Special Student Policies

Effective Date: September 1, 2020

1 Special Research Students

Students of other universities (referred to as the “partner institution”) who are permitted by the partner institution to receive research guidance at the OIST Graduate University under the terms of an agreement with the partner institution, may apply to become Special Research Students at OIST. Special Research Students are not OIST PhD degree candidates and there is no mechanism to change the status of a Special Research Student to become an OIST PhD student except by application to the OIST graduate program in the usual way.

Candidates for Special Research Student status must obtain approval from the Dean of the Graduate School and the Provost of the OIST Graduate University. The Dean of the Graduate School will make a recommendation to the Provost after consultation with the OIST research supervisor and partner institution. In general, such applications will be approved provided this poses no obstacles to the education and research activity of the Graduate School.

Faculty members of the OIST Graduate School can provide supervision to Special Research Students of the partner institution under the terms of an agreement with the partner institution. The period for which a student can receive research guidance as a Special Research Student must be stipulated in the agreement. When it is necessary to renew the period of study, approval must be obtained from the Dean of the Graduate School and the Provost.

Special Research Students can take OIST courses as Course Auditors or receive credits at their home University for completion of courses at OIST as Visiting Students.

Special Research Students must observe OIST Graduate University rules as defined in the Graduate School Handbook and the OIST Graduate University PRP. Rules concerning Intellectual Property are separately stipulated in Chapter 14. Special Research Students who violate the rules of the OIST Graduate University may be disqualified and have their research guidance terminated.

Special Research Students enjoy many of the same privileges of students for full-time study in the doctoral program in the University, with the exception of Financial Support, which is handled differently.

1.1 Students of Newly-hired Faculty

Students of newly hired faculty who relocate to OIST before completion of their PhD degree may need special arrangements to facilitate the successful completion of their PhD. If the student is able to complete their research at OIST while continuing to be enrolled at their original home institution, they can be received as Special Research Students receiving research guidance from the relocating faculty member. Such students would graduate with a degree from the home institution.

Students who desire to transfer their degree studies to the OIST Graduate University and graduate with the OIST degree must apply for admission as full-time graduate students. These candidates follow standard OIST admission procedures and selection is on a competitive basis with other applicants. Selected candidates are admitted to the OIST program and follow the OIST curriculum, according to the program outlined in Chapter 5.

1.2 Procedures for Special Research Students

Special Research Students must be formally accepted and registered as Special Students at the OIST Graduate University in accordance with Article 43 of the University Rules. The Graduate School must be notified of the intention to host the student by the Professor of the Research Unit in a timely manner (at least 6months prior to the expected start date).

The procedure for acceptance and registration requires the student to submit the documents listed below:

i) Application for admission as a Special Research Student (using the appropriate Form)

ii) Recommendation letter from thesis supervisor in the partner institution

iii) Brief outline of arrangements and plan of research at OIST from the OIST supervisor

iv) Copy of transcript of the current degree at the home institution

v) Brief Curriculum Vitae of the applicant

vi) Digital image of student’s photograph (on a white background) and a scan of the information page of the passport if a visa is required

In general, a written agreement with the partner institution is required to confirm the understanding of the arrangements and agreement of the partner institution. It is important that the degree requirements of the partner institution can be met at OIST. The Graduate School will complete such an agreement with the partner institution. Such an agreement may allow for mutual waiver of tuition fees. Where such an agreement does not exist, tuition fees may be charged to the student.

After acceptance of the student, the Graduate School will make a recommendation to the Research Unit concerning the conditions of financial support for the Special Research Student. The student must declare any external financial support from the partner institution or external funding agency, and this will be taken into account in determining the recommended level of financial support and benefits at OIST.

If a Special Research Students is elected by OIST as a Graduate Student Research Assistant, the level of financial support and conditions of appointment are stipulated in the SRS Research Assistantship Agreement prepared by the Student Affairs Section. If the Special Research Student is not receiving this financial support, the conditions of appointment will be stipulated in an offer letter that will constitute the agreement between OIST and the Special Research Student after it is signed by both parties.

The host Research Unit is responsible for making travel and housing arrangements for the Special Research Student. As necessary, the Student Affairs Section will assist with visa processing requirements. Housing is available to Special Research Students at student rates.

