Challenging Female Undergraduate and Graduate Students to Pursue Doctoral Study and Careers in Research

The Otsuka Prize for Outstanding Female Graduate Students

The Otsuka Prize was inaugurated at Hokkaido University in AY2005 for the recognition of outstanding female undergraduates who are aiming to become researchers. This is a scholarship named after Dr. Eiko OTSUKA, an alumna of Hokkaido University who was awarded the Japan Academy Prize in 1996 (Supervisory Director and Professor Emeritus of Hokkaido University).

In their final year of study, grants of 500,000 yen prizes will be awarded to 10 female undergraduates (approximately 7% of female undergraduates in a given cohort) who demonstrate remarkable achievements while in school. The prize is open to female students who have submitted an outstanding thesis to earn their degree within the defined period without delay. For students who have had experience with childbirth, parental leave, or family caregiving during the course of their program, selection is carried out allowing consideration in accordance with the time required.

Expanding Students’ Opportunities to Encounter and Interact with Role Models

FResHU organizes and holds events where female undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Hokkaido University or elsewhere are able to meet and interact with senior female researchers who have played an active role in their varied careers. These events are not simply lecture events that tend to be characterized by one-way communication, but rather offer the chance for substantial exchanges, including networking events and informal exchanges of opinion. We hope that while being stimulated by eminent senior researchers (Ambitious Models) and gaining sympathetic hints and tips from more approachable scholars (Friendly Models), each student is able to find encouragement to discover their own signature approach to science and the desire to put this into practice. After encountering their potential role models, we hope that students do not simply follow their footsteps, but rather feel inspired by the experience and forge ahead on their own paths. We provide support in order for women to be ambitious and optimistic toward both their research and their lives without having to feel cornered or alone with anxieties such as those about their future course. Furthermore, we are helping to broaden opportunities for exchanges among different generations of students in different fields where they can converse with each other about the diversity of life and take encouragement from each other in a spirit of friendly competition.