Proof of Concept Program


We are closed for applications for Proof of Concept projects and Technology Pioneer Fellowships

Next call - Summer 2022

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The Proof of Concept Program is a comprehensive support framework for OIST researchers. Its aim is to provide them with the funding, global expertise networks and professional development necessary to bridge the technical and funding gap between lab discoveries and societal impact.

OIST is a world-class basic science research institute first and foremost, and the POC program is tailor-made to accommodate this unique environment at OIST. We welcome applications to the program from any researcher with a technology, or an idea for a technology, as long as they are committed to creating impact in Okinawa or globally. To find out more, please visit the "how to apply" page.

So far we have funded over 40 projects. The projects are as diverse as OIST, and they range from early stage applied research, through early prototypes, to pre-commercialization projects aimed at spinning out into startup companies or licensing out to industry. Below, you can see some of the feedback we have received from alumni of the POC program.

In 2019, we have created a new program: the Technology Pioneer Fellowship. This program is for talented researchers and students to undertake their own commercialization project. To find out more, please visit the "how to apply" page.

Enquiries about the programs and upcoming deadlines are welcome at any time. Please get in touch with Andrea Pensado at for more information about the program. We welcome any and all questions!

What does the program offer?

The POC program, as well as the Technology Pioneer Fellowship, provides many forms of support. Fill the technology transfer and commercial gaps to help OIST's world leading researchers and their technology towards translation to real-world applications.

Experts: We use expert reviewers, and engage world-class mentors in the technology transfer space. They are available as advisors, and we can facilitate on site visits when required.

Connections: The program supports travel to commercially relevant tradeshows and conferences; we also work with other TDIC sections to provide introductions to industry.

Training: Examples of training include the Lean Start-up program, media training, project management, business planning and fundraising.

Support: We provide access to business development, intellectual property protection and project management support.

Talent: The program gives you the opportunity to hire-in talent from industry to assemble the technical and commercial skills necessary to develop your technology.

Data: To help you develop your technology for specific market needs, we can purchase market reports and other commercially relevant data to help you choose the right path.

Equipment: When there is a strong commercial justification, we can help you get equipment that would help you better achieve a commercial outcome

Feedback from OIST Researchers

"OIST has an amazing team of experts dealing with technology transfer."
"The Proof of Concept program is attractive because within this program researchers who are interested in technology development can carry out research that is closely related to real-world applications."
"During the process, in addition to direct POC support, TDIC’s Business Development and Technology Licensing sections have provided an incredible amount of support – facilitating negotiations, partnership discussions, IP advice and project management."
"The opportunities for professional development have been extremely valuable. I have also benefitted greatly from hands-on project management support that has focused my work."

Contact details and further information

Please contact R&D Cluster Programs Section for general inquiries: see webpage

  • For program information, please contact: Andrea Pensado (Ext. #21533)
  • For admin matters (for ongoing projects), please contact: Kanayo Noda, (Ext. #23493)