Research Internship

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 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 six 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.

Research Intern Allowances

OIST expects that Research Interns are independently funded but provides a small 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 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. 

Admission 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 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.  Research units that can provide research intern positions in any year, and some information on the type of projects available, are described HERE. Not all units are available due to availability of research space or supervision at different times.

The applicant is notified of the receipt of an application, and then of the outcome of their application once a decision has been made.  Ample time must be allowed for the issue of a visa and other necessary Japanese government documentation.

Application Form

Click HERE(closed now) for the on-line application form. 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.  Use THIS SHEET for the CV, and use THIS SHEET for the personal statement of interest.  A letter of reference from an academic or research professional familiar with your work is helpful; the application system will ask them directly.  Please arrange for the consent of that person before submitting their details in the form.

Application Deadlines: All application documents, including the letter of reference, should be sent by the deadlines.

Desired Starting Date

Jan 4 – Mar 31

Apr 1 – Jun 30

Jul 1 – Sep 30

Oct 1 – Dec 28

Application Deadline

Sep 15          (Open around early July,2017)

Nov 15 (Closed)

Feb 28  (Closed)

May 31                        (Closed)

Approximate Date of Results

Oct 15

Dec 15

Mar 28

July 1










*OIST sends all the applicants' results by email.

If you need more information, or some help with your application, please contact us by email.

Applicants who intend to import biological or hazardous material for their research are urged to ensure 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.


2017 Availability and Projects

Not all units are always available due to availability of research space or supervision at different times.

Professor Unit Name Availability
interns per quarter

Research Interests and Project Information

For more information on Research Activities, see

Gordon Arbuthnott

Brain Mechanism for Behavior

2 positions

Projects available in behavioural neuroscience or in neuroanatomy

Mahesh Bandi

Collective Interactions 

No positions in 2017

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 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 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 2 positions

Computational neuroscience, particularly modelling of cerebellar circuits and signalling.

Kenji Doya Neural Computation 1 position

Projects in computational neuroscience and machine learning

Evan Economo Biodiversity and Biocomplexity 2 positions

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

Eliot Fried   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
Igor Goryanin

Biological Systems

2 positions

Next-generation sequencing, Metagenomics, Gene expression analysis, Functional genomics, Biological network reconstruction

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 2017  
Ichiro Maruyama Information Processing Biology 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.
Alexander Mikheyev Ecology and Evolution No positions in 2017/18


Satoshi Mitarai

Marine Biophysics 2 positions Marine biophysics, especially of the East China Sea and Western Pacific, with emphasis on currents and their effects on coral reef ecology.
Síle Nic Chormaic Light-Matter Interactions 2 positions

Previous projects have included theoretical modelling on whispering gallery mode resonators, design of a confocal microscope, automation of laser cooling timing sequences, PID temperature control system for vacuum bake out, electronic sensors for water leakage detection in laser stabilization, optical tweezers construction, and measurement of mode excitation in whispering gallery mode resonators.

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  2 positions in 2017

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 1 position  
Hirotaka Sugawara

Advanced Medical Instrumentation 

No positions in 2017

Development of multifunctional nanoparticles (both silica nanoparticles and polymeric micelles)

for the theranostics of cancer tumours by Boron Neutron Capture Therapy.  Numerous analytical techniques will be used to characterize the nanoparticles (NMR, TEM, light diffusion, XRD, zeta-potential, ...). In vitro biological tests will be performed to assess the validity of the designed nanovectors.  Applicants should have a background in chemistry or biochemistry.

Tomoyuki Takahashi

Cellular and Molecular Synaptic Function 

1 position  
Fujie Tanaka Chemistry and Chemical Bioengineering 1 position  
Gail Tripp Human Developmental Neurobiology 2 positions  
Davie Van Vactor Formation and Regulation of Neural Connectivity No positions in 2017  
Jeff Wickens Neurobiology Research Unit 1 position  
Matthias Wolf Molecular Cryo-Electron Microscopy No positions in 2017  
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 2 positions in summer 2017  
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