Proof of Concept Program

The Proof of Concept Program is a competitive, unique and world-leading 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.

So far we have funded over 30 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 start-up 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 more junior 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 Felix Rehnberg at or, Andrea Pensado at for more information about the program, or visit the "how to apply" page. 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: OIST is still small, and we are a hands on team that are on hand tohelp you through the process of commercializing your technology.

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

"There is a gap between lab findings and commercial products. The POC introduced us to our mentor who is an expert in bridging that gap. OIST POC provides us with lots of support, from financial to giving us the time we need to get results."
"OIST has an amazing team of experts dealing with technology transfer."


Contact details and further information

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

Additional Information: View the slideshow summary

Felix Rehnberg and Andrea Pensado, primary contacts for all POC program enquiries.