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Toyota Foundation Research Grants: "Exploring New Values for Society"

The Toyota Foundation is a grant-making foundation whose goal is to contribute toward the realization of a more people-oriented society and a resulting increase in human happiness. We provide grants in support of research and operations in order to identify a diverse array of social issues, with a focus on areas of human and natural environment, social welfare, and education and culture.

From the outset, the Toyota Foundation has provided grants with an eye to supporting projects based on foresight, a participatory orientation, and an international perspective.

Program Objective

NOTE: The Research Grant Program receives hundreds of proposals each year and its selection rate has remained lower than 5 percent at least for the previous 5 years. However, after each round of call for proposals, the selection committee members and the foundation officers are often disappointed to find numerous applications which have been submitted without sufficient consideration of the objectives of the program represented by the title, “Exploring New Values for Society”. The most obvious, but the most important advice by the foundation for those who intend to submit a proposal to the Research Grant Program is to initially read the proposal guidelines carefully prior to starting the application procedure. After gaining an adequate understanding of the grant objectives, applicants are expected (i) to explain clearly what social issues they will address and what sort of new values they will pursue in order to respond to the specified issues; (ii) to describe in concrete terms the objectives of the proposed project and the content and methods of the research that will be implemented; and (iii) to describe in detail the anticipated content of the results of the research, the forms in which they will be presented and the methods and targets for diffusing the results.

The Toyota Foundation Research Grant Program supports research projects in accordance with its program title, “Exploring New Values for Society”. The objective of the program is to encourage ambitious projects that seek new values for society by fundamentally exploring basic ways of thinking and methodologies on what approach we should take to address difficult issues to be faced in the future.

Living as we do in an era of historical change, we are facing a complex array of social problems. The various issues that need to be  addressed include those that are on a global scale and those that transcend generations, as well as nascent problems that will only fully manifest themselves in the future. This means that it will be difficult to find clues and solutions that help to bring about a new society on the basis of existing values or compartmentalized expertise. Rather, in seeking to clarify what values we should pursue, it is necessary  o fundamentally reevaluate our way of thinking and the state of society from a wider perspective that adopts a panoramic view of the world and looks decades into the future. Taking into consideration the existing values, we need to stand outside them to build new viewpoints that can be shared with others. In this way, we can erect the signposts that will guide us to perspectives on a broader world and the future we have yet to perceive.

The program has established two grant categories respectively for joint research projects and individual research projects, both of which places no restrictions on the areas of research or the methods employed. For both categories, we expect the projects we fund to be founded on creative concepts that reflect a youthful perspective and draw closer to new values for society, disseminating their findings effectively in many directions and springing up a range of lively discussions.

Targeted Projects

In line with the program objective outlined above, we provide grants to projects that are expected to make contributions to the creation of new values for society under two categories: Joint Research Grants (Category A) involving project teams and Individual Research Grants (Category B) for research projects carried out by individuals. Neither category is subject to any restrictions with regard to age, affiliation, or position.

Please be aware that there is a difference in the project proposal form between Category A and Category B.

We welcome proposals for interdisciplinary and cross-sectional projects that involve the participation or cooperation of those with  diverse backgrounds from the grant recipient’s country and elsewhere, not only of university academics but also of those active in civil society movements. For both categories A and B, even though the latter targets individual research, we recommend that the projects involve collaboration with various other people in the course of the research.

The following are some examples of research that might be carried out by projects in either category as to explore new values for society.

Apart from the examples below, the program also welcomes proposals for projects targeting other ambitious goals, with no restrictions on the areas of research or the methods they will pursue, determined to challenge exploring new values for society.

