OIST's Visiting Program (TSVP)

Open Calls



Our Visiting Program aims to bring outstanding research experts from all scientific fields to Okinawa, intensify collaborations, contribute to OIST's interdisciplinary atmosphere and research output, as well as provide general-audience lectures, courses for students, and outreach activity. The different branches of the progam are outlined below and described on their respective pages (also see this overview).

One of the guiding principles of OIST is to "be the destination of choice to work, learn, and collaborate, linking science to education and leading to innovation and entrepreneurship." In a recent article by Nikkei Asia on OIST President Karen Markides, she summarized this guiding principle and the aims of the Visiting Programs very well:
Markides, who was previously on the committee that selects Nobel laureates in chemistry, says diversity is key to making groundbreaking discoveries that will help solve societal challenges. "When I'm asking Nobel laureates, 'How did you come to this new idea?' they almost always tell me that they put their brain in a different environment and were inspired by a company, some friends, or another culture -- a change in context allowed them to expand knowledge into new areas," she said.

These webpages provide information about the Visiting Programs, and associated events, including lectures intended for a general audience. More information can be found on the Events page or by subscribing to this iCal calendar.



Podcasts about the Visiting Program

In this podcast, DJ Nick Luscombe, OIST Podcaster in Residence, checks out OIST's Visiting Program (TSVP). He talks to Dr. Jonas Fischer, Academic Coordinator, and Prof. Simone Pigolotti to learn more about the program. He also interviews the guest researchers visiting OIST as part of the program and asks them about their experiences at OIST. Listen to the episode to find out why visitors "just don't know any better sabbatical program in the world" (Shinichi Nakagawa) and OIST's "big diversity of world-class researchers" (Malgorzata Lagisz).

In the second episode Nick talks to Dr. Samuel Ross, OIST researcher who is scientific coordinator for the Thematic Program on "The Future of Response Diversity and Ecosystem Stability" in March 2024 and Dr. Harini Desiraju from the University of Sydney, who was one of the coordinators of the first Thematic Program "Exact Asymptotics: From Fluid Dynamics to Quantum Geometry", which took place from August 1 to October 28, 2023. Last but not least, he interviews Prof. Nic Shannon of the  Theory of Quantum Matter unit, who is one of the founders of the Visiting Program at OIST.

In the third podcast episode listeners can experience a day in the life of visiting researchers on the OIST campus together with DJ Nick Luscombe. In the TSVP office area, we will meet the people who are running the program and hear from visitors about their research. Experience what it is like to be a part of the Visiting Program.

Overview of Programs and Applications

See this overview of all OIST's Visiting Programs for a summary and details regarding the application processes of all OIST's Visiting Programs. Note that the abbreviation "TSVP" is often used to refer to all OIST's Visiting Programs, not only the programs focused on theoretical projects.

Theoretical Sciences Visiting Program (TSVP)

The Theoretical Sciences Visiting Program (TSVP) was launched in June 2021, with the goal of bringing leading theoretical researchers to OIST for extended visits. In keeping with OIST's interdisciplinary mission, the TSVP spans all theoretical projects including, but not limited to, mathematics, theoretical physics, computational sciences, and theoretical life sciences.

The TSVP encompasses two separate activities, Visiting Scholars and Thematic Programs. Visiting Scholars (VS) are individual visitors, usually staying at OIST from 3 to 12 months. From 2023 the TSVP will also host Thematic Programs (TPs), where several researchers visit OIST at one time (2 weeks to 3 months). Where it fits the goals and timeframe of the TP, a symposium linked to the program can be hosted at OIST. Calls for Visiting Scholars and pre-proposals for Thematic Programs usually open in summer/autumn of each year.

You can learn more about the TSVP from a news article about the arrival of the first visitors in March 2022, published on the OIST website in English and Japanese. In April 2023, the TSVP co-hosted the French-Japanese Seminar on "Metaverse and Virtual Reality", read about it here (Japanese version).

From August to October 2023, the first Thematic Program "Exact Asymptotics: From Fluid Dynamics to Quantum Geometry" will be hosted. You can register for the accompanying symposium "Frontiers in Nonlinear Differential Equations and Stokes Phenomena" now, it will be held from September 4 - 15, 2023.

Domestic Visitors

Domestic Visitors are individual visitors, who are working in Japan during their proposed visit. Their visits to OIST are usually between 2 weeks and 3 months and may be split into several shorter visits. Domestic Visitors carry out independent research at OIST, and interact with several OIST Research Units during their stay (application). Visitors from any research field are eligible to apply, as long as there is a connection to OIST research and no wet lab access is required by the visitor.

Experimental Visiting Scholars (EVSP)

The EVSP emphasizes novel and innovative approaches in research by inviting senior faculty to spend their sabbatical time at OIST. While the TSVP is mostly focused on theoretical projects, candidates for the EVSP are usually experimental researchers. Each visitor has a host unit at OIST, in order to allow access to experimental lab areas. This program was formerly known as "DVSP".


A new article on how "Octopus sleep is surprisingly similar to humans" was published in the journal "nature" in June 2023. It results from a collaboration between Visiting Scholar Leenoy Meshulam and OIST's Professor Sam Reiter and his group. Leenoy visited OIST in 2022/2023 through the Theoretical Sciences Visiting Program (TSVP). More information in the video embedded below and this news article.

General-audience lectures

An archive of all TSVP and EVSP Talks is embedded below as Youtube playlist. These talks are intended for general audiences, with topics spanning from Blackholes, via Mathematics and Neuroscience, to Quantum Information.