My Way to Japan

Proposal Writing in MEXT Scholarship Application (Postgraduate)
Lai Hung Wei Updated in December 2022

There are generally two types of MEXT scholarship for postgraduates, the typical embassy-recommended route and university-recommended route. Personally, I think both have respective pros and cons; for university-recommended route, one needs to have a much clearer view on your research proposal and at least a targeted laboratory of an institution due to the need of a preliminary interview/discussions with your potential supervisor. Unlike embassy-recommended route, not all institutions offer this application route and the number of successful applicants is also much lesser.

There is already plenty of guides on how to apply for a MEXT scholarship. Therefore, I will be focusing on proposal writing during MEXT scholarship application in this post (Life Science). Although proposals are generally written in English, it can be written in Japanese if you are feeling confident. Please be noted that the proposal format may change in the future, so this is generally for your reference.

1. Present field of study

This section requires the applicant to write on their current field of study, which is the first evaluation on the scientific capability of the applicant in his/her current research. Write an abstract on your current research field. Be sure to mention the title. Start off with background and problem statement of your current research. Then, move on to the aim and objectives, followed by results and discussion section. Lastly, end the proposal with a conclusion and future considerations. If your research is still not complete, write down the expected findings and conclusion. Include some figures or results if allowed. Inclusion on some of your academic achievements may be helpful as well.

2. Research theme after arrival in Japan

Write down the theme of your proposed research in Japan. You may include some background information on the theme, write down some of the currently faced problem in the field and how you intend to overcome them.

3. Study Programme in Japan in detail (Study/Research Proposal)

This is perhaps the most difficult part of all. First, you need to come up with a research proposal which is relevant to your potential laboratory in Japan. Prior discussion with the potential principal investigator (PI) is highly recommended. Please be sure to allocate adequate time before the application starts. Similar to the present field of study above, you need to write in detail on background, problem statement, aims and objectives, results and discussion and conclusion for your proposed research. Writing what is the speciality of your proposal (how important it is) and possible contribution to the community (how your research findings can help) would be an added advantage.

The preparation of a good proposal will require (1) vigorous reading and creativity by yourself; and (2) consistent discussion with both current and future PI as well. It is not an easy task, but it will definitely be worth it. All the best and good luck in your application!