  • Designing social and economic systems for sustainable development within the limits of natural resources and the environment, and formulating indices to gauge human welfare as the basis for those systems; establishing across-generational ethics to consider how natural resources, energy sources, and a rich natural environment can be passed down to future generations
  • Establishing a model of distributive justice to address the expansion of social disparities and inequality, as well as the increasing disequilibrium between areas/localities; building basic perspective on how to revive the functioning of communities to protect the rights and to support the lives of vulnerable groups in society
  • Formulating a concept for the formation of new communities in which people of different cultures and backgrounds can live in harmony,  and seeking an overarching conceptual framework regarding human rights, equality, and justice that encompasses a diverse range of people; establishing new methodology for consensus building to promote conflict resolution and prevention and peace building
  • Proposing new ideas and methodologies on how to preserve cultures and histories and pass them on to future generations; alternatively, reevaluating cultures and histories to enhance consideration of issues society is likely to face in the future
  • Disclosing ideas of how to appropriately share the burdens resulting from natural and manmade disasters; assembling a methodology on how to minimize and disperse the risks associated with future disasters

More specific examples can be found in the lists of past grants available on the foundation website.

The Research Grant Program supports research on project formats. Projects targeted are those that pursue their research in a planned manner and can be expected to achieve a high level of results regarding the goals set within the prescribed time. We welcome projects that can generate such results, even through a process of trial and error, and that can be expected to have positive ripple effects.

Grant Periods and Grant Amounts

Grant Periods

  • Grant period 1 year: May 1, 2018, to April 30, 2019
  • Grant period 2 years: May 1, 2018, to April 30, 2020

Grant Amounts

Total amount of grants: 100 million yen

Category A: Joint Research Grants

(Total allocated grant amounts: Approx. 80 million yen)

  • Grant period 1 year: Up to around 4 million yen
  • Grant period 2 years: Up to around 8 million yen

Category B: Individual Research Grants

(Total allocated grant amounts: Approx. 20 million yen)

  • Grant period 1 year: Up to around 1 million yen
  • Grant period 2 years: Up to around 2 million yen

Appropriateness of the requested grant amount and the planned project budget for the proposed research will also be considered under the process of selection. There is a possibility that, even for projects that do receive grants, as a result of the selection process, the actual grant amount will be reduced compared to the proposed amount and the submitted budget plan will have to be revised.

Grant Payment

In principle, the grant process is as follows. Payments are sent to the specified personal bank account of project representative. (The bank account should be exclusive to the grant from the Toyota Foundation.) The initial payment is made soon after the grant period begins. Two payments are made for the one-year grant and four payments for the two-year grant, all at roughly six-month intervals. (The payment made each time is of an appropriate amount in line with the content of the planned project budget.) From the second payment onward, the project representative is required to submit the prescribed report prior to each payment; payment may be temporarily suspended in a case where the report is not submitted or where the Toyota Foundation determines a need to confirm the content of the submitted report.

Grant Uses

Please confirm the range of expenditures for the project, referring to the “List of Expenses” at the end of these guidelines. Please note that the grant funds cannot be used for the purposes listed below.

  • Personnel or living expenses of the project representative or of the participants of the Joint Research Grants projects
  • Operational overhead of the organization to which the project representative or participants belong or are related (indirect expenses)
  • It is possible for grants to be used for remuneration of outside specialists providing advice or lectures and for those engaged in assisting project work.

In a case where grant money is used to purchase equipment, machinery, documents, etc. with a tax-inclusive price of 200,000 yen or more, the purchased item(s), at the end of the grant period, should be donated to the organization to which the project members belong or are related, rather than remaining in their private ownership.

Grant expenditures should be made in line with the planned project budget submitted at the time the grant was approved. If circumstances arise that will result in a major change in the budget plan, please consult in advance with the program officer of the Toyota Foundation. Any grant funds remaining after the end of the grant period should be promptly returned.

