About UJA

United Japanese Researchers Around the World (UJA) is a global network of Japanese researchers, through which its members access support and resources needed to advance their research and expertise.
UJA aims to spur exchanges of ideas and collaborations among the members to accelerate scientific discoveries around the world while strengthening the knowledge base and research activities in Japan. The organization’s goals include fostering next generations of Japanese scientists with global perspectives, who can promote the country’s status as a world leader in science and technology.
UJA operates under a nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in the United States, as well as under a general incorporated association status in Japan.


Mission and History

UJA was formed in 2012 under the name of United Japanese Researchers Abroad as a coalition of Japanese researchers’ communities in major U.S. cities.
Prior to UJA, Japanese researchers often networked and shared information with each other through regional study groups. Many study groups dissolved quickly, however, when their leaders moved elsewhere to take new jobs or assignments. This caused disconnects among Japanese researchers in different regions, and no one had a clear picture of the expatriate research community at large, including its size and the depth of the talent pool.
In October 2012, the organizers of some East Coast study groups met in the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)’s Washington office and discussed the challenges that Japanese researchers often face in the U.S. and their desire to develop a larger and more permanent networking system that would link researchers from various regions. The initiative to build inter-regional alliances emerged from this conversation, resulting in the establishment of UJA.
UJA’s leaders believed strategic networking would allow Japanese researchers to build on their common cultural, educational and social backgrounds and tap into resources that are available to their community to advance science for the benefit of all citizens around the world.

On March 21, 2013, UJA’s leaders gathered in the JSPS Washington Office again and discussed the direction of the organization, including main activities and operational policies. We also confirmed that JSPS Washington Office will provide UJA with support for its operation.

At this meeting, UJA’s leaders agreed on three missions for the organization:

  1. Connecting researchers seeking study/fellowship opportunities outside Japan with relevant resources
  2. Providing a big picture of global career opportunities in the research community, including Japan, and spelling out what it takes to obtain the opportunities
  3. Developing partnerships and exchanging information with educational, science and technology policy agencies

Since its inception, UJA has quickly grown into a global network connecting more than 5,500 researchers. In addition to regional groups, individual researchers are now eligible to join the organization. UJA changed its name to United Japanese Researchers Around the World in 2016 to reflect its worldwide reach.


Activities

UJA works toward its missions through the following activities.

Campaign to Foster Talents for the Global Science Community

UJA’s top goal is to foster new generations of Japanese scientists who can work with their peers from around the globe to advance science. As part of the goal, UJA strives to grow the pool of research talents with have global perspectives and experiences. With the ever-changing landscape surrounding the Japanese research scene, it is more critical than ever to grow diverse talents with world-class innovative vision and skills. Young researchers are often fearful of exploring research opportunities outside Japan, however, because they do not have enough information about available positions or potential career paths. UJA fills that gap by providing the latest information about career opportunities, to which many UJA members have real time access while studying or working overseas.
The Molecular Biology Society of Japan, the largest Japanese life science organization with a large number of graduate students and postdocs among its membership, would particularly benefit from UJA’s support in this area.
UJA will implement this initiative through the following activities.

1) Create the “Study Abroad” consultation section on the UJA website to provide the following information:
Provide information regarding study/research opportunities outside Japan
Introduction of labs that are recruiting Japanese postdocs
Set up interviews for prospective applicants for postdoc positions outside Japan

2) Sit down with funding agencies and share UJA members’ perspectives as researchers working and/or studying on global stages
3) Establish UJA Research Paper Awards as an additional opportunity for researchers in and from Japan to be recognized and earn credentials needed to advance their careers globally.
4) Conduct a large-scale survey of researchers who have studied abroad to compile the information about “the state of research studies abroad.”
5) Based on the survey results, propose and/or share ideas about a career system in Japan that would enable young researchers to pursue opportunities outside the country.


Event

UJA works toward its missions through the following activities.

Campaign to Foster Talents for the Global Science Community

UJA’s top goal is to foster new generations of Japanese scientists who can work with their peers from around the globe to advance science. As part of the goal, UJA strives to grow the pool of research talents with have global perspectives and experiences. With the ever-changing landscape surrounding the Japanese research scene, it is more critical than ever to grow diverse talents with world-class innovative vision and skills. Young researchers are often fearful of exploring research opportunities outside Japan, however, because they do not have enough information about available positions or potential career paths. UJA fills that gap by providing the latest information about career opportunities, to which many UJA members have real time access while studying or working overseas.
The Molecular Biology Society of Japan, the largest Japanese life science organization with a large number of graduate students and postdocs among its membership, would particularly benefit from UJA’s support in this area.
UJA will implement this initiative through the following activities.

1) Create the “Study Abroad” consultation section on the UJA website to provide the following information:
• Provide information regarding study/research opportunities outside Japan
• Introduction of labs that are recruiting Japanese postdocs
• Set up interviews for prospective applicants for postdoc positions outside Japan
2) Sit down with funding agencies and share UJA members’ perspectives as researchers working and/or studying on global stages
3) Establish UJA Research Paper Awards as an additional opportunity for researchers in and from Japan to be recognized and earn credentials needed to advance their careers globally.
4) Conduct a large-scale survey of researchers who have studied abroad to compile the information about “the state of research studies abroad.”
5) Based on the survey results, propose and/or share ideas about a career system in Japan that would enable young researchers to pursue opportunities outside the country.


Information Sharing

UJA uses its website to share the following and other information:

          • Conferences, workshops and other events relevant to the UJA membership
          • Career opportunities
          • Links to relevant organizations and online resources

Publication

UJA published a book titled, “Kenkyu ryugaku no susume” (“Encouragement for Seeking Research Opportunities Abroad”) in November 2016 to provide career guidance for researchers who are interested in joining research teams overseas.


Awards

UJA plans to launch the UJA Research Paper Awards program to recognize excellent research work by researchers in and from Japan (including foreign students studying in Japan). A panel of judges consisting of UJA members will carefully review papers selected from scientific journals and other types of readily available publications and hands out certificates to the awardees. Award programs are scarce in Japan as awards do not carry as much weight as a factor in hiring decisions. UJA will introduce the winning papers on its website to help increase the awareness about research activities in Japan while creating opportunities for scientists to earn recognition in Japan. The program is expected to begin issuing awards in summer of 2018.