Thursday, January 5, 2012

PhD at OIST on Okinawa

OIST — Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology — is looking for PhD candidates for next year.

Briefly, OIST is a new, graduate-level research institute on Okinawa, Japan. The labs range from neuroscience to math to physics to chemistry, but the work is very interdisciplinary. Up until now they have been "just" a research facility as they've been building up the organization, but from this year they are accredited as a graduate school.

They aim for a very international research and graduate student body, and all teaching and interaction is in English. About half of the staff is non-Japanese and I believe the aim is to have the same kind of proportion among students as well.

I was a tutor at the OCNC summer course on computational neuroscience last year. The facilities are very good, and there's a wide variety of research going on. The summer school itself is very high quality.

The one possible drawback with OIST is that the location is decidedly rural. Even grocery shopping is a chore without a car. On the other hand, it gives you plenty of uninterrupted time, and the location is excellent if you happen to be into diving or snorkelling.

If I were a budding graduate student, I'd grab this chance without second thoughts.

Patch Clamp
Patch clamp microscope at OIST. I was going to add a scenic picture here, but in all honesty, you're more likely to stare at something like this all day long than at any tropical island view.


  1. Hello, I found this blog while looking for OIST. I was wondering if you could give me some info on how different are japanese graduate studies if compared with America or Europe (I'm doing a master degree in Canada right now).

    Also, except OIST, is there other good opportunities for non-japanese graduate students (especially in the neurosciences, pharmacology and microscopy techniques) on the main island. I'm talking about institutes with good reputations and which are friendly to English speaking foreigners and where you can do a PhD. Do you know how competitive it is to enter OIST or one of theses graduate schools ?

    Thank you very much.


  2. Hi, Michael.

    I think I'll answer in the form of a new blog post. That way it'll be visible to more people and it's easier for me to refer to it later. The short answer, though is that it's very doable and if you are qualified there shouldn't be a problem finding a place.


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