The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia (JISPA) was first introduced in 1993. It is funded by the Government of Japan, administered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and conducted at various graduate schools inJapan.
Its objective is to contribute to institutional capacity building in economic policymaking to promote the sustainable growth of emerging and developing economies in Asia and the Pacific. By training future macroeconomic managers in these countries, the JISPA aims to enable them to better formulate sound economic and financial stability policies needed for sustainable growth and development.
The JISPA targets highly motivated government officials who may serve as future macroeconomic policy makers with the capacity and vision to contribute effectively to the economic development of their countries. Scholarship awards are made on the basis of the candidate’s academic record and work background, mathematical and statistics skills, English language proficiency, and potential for contributing to the macroeconomic and financial management and economic development of their country. The assessment also includes qualities such as the candidate’s commitment to public service, willingness to learn, and openness to new ideas.
Currently, the JISPA is open to qualified candidates from the following countries:
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pacific Island Countries, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
The scholarship covers tuition-related costs and most living expenses for the scholar herself/himself. Officials who receive the JISPA scholarship cannot accept other scholarships. Scholars are expected to devote full time to their studies while in Japan.
The program comprises two tracks: the partnership track and the open track. Because of the strong competition for scholarships, the JISPA is highly selective. In 2011-2012, a total of 35-40 new scholarships are available to candidates for the partnership track. There is no fixed limit on new scholarships for the open track, but generally only a small number of scholarships are awarded.
The Partnership Track
The partnership track of the JISPA allows scholars to study a specially designed graduate level course concentrating on macroeconomics at an IMF partnership university. The partnership universities are:
- National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS): one-year and two-year programs
- Hitotsubashi University (HIT): two-year program
- International University of Japan (IUJ): two-year program
- The University of Tokyo (UT): two-year program
All subjects, including the thesis component, are taught entirely in English.
The universities offer subjects that cover essential elements that will allow scholars to enter the macroeconomic policy dialogue at an international level. All of the universities have a strong macroeconomic oriented focus on:
- macroeconomic policy formulation
- central banking and monetary policy
- financial markets and institutions
They also offer various optional subjects that will allow scholars to pursue their particular interests, relevant to the topic of their master’s thesis or policy research paper. This thesis component is considered one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the program.
Subjects are taught by dedicated professors, many of whom have experience working as professionals of the IMF, World Bank, and other international institutions, as well as senior government officials.
The application deadline for the partnership track is December 10, 2012. After an initial screening of applications, selected candidates will be contacted by the IMF to arrange an interview, which is typically done in their countries with representatives from the partnership universities. A math and/or English examination may also be administered at this time. Final selection will be made on the basis of the interview, math and English competencies, the application form, and any other supplementary information.
The Open Track
The open track of the JISPA provides support to scholars who wish to study graduate-level macroeconomics or a related field at either the master’s or Ph.D. level at any leading university in Japan. However, priority is given to Ph.D. candidates. It is geared towards highly motivated officials who are able to identify a course of study in Japan suitable to their professional pursuits in the public sector and supportive of their future work as an economic policy maker. They typically cover all or most of tuition cost and related expenses and provide a monthly stipend for the scholar. The scholarship covers expenses incurred by the scholar only.
For a master’s degree, a scholarship can be awarded for up to two consecutive one-year periods and for a Ph.D. degree for up to three consecutive one-year periods, depending on a university’s requirements under a specific course of study. Annual renewal of the scholarship is subject to approval by the IMF, based on the scholar’s progress, university’s assessment, and sponsoring agency’s consent.
To be eligible for the open track, applicants must first apply directly to the university of their choice and be accepted in a graduate-level program in an appropriate discipline. The IMF maintains no information on the application processes at Japanese universities. The IMF can also consider providing support to those eligible scholars who have already commenced their studies in Japan.
To apply for the open track scholarship, applicants must complete the application form Open Track application form: PDF Version. In addition, they should submit a copy of the letter of acceptance into a graduate-level program from a Japanese university (please see the application guidelines for the open track for the complete information). There is no application deadline for the open track; however, applicants are encouraged to submit application materials at the latest four months in advance to the enrollment date of the program to which they have been accepted.
Award of the scholarship will depend on the suitability of the chosen university and course of study, as well as a combination of the applicants’ educational background, work experience, and potential for future promotion in one of the key government agencies for economic policy making. Under the open track, the IMF will notify selection results within two months of an applicant’s complete submission of requested application material.
For more information, please visit official website: www.imf.org