2019 Scholarship Award Selections

There are two types of scholarships offered by Friends of UTokyo, Inc. (FUTI). One is for short-term study abroad programs called the FUTI Global Leadership Program. The other is for mid- to long-term studies called the Ito Foundation USA-FUTI Scholarship. Details for both programs are on our webpage: https://friendsofutokyo.org/scholarships-grants/.

The Scholarship Committee Chair, Dr. Shigenori Matsushita, shared his thoughts on the award results saying, “Thanks to each and every one of our supporters, we were able to select many highly qualified students, and to continue supporting the globalization efforts of the University of Tokyo. We look forward to receiving reports on the contributions the recipients will make to society and to the University of Tokyo, directly and indirectly.” Below is a report of the scholarship selection results for this year.

FUTI Global Leadership Program

For 2019, the FUTI Global Leadership Award was presented to seventeen students. Nine students from U.S. universities will be studying at the University of Tokyo this summer and eight students from the University of Tokyo (UTokyo) will be enrolled in a U.S. university for the summer. Here are the statistics on award recipients from 2016 onwards.

2016 2017 2018 2019
US→UTokyo 9 10 12 9
UTokyo→US 6 8 6 8

This year we noted the following trends.

FUTI’s role in UTokyo’s study abroad programs in the U.S. is changing, reflecting the circumstances described below:

1)      The problem of academic calendar mismatching persists, as U.S. summer programs clash with UTokyo’s second quarter.

2)      The interest in applying for a FUTI scholarship has diminished among UTokyo students due to an increase in quality and quantity of support available for study abroad from the university. Nowadays, students can gain admission into certain universities abroad that have an agreement with UTokyo, by simply passing the UTokyo’s in-school selection process.

3)      Students in the following circumstances continue to demand support:

  • The Global Education for Innovation and Leadership (GEfIL) program, requires students to attend an overseas program in the summer, but doesn’t provide adequate financial help. FUTI’s support can fill the gap between total expenses and the scholarship offered by GEfIL.
  • At UTokyo, 6th-year medical students are required to engage in practical expertise in Japan or abroad. Programs such as the International Research Center for Neurointelligence (IRCN) offers only limited or no scholarships at all.

The demand for FUTI scholarships from U.S. university students remains strong. Since sufficient financial support is not available to many students, they rely on FUTI to fund their trips, especially in the following two programs:

  • University of California study abroad programs, such as the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) for summer internships in science and engineering at UTokyo.
  • International Research Center for Neurointelligence (IRCN)

Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship

The number of award recipients is given below, followed by the trends noted:

Academic Year 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Total 9 10 12 9

Surprisingly, many applicants this year were seeking FUTI support for a PhD program in the U.S. However, a number of the applicants were not accepted into their PhD programs. This led to a discrepancy between our initial award expectations and the final selection result. Due to this reason, our award decisions were delayed this year and the number of recipients was smaller than in past years. For next year, we are planning to make the following changes:

  • We will revise our webpage to clarify our policy on the scholarship for PhD students and to give detailed guidance regarding the challenges of entry into a PhD Program in the U.S.
  • We will modify our scholarship selection process for PhD applicants.