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Updates to the Japanese Studies Mini Grant Program


In April 2020, the Japanese Studies department of The Japan Foundation, Sydney sought input from scholars on how its Mini Grant program could be adapted to respond to changing needs in the Japanese Studies community caused by COVID-19.

To date, our Japanese Studies Mini Grant Program has largely supported intellectual exchange in the area of Japanese Studies by funding travel costs for visiting scholars. With mobility now limited due to COVID-19 and with new challenges emerging, we saw an urgent need to adapt our Mini Grant Program to provide meaningful and relevant support for Japanese Studies scholars in this changed environment.

Feedback was invited via email based on an open callout in our J-Studies newsletter and direct emails to our academic database.


We received 15 responses in total, almost half of which contained detailed comments about emerging challenges for Japan-related scholars in the higher education sector. Drawing on these responses, we have identified four priority areas which our Japanese Studies Mini Grant Program has been restructured to address.

These are (in alphabetical order):

  • Course delivery
  • Digital space
  • Research
  • Vulnerable scholars

Based on feedback, ‘vulnerable scholars’ are defined as: international PhD students without scholarships; recently graduated PhD students; scholars reliant on casual university teaching/research contracts that have not been renewed; and scholars currently on fixed-term university teaching/research contracts that will not be renewed.


Applications are now open for the newly adapted FY2020-21 Japanese Studies Mini Grant Program. Applications must be submitted at least three weeks prior to the scheduled start date, and will be accepted until February 2021 or until allocations are exhausted.


The Japan Foundation, Sydney wishes to thank the scholars who took the time to provide feedback during this challenging period. We appreciate your patience while we have revised this program, and we look forward to supporting Japan-related scholarship in new ways through our redesigned program.


We continue to welcome suggestions and feedback regarding our Japanese Studies Mini Grant Program. Please address any queries or comments to the Japanese Studies department via the contact details on this page. Thank you.

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