1.3 Financial Support for Special Research Students

In some circumstances, financial support for Special Research Students may be available from the host research unit, in which case financial support for Special Research Students, including SRS Research Assistantship and other benefits, should be included in the budget of the host research unit. Students seeking such support must organize this with the Professor of the host research unit in advance.

The following benefits may be available to Special Research Students on the advice of the Graduate School with approval of the Provost and agreement of the Professor of the host Research Unit.

1.3.1 SRS Research Assistantship

An SRS Research Assistantship is an appointment provided to a Special Research Student in good standing who performs research or who assists others performing research and educational activities.

Tenure of an SRS Research Assistantship is for one year, or until the thesis is submitted (whichever period is the shorter). Special Research Students who receive this financial support from OIST are required to submit a report monthly. Continued financial support depends on maintained performance in study and research with an official request from the host research Unit. SRS Research Assistantships will be discontinued in the event of unexcused absence, failure to maintain adequate academic performance, unethical behavior, or other reasons determined by the academic oversight process to be incompatible with good standing.

1.3.2 Commuting

A commuting allowance may be paid to students who live outside of campus but cannot use the OIST shuttle bus for reasons deemed valid by the Dean of the Graduate School. Details on the allowance are stipulated separately by “Rules Pertaining to a Commuting Allowance for Students”.

1.4 Business Travel

Approved business travel for work may be undertaken in accordance with OIST PRP Chapter 29. For the purpose of business travel, Special Research Students are considered as Category Group 5 employees. Support for such travel must come from the Research Unit, not the Graduate School.

1.5 Relocation

1.5.1 Transfer Allowance Transfer Allowance can be Provided Stipulated in the Table Below:

 

Domestic 36,600 yen
International 62,800 yen

 

Family relocation allowance:

Spouse & Child 12 years of age or older = 2/3 Child under 12 years of age = 1/3

1.5.2 Relocation Expenses

Special Research Students normally receive support for round trip travel (or two one-way tickets) and no relocation expenses. However, a Special Research Student may alternatively choose to receive a one-way ticket and actual relocation expenses, which can be reimbursed up to the maximum level stipulated in the appended table.

Reimbursement of relocation expenses can only be provided once.

If a Special Research Student voluntarily terminates the agreement within the first three months, OIST S.C. may request return of the total amount provided. If the termination is due to unavoidable circumstances (including family health reasons), OIST S.C. may waive the claim regarding return of the above amount.

1.6 Welfare

Special Research Students enjoy the same privileges as PhD Students. Further details can be found in “4 Student Welfare” in the Student Support Policies.

1.7 Housing

Special Research Students enjoy the same privileges as PhD Students. Further details can be found in “5 Housing” in the Student Support Policies.

2 Research Interns

Previously registered, current, or intending students of another university who wish to undertake educational activity at OIST may do so as Research Interns. Research Intern placements give talented students experience working in a research setting under the direction of a Professor at OIST.

The Graduate School administers a limited number of Research Intern positions as part of its student recruitment and outreach program.

Research Interns may also be supported by Research Units with approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, provided this poses no obstacles to the education and research activities of the Graduate School. Places for Research Interns are awarded twice a year on a competitive basis, with application typically six months in advance.

2.1 Eligibility

Students enrolled at undergraduate programs in universities, colleges, junior colleges, and vocational schools in Japan or overseas, or graduates of such institutions who intend to undertake further study are eligible to apply.

Applications from currently enrolled students must be supported by a recommendation letter from the Dean, Head of Department, or supervising professor of the program they are enrolled in.

2.2 Application

Places for Research Interns are awarded twice a year on a competitive basis. Application must be made using the online

application form in accordance with the procedures and deadlines that are posted on the OIST website. Sufficient time must be allowed for the issue of a visa and other necessary Japanese government documentation.

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.

2.3 Duration

The tenure of Research Intern placement is normally less than 6 months. Under no circumstances may tenure be extended more than 1 year. Under some circumstances with approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, students may stay longer than 1 year as Special Research Students provided application to change status is made at least 6 months before starting to allow time for the necessary institutional agreement.

2.4 Working Days and Hours

The working days are from Monday to Friday, excluding University Holidays. The working hours are from 9:00am to 5:30pm.

