymer solutions.
  2. Studying black hole analogues with hydraulic jumps in soap films.
  3. Mechanics of robotic tail fins.
  4. Tearing and fracture in monolayers of soap bubbles.
  5. Measuring distribution of foot forces in human beings
  6. Frictional mechanisms in granular solids.
 Thomas Bourguignon Evolutionary Genomics  1 position  
Thomas Busch Quantum Systems

2 positions

Projects of theoretical nature in the area of ultra cold atoms, quantum information and quantum engineering. Students should have a background in physics and during their time with us will get an overview of the current state of the area, and do analytical or numerical work on a project related to a currently ongoing research project, depending on their interest.

Pinaki Chakraborty

Fluid Mechanics (Unit Video)

1 position

Projects in turbulent flows in many applications.

Keshav Dani Ultrafast Spectroscopy 2 positions Many applications of ultrafast spectroscopy and femtosecond lasers, including graphene research.
Erik De Schutter Computational Neuroscience 1 position (except 4/1-6/30)

Computational neuroscience, particularly modelling of cerebellar circuits and signalling.

Kenji Doya

Neural Computation (Unit Video)

1 position

Projects in computational neuroscience and machine learning

Evan Economo

Biodiversity and Biocomplexity  (Unit Video)

2 positions

Projects  are related to evolution, ecology, biodiversity:  population genetics, morphological evolution, biogeography, 3D imaging and modeling, community ecology of ants.

Yejun Feng Electronic and Quantum Magnetism 1 position  
Eliot Fried Mathematics, Mechanics, and Materials 2 positions 

Theory, simulation, and simple table-top experiments physical and biological processes with interesting geometrical or topological features, including  Growth and coalescence of condensed droplets, Formation of ridges and cracks on tree bark, Healing of punctured soap films, and Water driven erosion of stone

Gustavo Gioia Continuum Physics 1 position Projects in solid mechanics in many applications
Izumi Fukunaga Sensory and Behavioral Neuroscience    
Shinobu Hikami Mathematical and Theoretical Physics 2 positions  
Hiroki Ishikawa Immune Signalling 1 position  
Denis Konstantinov Quantum Dynamics

2 positions

  1. Photo-transport in 2D electron systems,
  2. Electron transport in confined geometrie
  3. Non-linear NMR in coupled nuclear-electron spin systems,
  4. Electron spin ensembles in diamond for QIP technologies
Julia Khusnutdinova Coordination Chemistry and Catalysis 2 positions Modular ligand platforms for stabilization of transition metal complexes capable of multi-electron redox transformation. 
Ligand-assisted aerobic oxidation and electrochemical reactivity of organometallic compounds, and spectroscopy thereof.
Bernd Kuhn Optical Neuroimaging No positions in 2018  
Paolo Laurino Protein Engineering and Evolution  2 positions Different projects on protein and metabolites evolution, e.g. protein engineering for biocatalysis or prebiotic chemistry. Requires some experience in organic chemistry or molecular biology or biochemistry.
Ichiro Maruyama

Information Processing Biology (Unit Video)

1 position

Projects in associative learning and memory in the nematode C. elegans.

Ichiro Masai Developmental Neurobiology 2 positions Eye development in the zebrafish as a model system of neural development.

Satoshi Mitarai

Marine Biophysics No positions in 2018 Marine biophysics, especially of the East China Sea and Western Pacific, with emphasis on currents and their effects on coral reef ecology.
Yasha Neiman Quantum Gravity  1 position See unit website for details of the group’s research.
Síle Nic Chormaic Light-Matter Interactions 2 positions Experimental work (with some simulations) in cold atoms, laser cooling, atomic spectroscopy, optical nanofibre mode propagation, optical trapping of submicron particles, nonlinear optics in whispering gallery resonators.   The work is usually mainly experimental and preference given to students who can commit to longer internships (more than 3 months). 
Fabian Pauly Quantum Transport and Electronic Structure  1 position late 2018  
Simone Pigolotti Biological Complexity  1 position  
Yabing Qi Energy Materials and Surface Sciences 2 positions
  1. Research projects on energy storage materials and devices (e.g. Li ion batteries).
  2. Research projects on energy harvesting materials and devices (e.g. solar cells).
Nori Satoh Marine Genomics 1 position  
Hidetoshi Saze Plant Epigenetics 1 position  
Nic Shannon Theory of Quantum Matter 2 positions  
Amy Shen

Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics (Unit Video)

1 position

Projects in Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (mixing, microfabrication, and hydrodynamics)

Tsumoru Shintake Quantum Wave Microscopy 1 position  
Ulf Skoglund Structural Cellular Biology 1 position  
Mukhles Sowwan

Nanoparticles by Design (Unit Video)

1 position  
Tomoyuki Takahashi

Cellular and Molecular Synaptic Function 

1 position  
Fujie Tanaka Chemistry and Chemical Bioengineering 1 position  
Jun Tani Cognitive Neurorobotics 1 position Projects related to cognitive neurorobotics.  Longer periods preferred.
Gail Tripp Human Developmental Neurobiology 2 positions  
Anastasiia Tsvietkova Topology and Geometry of Manifolds Unit 1 position from mid- 2018 Projects in topology and computational topology, geometry and knot theory. Mathematics or computer science background/education/major is required.
Jeff Wickens Neurobiology Research  1 position  
Matthias Wolf Molecular Cryo-Electron Microscopy 1 position  
Tadashi Yamamoto Cell Signalling 1 position 

Projects in regulation of gene expression at the mRNA level, signaling in neuronal cells and cancer cells, and regulation of obesity using mouse models

Mitsuhiro Yanagida G0 Cell Unit 1 position  
Yoko Yazaki-Sugiyama Neuronal Mechanisms for the Critical Period 1 position  
Yohei Yokobayashi

Nucleic Acid Chemistry and Engineering

2 positions
  1. Experimental project on functional nucleic acids (e.g. design riboswitches to control gene expression in living cells, high-throughput analysis of ribozymes). Requires some experience in molecular biology or biochemistry experiments.
  2. Computational analysis of high-throughput sequence data on functional nucleic acids. Requires basic knowledge of biochemistry and programming skills to handle large sequencing datasets.
Ye Zhang Bioinspired Soft Matter 2 positions Tuning nano- or micro-structures through molecular manipulation
Design and synthesis of active matter