OIST in a Nutshell

What is OIST?

Mission Statement:

The OIST Graduate University shall conduct internationally outstanding education and research in science and technology, and thus contribute to the sustainable development of Okinawa, and promote and sustain the advancement of science and technology in Japan and throughout the world.

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University is an interdisciplinary graduate school offering a 5-year PhD program in Science. Over half of the faculty and students are recruited from outside Japan, and all education and research is conducted entirely in English. OIST researchers are conducting multi-disciplinary research in five major areas: Neuroscience, Molecular Sciences, Environmental and Ecological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Mathematical Computational Sciences. In the six years leading up to graduate school accreditation, OIST received recognition for doing original research and sponsoring innovative international workshops and courses.

The graduate school accepts 20 students per year, creating a very low student to instructor ratio. Students also receive support for living costs, health care, housing, childcare, and other needs that would otherwise distract them from the science. Balancing lectures and lab work, the doctoral program places students in well-funded labs where they work side-by-side with top researchers on state-of-the-art equipment. Frequent visits from internationally-known scientists further enrich the program and provide opportunities for collaboration and exchange. By the time they graduate, students have accumulated not only abstract knowledge and practical skills but also the kind of professional connections necessary to launch their careers as world-class researchers.

Central Concepts

  1. Best in the World: Recruit the best students in the world to work in an environment that encourages creativity, uniqueness, and diversity.
  2. International: Recruit over half of the faculty and student body from outside of Japan and use English as the official language.
  3. Flexible: Encourage innovation, creativity, and adaptability; accommodate new initiatives; ensure a thoroughly interdisciplinary academic environment; and treat every student treated as a unique individual.
  4. Global Networking: Host, attend, and participate in international meetings, conferences, workshops, and other events to enhance the university’s visibility and increase research and education opportunities.
  5. Collaboration with Industry: Create an environment where research outcomes are developed and applied by industry for the benefit of society, the sustained development of Okinawa, and the competitiveness of Japan.

What makes OIST different

  • English: The international language of science used in peer-review journals and international conferences is also the daily operational language
  • International: Half of students and faculty are recruited from outside Japan.
  • Interdisciplinary: Collaboration and exchange between specialities is encouraged by such things as the absence of administrative departments, campus architecture, and the curriculum of the graduate program.
  • Education: With a 2:1 student to faculty ratio, students work side-by-side with top-class researchers as they work toward their degrees.
  • Funding: OIST is a Special Private School Corporation, funded mostly by the Japanese government but granted the administrative freedom to take innovative initiatives.
  • Location: Okinawa is a beautiful tropical island in the center of Asia’s rapid economic development, but as a part of Japan, it enjoys all the convenience and stability of a developed nation.
  • Committment: OIST strives to provide an environment for work and study where each individual is valued and encouraged to realize his or her potential.

For more information about OIST ideals and guiding principles, please see Chapter 1 of the Policy Library “Who We Are”.

Factsheet (as of Jan 2014):

  • Employees
    Faculty members: 48
    Researchers: 356 (168 international)
    Research support staff: 53 (12 international)
    Administrative staff: 168 (25 international)
  • OIST PhD Students: 53
    Students Admitted (2012): 34 (29 international)
    Students Admitted (2013): 20 (15 international)
  • Research
    Research units: 46