2.5 Financial Support

OIST expects that such Research Interns are independently funded, but supports Research Interns with accommodation (normally provided at no cost to the student, rather than the provision of accommodation costs) and an Internship Allowance instead of the Travel Per Diem on a work day basis, in accordance with OIST PRP Chapter 29. No internship allowance will be paid for University Holidays, or for working days on which Research Interns work less than four hours. In addition, where necessary,

OIST will also provide up to a maximum of ¥45,000 per month as a Commuting Allowance. The Internship Allowance will be adjusted if the Research Intern has another source of financial support. There is an obligation on the Research Intern to report other sources of financial support to the Student Affairs Section before their arrival. The amount of other support will be taken into account in determining the level of the financial support provided by OIST.

2.6 Leave

Research Interns may take unpaid leave during the internship provided: the total leave days number less than 10% of the total duration of the work days of the internship; the leave is approved by their supervisor; the Student Affairs Section is informed by submitting a leave request through the website; there is no hindrance to their research activities.

2.7 Travel

OIST will pay for one direct round-trip 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). In principle, the arrival date that the Research Interns arrive to the venue must be set before the closest working day of internship period, and vice versa, departure date from the venue must be set after the closest working day of the internship period. On departure from OIST, overseas students may additionally stop over for up to 5 days (excluding weekends and Japanese holidays) as they transit through an international hub airport in Japan, at the rate of one day per week of tenure at OIST, provided that this poses no additional cost in terms of flights, and that they do so entirely at their own expense.

2.8 Other Support

The Student Affairs Section of the Graduate School will provide support for Research Interns at OIST with matters such as housing, visa acquisition, insurance during their research activities, and local registration. OIST regrets that support for dependents, family members, and persons other than the student is not available. Confirmation of sufficient and appropriate insurance coverage for travel and activities is necessary.

3 Visiting Research Students

Visiting Research Students are registered students of another institution who wish to undertake a period of research at OIST under the supervision of an OIST faculty member as part of a recognized collaborative research project or some other defined research project.

3.1 Eligibility

This category provides for students enrolled for higher degrees at other institutions and engaged in research activity who wish to come to OIST to engage in a recognized collaborative research project, or some other defined research project.

This research project must be covered by a Visiting Research Student Agreement, completed before the start of the research period. Applications to host a Visiting Research Student are approved by the Dean of the Graduate School, provided this poses no obstacles to the education and research activities of the Graduate School.

3.2 Procedure for Visiting Research Students

Visiting Research Students must be formally accepted and registered as Special Students at the OIST Graduate University in accordance with the University Rules. The Graduate School must be notified of the intention to host the student by the Professor of the Research Unit in a timely manner. The procedure for acceptance and registration requires the student to submit the documents listed below:

i) Application for admission as a Visiting Research Student (using the appropriate Form)

ii) Visiting Research Student Agreement

iii) Brief outline of arrangements and plan of research at OIST from the OIST supervisor (attachment 1 for Visiting Research Student Agreement)

iv) Brief Curriculum Vitae of the applicant

v) Digital Image of student’s photograph

vi) Copy of Student ID Card at home institution

3.3 Duration

The maximum tenure of a Visiting Research Student is 364 days.

3.4 Financial Support

Visiting Research students who are part of a collaborative research project in general bring their own funding. If necessary, the host Unit may support the visiting research student with travel, accommodation and a daily allowance, in accordance with OIST PRP Chapter 29.

In addition, where necessary, OIST will also provide up to a maximum of ¥45,000 per month as a Commuting Allowance.

4 Visiting Students

Visiting Students are registered students of another university who wish to take one or more courses offered by the OIST Graduate School for credit at their home university. With the prior permission of the Dean, who will take into account such factors as class size, such a student may enroll as a Visiting Student. Applications for admission as a Visiting Student must be received one month before the start of the course, using the appropriate form. Credit cannot be awarded to course auditors who are not formally enrolled as Visiting Students.

Registered graduate or undergraduate students of another university who seek credit for attending OIST International Workshops and Courses may enroll in approved courses as Visiting Students. Admission of Visiting Students to OIST International Workshops and Courses is decided by the course organizers. The process for approval of International Workshops and Courses for course credits is stipulated in Section 12 of Academic Program Policies.

Research Interns who intend to apply for admission to the OIST graduate program, or who have been admitted but wish to start early, may enroll for courses and receive credit at the OIST graduate university as Visiting Students. The Graduate School will provide, on request, an individual student transcript of courses completed.

