Two of Japan’s most prestigious universities, the University of Tokyo (Todai) and the Kyoto University (Kyodai), offer a fully-funded summer school research program for students in the field of science and biological research. Continue reading to find out more about the Amgen Scholars Program. 

What is the Amgen Scholars Program? 

Funded by the Amgen Foundation, The Amgen Scholars Program offers various scholarships for undergraduate students wishing to partake in scientific research. The aim of this program is to advance excellence in science education and open the door to research opportunities around the world. This program is hosted by 24 institutions around the world and in Japan two of the nation’s most prestigious public universities, The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, has been selected to host summer schools completely funded by the Amgen Scholarship.

Host Labs Available

The University of Tokyo

University of Tokyo Hongo Campus

The Univesity of Tokyo, often abbreviated in Japanese as Todai, is the oldest and largest national university in Japan. Currently, the university has 30,000 students with about 3,000 of those being international students. The University has 10 Faculties, 15 Graduate Schools, 11 affiliated research institutes, 13 University-wide centers, 3 affiliated libraries and 2 institutes for advanced study. The University has five main campuses located around the wider Tokyo region: Hongo Campus, Komaba Campus, Kashiwa Campus, Shirokanedai Campus, and Nakano Campus. The University of Tokyo was ranked 22nd in the world in the 2020 QS University Rankings.

29 Laboratories in six Graduate Schools

Research Areas: Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Neuroscience, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Molecular, Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Immunology, Microbiology, Pathology, Statistics, Physiological Science, etc.

Click here for the full list of laboratories

Kyoto University

Kyoto University Yoshida Campus

29 Laboratories in 11 Graduate Schools

Kyoto University, often referred to as Kyodai, is Japan’s second-oldest national university. It is located in Kyoto and is often referred to as the most prestigious higher institute in the Kansai region. Currently, the University has 22,629 enrolled students with 2,732 being international students. The University has 10 Faculties and 18 Graduate Schools scattered across three main campuses: Yoshida Campus, Uji Campus, and Katsura Campus. Kyoto University was ranked 33rd in the world in the 2020 QS University Rankings. 

Research Areas: Chemistry, Molecular Medicine, Biochemistry, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Drug Discovery, Cell and Developmental Biology, Immunology, Bioengineering, Molecular Genetics, Bioinformatics, Neuroscience.

Click here for the full list of laboratories

Number of Participants

The University of Tokyo – about 15 students 

Kyoto University – 15 students 

Note: It should be noted that Kyoto University explicitly mentions that approximately half of the participants will be selected from universities located throughout Asia, whilst the other half will be selected from non-Asian colleges and universities around the world. This is in accordance with the instruction from the Amgen Foundation. The University of Tokyo, however, does not make such specific claims.

Eligibility 

At both The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in colleges or universities worldwide that award a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent); and
  • At the minimum, have completed their first year of undergraduate study at the time the summer program begins, and
  • Are not graduating before the summer program begins, and after the summer program ends will resume undergraduate studies for at least 1 semester or 1 quarter
  • Have a strong record of academic performance; and
  • Have a good working knowledge of English, demonstrated by a minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 72, IELTS overall band score of 5.5, Cambridge English FCE, TOEIC score of 1095, TOEIC L&R score of 785, or TOEIC S&W score of 310, if not a native English speaker or English is not your first language, and
  • Have an interest in pursuing a Ph.D.

Program Period 

Both programs at the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University run for 8 weeks. 

Participants will also travel to Singapore towards the end of their summer research in order to attend the Amgen Scholars Asia Symposium

Scholarship Content

The scholarship content differs slightly between the two universities. 

The University of Tokyo 

  • Accommodation – Fully paid accommodation secured near campus and in Singapore
  • Stipend – Each participant will receive a stipend in value of ¥250,000
  • Travel Costs – Economy-class round-trip airline tickets with the most economical and direct route to Japan and Singapore

Kyoto University 

  • Accommodation – Fully paid accommodation secured near campus and in Singapore
  • Stipend – Each participant will receive a stipend in value of ¥180,000
  • Travel Costs – Economy-class round-trip airline tickets with the most economical and direct route to Japan and Singapore  

It should be noted that at both Universities, participants are expecting to pay for their own private health and travel insurance. However, the amount provided by the stipend should be more than enough to cover this.

Application Documents

The following are the list of documents that needed to be submitted for one’s application to be considered. The necessary documents differ between the two universities. 

The University of Tokyo

  • Portrait photo
  • Scanned copy of Passport or ID Card 
  • Resume/CV and Cover Letter
  • Academic Transcript
  • Questionnaire 
  • Proof of your English proficiency
  • Privacy Statement and Agreement
  • (Two) Recommendation Letters 

Kyoto University

  • Statement of Purpose (maximum of 3,000 words)  
  • (Two) Recommendation Letters
  • Academic Transcript and English Test Scores

Conclusion

The Amgen Scholars Progam is a fully-funded summer school scholarship offered at two of Japan’s most prestigious public universities: The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University. 

At each university, around 15 students from around the world will be able to participate in hands-on research at renowned laboratories in the biological sciences. This summer research program is fully-funded, covering the participant’s travel (airfare) and accommodation expenses. Moreover, a stipend of ¥250,000 at the Univesity of Tokyo and ¥180,000 at Kyoto University will be provided. Students will also be able to attend the Amgen Scholars Asia Symposium held in Singapore. This exhibition is also fully-funded.

Although the 2020 Amgen Scholars Program is canceled at both The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak, the summer schools are expected to restart again in 2021. 

I recommend applicants to look into the specific research area conducted by each professor in order to find a laboratory that best aligns with your academic interests and experiences. 

Reference 

Amgen Scholars Webpage
https://amgenscholars.com/

University of Tokyo Amgen Scholars Program 
https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/prospective-students/amgen_program.html

Kyoto University Amgen Scholars Program 
http://www.opir.kyoto-u.ac.jp/study/en/curriculum/amgenscholars/

Images

https://www.flickr.com/photos/o_0/9335063228 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Kyoto_University_Clock_Tower.jpg https://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/handwriting/s/scholarship.html