Proof of Concept Program


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The Proof of Concept (POC) program is a comprehensive support framework for OIST researchers. The program provides funding, global expertise networks, and the 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 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.

In 2019, we created a new program, the Technology Pioneer Fellowship. This program is for entrepreneurial-minded researchers who wish to undertake their own commercialization projects. To find out more, please visit the "how to apply" page.

So far we have funded over 50 projects. The projects are as diverse as OIST, ranging 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.

Inquiries about the programs and upcoming deadlines are welcome at any time. Please get in touch with the R&D Cluster Programs Section at for more information. We welcome any and all questions!

What support do we provide?

The POC program provides access to multiple resources to advance the development of OIST technology towards commercialization. In addition, the Technology Development and Innovation Center (TDIC), a team of more than 20 highly skilled members with different expertise - intellectual property, project management, technology transfer, and business development experts- is ready to support you.


✓ Time-limited funding to carry out your project

POC funds can be used for direct project-related expenses, including hiring staff, small equipment purchases, research supplies, travel that directly supports the project, and contract research services.

✓ Hands-on guidance

POC program staff will assist participants in planning, operations, and troubleshooting during the project period. Furthermore, participants will have the support of other TDIC sections on issues related to intellectual property, industry collaborations, customer discovery, collaboration agreements, venture capital activity, etc.

✓ Opportunities for professional development

Researchers participating in POC projects will have access to entrepreneurship education resources at OIST to lay the path towards commercialization success. Learn about the innovation process by acquiring knowledge and skills that will be useful throughout their careers.

✓ Mentoring by External Innovation Experts from around the world

The project team will have access to External Innovation Experts with knowledge and experience in the early stage of technology commercialization to provide technical guidance and overall mentorship.

✓ Market Intelligence Support

Projects that have reached a sufficient level of development will have access to market surveys targeted to the field of use of the technology for future planning and strategy.


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 at

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