5 Course Auditors

Members of the OIST community (including faculty, researchers, OIST students and special research students, research interns, administrative staff, and family members) may apply to become Course Auditors of specific courses. A formal request must be made to the Graduate School for permission to attend classes. Where the presence of Course Auditors or their different level of background knowledge would impact on the quality of teaching of regular students, we reserve the right to decline such requests. The Professor in charge of a course has the final word on accepting Course Auditors and the behavior expected of them. An Auditing Student may attend and participate as a normal student. The Graduate School does not award credit or recognition for courses attended. Course Auditors are required to attend regularly so as not to disturb class numbers. At the discretion of the Professor in charge of a course, they may submit work for grading along with regular students. Information concerning current classes, times, and locations is available on the Graduate School website.

6 Junior Research Fellows

Junior Research Fellows are former OIST PhD whose thesis supervisor requests a continuation of their research project after the degree conferral at OIST.

The duration is up to a maximum of 6 months. Under no conditions can this be extended beyond 6 months by the use of subsidy funding or external grants, provided that, fellows who have time remaining more than 6 months on a JSPS DC Fellowship are permitted to continue until the end date of the Fellowship. A concrete research plan approved by their thesis supervisor and the Dean of the Graduate School is required.

Financial support for Junior Research Fellows, including fellowship and other benefits, should be included in the budget of the host research unit. Students seeking such support must organize this with their thesis supervisor in advance.

Junior Research Fellows enjoy many of the same privileges students for full-time study in the doctoral program in the University, with the exception of Financial Support, which is handled differently.

Appointment to a postdoctoral position at OIST is not permitted for OIST PhD students within 2 years of the last day of their studentship at OIST.

6.1 Procedures for Junior Research Fellows

Junior Research Fellows must follow necessary procedures to be formally registered at OIST. The Graduate School must be notified of the intention to host the student by their thesis supervisor (preferably 3 months prior to the expected start date and at least 1 month prior to the start date). Required documents for acceptance and registration are listed below:

i) Application for admission as a Junior Research Fellow (using the designated Form)

ii) Recommendation letter from thesis supervisor

iii) Brief outline of arrangements and plan of research from thesis supervisor

iv) Clear plan for employment after termination.

6.2 Financial Support for Junior Research Fellows

After acceptance, the Graduate School will make a recommendation to the thesis supervisor concerning the conditions of financial support for the Junior Research Fellow. The fellow must declare any external financial support from funding agency, and this will be taken into account in determining the recommended level of financial support and benefits at OIST.

The level of financial support and conditions are stipulated in the Junior Research Fellowship Agreement prepared by the Student Affairs Section. If the Junior Research Fellow is not receiving this financial support, the conditions of appointment will be stipulated in an offer letter that will constitute the agreement between OIST and the Junior Research Fellows after it is signed by both parties.

With approval of the Provost and thesis supervisor, the following benefits and allowances are available for Junior Research Fellows in accordance with the Graduate School’s guidance.

6.2.1 Junior Research Fellowship

A Junior Research Fellowship is an appointment provided to a Junior Research Fellow whose thesis supervisor acknowledges the necessity to continue their time for completion of matters required for conclusion of the research project after the degree conferral for up to 6 months (excluding aforementioned JSPS DC case). Students who receive this financial support from OIST are required to submit a report monthly.

6.2.2 Commuting Allowance

A commuting allowance may be paid to fellows who live outside of campus but cannot use the OIST shuttle bus for reasons deemed valid by the Dean of the Graduate School. Details on the allowance are stipulated separately by “Rules Pertaining to a Commuting Allowance for Students”

6.3 Business Travel

Approved business travel for work may be undertaken in accordance with OIST PRP Chapter 29. For the purpose of business travel, Junior Research Fellows are considered as Category Group 5. Support for such travel must come from the host Research Unit.

6.4 Welfare

Junior Research Fellows enjoy the same privileges as PhD Students. Further details can be found in “4 Student Welfare” in the Student Support Policies.

6.5 Housing

The Graduate School continues to provide the current subsidized apartment at student rates to Junior Research Fellows until the end of their Junior Research Fellow status. Rent, Utilities (if applicable) and other necessary costs will be deducted from the emolument of the Junior Research Fellowship. Those who do not have Junior Research Fellowship will be billed.

