To date, the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences （JIRCAS）, through its excellent partnership with international research institutions such as the research centers under the alliance of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), has achieved various results through research collaboration including those carried out by Japanese researchers dispatched to the centers. Japan has made important contributions, particularly to CGIAR for more than 30 years since joining it in 1972, which included among others the appointment of a Japanese scientist to the directorship of CIMMYT, one of CGIAR’s centers. With Japan’s cooperation and support, “NERICA”, the New Rice for Africa have been developed through hybridization breeding between African rice varieties characterized by strong resistance against diseases and dry conditions and the high-yielding Asian rice varieties.
Under these circumstances, it has become important to promote from the international point of view the developmental research on problems relating to the environment, stable supply of energy, water and other resources in order to secure a stable food supply and demand balance for the world as well as for Japan and to establish a safe and peaceful society. Aiming at grooming potential leaders of research development, JIRCAS launched a fellowship program (CGIAR- Japan Fellowship Program) in the year 2004 whereby excellent young researchers are dispatched to international research centers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries abroad.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) has commissioned JIRCAS to implement this fellowship program under which about 10 excellent young and promising researchers are dispatched to CGIAR Centers for a period of about two months each year. To be eligible for this fellowship, the applicant must be less than 35 years old, a Japanese citizen involved in research in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and holds at least a Master’s degree .
This fellowship program has obtained the full support of CGIAR, and to this program, Dr. Ian Johnson, World Bank's Vice President for Sustainable Development (ESSD), has shared the following sentiment, “Japan has long been known for its excellence in science and technology as well as for its commitment to agricultural research, and since 1972, it has been a major supporting country for CGIAR. The Japan-CGIAR Fellowship Program is an example of a new approach where both the government of Japan and the Japanese people could work together towards the promotion of science and technology and the reduction of poverty. CGIAR also welcomes the launching of this fellowship program”.