About Program – JP Students

Nakatani RIES Fellowship for Japanese Students – About Program

The Nakatani Research & International Experiences (RIES) Fellowship for Japanese students is a six week research internship program for Japanese undergraduate students majoring in science & engineering (S&E). The program will enable students to gain real world experience with S&E research, provide an introduction to U.S. higher education and provide opportunities for cultural engagement and collaboration with U.S. students. The program will serve as a catalyst for Japanese students interested in S&E study and research and engagement with the U.S. through international research collaborations.

The objectives of the Nakatani RIES Program for Japanese Fellows are to:

  • Cultivate an interest in science and engineering research and research collaborations between the U.S. and Japan;
  • Nurture the next generation of science and engineering students in Japan;
  • Contribute to the development of a generation of internationally savvy Japanese students who have a specific interest in and knowledge of the U.S.; and
  • Educate students in culture, language, and technology, in order that they may be more effective when addressing global scientific problems.

The six-week program will be held from early August – September and will expose young scientists and engineers to cutting-edge research in a diverse range of science and engineering fields. Japanese participants will be placed into a Rice University research lab where they will spend five weeks working on a research project under the advisement of the U.S. professor and their assigned U.S. graduate student mentor.  The program will include:

Pre-Departure Orientation
Webinar (Mid-July)

Nakatani RIES Japanese Fellows will participate in an online pre-departure webinar that will be held in mid-July to discuss steps they need to take to prepare for the departure to the U.S. the following month.

Orientation Program in Tokyo
In-Person Workshop in Tokyo, Second Week of August, Two Days

This workshop will a joint session with the U.S. Fellows, who will be ending their summer program in Japan this week.  In addition, the Japanese Fellows will participate in a one-day workshop to discuss international health insurance, safety, and expectations for conducting research in the U.S. through seminars and discussion sessions with program alumni and/or other students or professors who have extensive experience in the U.S.  Following this workshop, students will travel to the U.S.

Orientation Program at Rice University
Two Days, Second Week of August

The Orientation Program will be held at Rice University in the second week of August.  This week will include orientation and arrival information to Rice University including the required Office of International Students and Scholars check-in meeting. Seminars will also be held introducing students to research and graduate study in the U.S.  Students will also meet with their Rice University host professor and begin working in their assigned research lab.

Research Internship in Science & Engineering
Five weeks, August – September

Participants will be placed into a Rice University lab under the advisement of a U.S. host professor and all students will be assigned a U.S. graduate student research mentor. Projects will be arranged by Prof. Kono in consultation with the host lab professor and mentors and research projects/hosts may vary each year. The Rice University host labs are selected for their willingness to mentor a young undergraduate student, for contributions to cutting-edge science & engineering research in the U.S., and a desire to increase the international diversity and intercultural competencies of their group members by providing them with an opportunity to work with Japanese undergraduates.

The goals of the research internship are to:

  • Provide students with hands-on experience with cutting-edge science & engineering research;
  • Enhance students technical and research skill sets;
  • Enable students to collaborate in an international research effort;
  • Enhance students inter-cultural communication & English language skills;
  • Encourage students to pursue future graduate study and research.

The language of the research labs is English and all Japanese participants will be required to pass an English language Skype interview with the Center for Written, Oral and Visual Communication at Rice University or provide proof of minimum required TOEFL or IELTS scores in order to participate in the program. See English Language for more information.

Research Poster Presentation at Rice 
1 day

The capstone experience of Nakatani RIES Japanese Fellow Program will be the presentation of a topical research poster on their summer project at a Rice University poster session on the final day of the program at Rice.

Final Week in the U.S.
One Week, mid-September

Before returning to Japan, fellows will visit other universities in the U.S. to be exposed to different research environments and interact with students throughout the U.S.  (locations to be announced). Final week programming at Rice University will also include a re-entry program that will help students integrate their international experience into future academic & career plans and a poster presentation skills workshops. At the end of this week, fellows will return to Japan.

Nakatani RIES Closing Ceremony for Japanese Fellows
1 day, Tokyo

Upon return to Japan, Nakatani RIES will organize a closing ceremony in for all fellows.  Fellows will present on their research and international experiences in the U.S. to the Nakatani Foundation as part of the closing ceremony.  At the end of this closing ceremony students will return to their hometowns.

Part II Program for Japanese Fellows
Following Spring, February – March (~4 to 6 weeks)

Upon successful completion of the program at Rice University, Japanese Fellows will have the opportunity apply to be considered for selection into the Part II program. Those selected as Part II program participant/s would have the opportunity to return to the U.S. for a second research internship experience for approximately 4 – 6 weeks the following February – March. The Part II program will be a highly independent experience that will build on all that the Japanese Fellows have learned during their Part I experience at Rice University.

Funding for the Part II program is limited and may vary in each year.  Exact duration will vary based on student and host lab/university availability. More information on applying to and funding for the Part II program will be provided to participants in August.

Alumni Follow-on Project
To be completed in the semester following participation in the Nakatani RIES Fellowship

All participants in the Nakatani RIES Fellowship will be required to carry out a follow-on project at their home university or in their local/home community that encourages other students to pursue science & engineering study and research and/or international research and study opportunities. These follow-on projects should highlight the Nakatani RIES program and be designed to share key aspects of your international and research experiences with the next generation of students and researchers in your field.

Follow-on projects are self-designed by each participant and a project proposal must be submitted during the final week of the program and approved by program staff. Students must submit a Follow-on Project report within six months of the conclusion of the Nakatani RIES program that includes an overview of the completed project and submit 1 – 3 photos of the outreach activity.

Some possible Follow-on Projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Presentations on Nakatani RIES Fellowship to student organizations, professional society chapters, academic departments, etc. at your home university;
  • Hosting a table or information session on the Nakatani RIES Fellowship at your home university study abroad office, study abroad fair, research abroad fair, or other related campus event;
  • Submitting an article on your Nakatani RIES Fellowship to your home university newspaper, academic department newsletter or website, or other university office newsletter or website;
  • Presenting your Nakatani RIES research project poster at other relevant conferences or events in your field (with the prior approval of Prof. Kono & your Research Host Professor)
  • Giving a presentation on the Nakatani RIES Fellowship and your international & research experience to local schools, particularly at the middle-school or high-school level, to encourage the next generation of students to pursue science & engineering study and research;
  • Other projects ideas also will be considered.

We encourage creativity in your outreach approach!

Academic Credit
The Nakatani RIES Fellowship is a credit-bearing program and all Japanese participants will be enrolled as Visiting Undergraduate Research Students at Rice University. Japanese Fellows will received 3 credits of engineering research projects (ELEC 490) with Prof. Junichiro Kono serving as the instructor. Upon successful completion of the program a letter grade will be issued for this course and students can then request a Rice University transcript through the Registrar’s office via the National Student Clearinghouse.

Other Program Logistics
Through the support of the Nakatani Foundation, most costs related to student participation in the Nakatani RIES Fellowship are funded. Travel logistics and research project arrangements will be directly coordinated by program faculty and staff. All students will be provided with international health insurance that will provide coverage abroad for illness/accident, medical evacuation, and repatriation of remains.

Students will need to budget individually for personal spending, visa/passport, immunizations, and other costs not covered by the program.

For more information please see our Program Funding page.

Print Friendly