7 Science Communication Fellows

Science Communication Fellows engage in science writing at the Media Section of the Communication and Public Relations Division (CPR) at OIST. Science Communication Fellows are not OIST PhD degree candidates and there is no mechanism to change the status of a Science Communication Fellow to become an OIST PhD student except for each individual applying to and being accepted into the OIST graduate program. The Media Section Leader supervises Science Communication Fellows. The period for which a Science Communication Fellow can receive guidance must be stipulated in an agreement between two parties. This term is up to a maximum of 6 months. Upon completion of the fellowship, the supervisor is required to submit a written report on a Science Communication Fellow to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Science Communication Fellows must observe OIST Graduate University rules as defined in the OIST Graduate University Policies, Rules and Procedures (hereinafter referred to as the “PRP”). Rules concerning Intellectual Property are separately stipulated in Chapter 14. Science Communication Fellows who violate the rules of the OIST Graduate University may be disqualified and have their fellowship terminated immediately. The Fellowships will also be discontinued in the event of unexcused absence, failure to maintain adequate performance, unethical behavior, or other inappropriate reasons.

Science Communication Fellows are subject to the same living support privileges granted to students for full-time study in the doctoral program at OIST, with the exception of academic support for OIST students, and financial support which is separately stipulated in a fellow’s agreement.

7.1 Recruitment of Science Communication Fellows

The recruitment to select a Science Communication Fellow must obtain a prior approval from the Vice President for Communication and Public Relations (VPCPR). The Graduate School must be notified of the intention to host a Fellow by the Media Section in a timely manner (at least 3 months prior to the expected start date). Logistics of the recruitment are managed by the CPR Division including advertisement and setting up of interviews, whereas actual review of applications, interviews with short-listed applicants, and the ultimate selection of Science Communication Fellows are carried out by VPCPR and the Media Section leader. An applicant must submit the following documents to be considered for the fellowship.

i) Cover Letter addressed to VPCPR

ii) Curriculum Vitae

iii) Two examples of work (articles, videos, etc.), preferably published

ix) Other information stipulated in the position announcement

7.2 Acceptance of Science Communication Fellows

The acceptance of a Science Communication Fellow must obtain a prior approval from the Dean of the Graduate School after the recruitment and selection of a fellow is made. Science Communication Fellows must

follow necessary procedures to be formally registered at OIST.

7.3 Financial Support for Science Communication Fellows

After acceptance of a Fellow, the Graduate School will make a calculated recommendation to the Media Section concerning the amount of financial support and other conditions for the Science Communication Fellow.

Financial support for Science Communication Fellows will be covered by the Media Section, in which case financial support for Science Communication Fellows, including a stipend and other benefits, should be included in the annual budget of the Media Section.

When an applicant is selected by OIST as a Science Communication Fellow, the amount of financial support and conditions of the appointment will be stipulated in the Science Communication Fellowship Agreement prepared by the Student Affairs Section in the Graduate School.

Science Communication Fellow who receives this financial support from OIST are required to submit a report monthly.

7.3.1 Commuting Allowance

A commuting allowance may be paid to Science Communication Fellows who live off-campus but are unable to ride the OIST shuttle bus for reasons deemed valid by the Dean of the Graduate School. Details on the allowance are stipulated separately by “Rules Pertaining to a Commuting Allowance for Students.

7.4 Benefits for Science Communication Fellows

The following benefits may be available to Science Communication Fellows at the advice of the Graduate School and under agreement of the Media Section.

7.5 Onboarding and Departure

The Media Section is responsible for making travel arrangements for Science Communication Fellows for onboarding and departure. This includes a round trip travel (or two one-way tickets) and no relocation expenses are involved. The Student Affairs Section will assist with visa processing requirements and other necessary legal arrangements.

7.6 Housing

Science Communication Fellows enjoy the same privileges as PhD Students. Further details can be found in “5 Housing” in the Student Support Policies.

7.7 Business travel

Approved business travel by a Science Communication Fellow for work may be undertaken in accordance with PRP Chapter 29. For the purpose of business travel, Science Communication Fellows are considered as Category Group 5 employees. Decision and financial support for such travel will be made by the Media Section.

7.8 Welfare

Science Communication Fellows enjoy the same privileges as PhD Students. Further details can be found in “4 Student Welfare” in the Student Support Policies.

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