Accounting of Grant

In principle, the grant recipients are not allowed to entrust accounting of the grant received to the organization to which they belong or are related. In a case where, owing to circumstances, commissioning such an organization is unavoidable, the Toyota Foundation will require submission of the prescribed form commissioning accounting services after the grant is approved. Even when accounting is outsourced in this way, the project representative is required to take full notice of all grant incomes and expenses, and assure that the expenditures are made in line with the planned project budget regardless of requirements of the accounting organization. (Grants are  paid to the representative, never to the organization entrusted with the accounting.)

Communication with the Toyota Foundation

Grant Initiation (Concluding Memorandum)

For both the Joint Research Grants (Category A) and the Individual Research Grants (Category B), each project representative for which a grant is awarded will conclude a memorandum with the Toyota Foundation and then be individually responsible for carrying out the project in accordance with the agreement. (In the case where a minor is the project representative, a person of legal age should serve as the contact person and handle the procedures as the minor’s proxy.)

Project Progress

In carrying out the project, the representative or contact person should remain in close contact with program officers from the Toyota Foundation. If a change in the original project plan becomes necessary due to circumstances, please first contact the Toyota Foundation; in such a case, we may also request that you submit the “Request for Change in Plan” form along with supplementary materials. Also, please provide notification if you plan to hold a symposium, workshop, etc., on the project or publish its findings.

Submission of Reports

Each project representative will be obliged to prepare and submit documentation, including a written interim progress report, a final  report, and a financial statement, prior to the stipulated deadlines.

  • An interim progress report in a prescribed format will be required for a two-year grant project. A final report (free format, in around 10,000 words/20 pages) should be submitted by all grant recipients until the end of the month following the final month of the grant period.
  • For grant expenditures with a tax-inclusive amount of more than 10,000 yen, original copies of the relevant receipts should be attached to the financial statement. If accounting of the grant funds is outsourced as in page 7, receipts need not be included, but the Toyota Foundation may ask for such records to be disclosed for the sake of confirmation after the documents has been examined.

Meeting with Program Officers

If necessary, the Toyota Foundation program officers will visit the project representative or main participants to gather information on the project’s progress and its results.

Presentations, Symposiums, etc.

Events such as presentations or symposiums may be held by the Toyota Foundation at which the project representative or participants will be asked to report on the progress and results of their projects.

Project Outputs

For any outputs based on the project, e.g. books /booklets, monographs/articles, films/DVDs , etc., please submit 2 copies to the Toyota Foundation attached with an introductory summary for each output (in around 200 words).

Selection Process

Formal decisions on the selection of projects to be awarded grants will be made at the Toyota Foundation Board of Directors meetings scheduled to be held in March 2018, based on the deliberations of the Toyota Foundation Research Grant Program Selection Committee, which is composed of outside experts (chaired by Dr. Toshio Kuwako, Representative Director of the Consensus Coordinators  Association, Japan). Please be aware that when necessary the committee may ask to interview you about your project proposal.

Selection Results

The contact person for the project will be informed of the selection results by email by around early April 2018. If the email notification sent to the contact person has not arrived by that time, please contact the Toyota Foundation.

Please inform the Toyota Foundation promptly if the contact person’s email address has changed since you submitted your project proposal.


The Toyota Foundation seeks projects that are nonprofit and open in their outlook, without any political, religious, ideological, or other bias. No restrictions are placed on the project representative or participants in terms of nationality, place of residence, academic  background, organizational affiliation, etc.

The personal information you provide on the application forms will be used for project selection, statistical analysis, and administrative purposes, such as contacting those who submitted a proposal. The information will not be used for any other purpose without your consent, except in cases provided for by law.

Grants may be cancelled if any statement in your project proposal is found to be untrue, even after a grant has been approved.

Application date
8 Sep 2017
Date of residence
1 May 2017
1 or 2 years
Asia Japan
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History History & Philosophy of Science Linguistics Literature Media Studies Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology Other Agronomy Biology Chemistry Computer science Engineering Mathematics Medicine Physics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
Joint projects: up to ¥ 8.000.000; individual projects: up to ¥ 2.000.000