The Sasakawa Young Leaders Scholarships Sylff logo

The Sasakawa Young Leaders Scholarships are offered annually by Massey University from the proceeds of a very generous endowment received in December 1991 from the Nippon Foundation (then known as the Sasakawa Foundation).

The purpose of the Programme is to provide opportunity to study at any New Zealand university for graduate students who demonstrate leadership qualities or display high potential for future leadership in either public or private life.

Scholarships are offered for study towards research in either a Masters or PhD degree in a wide range of disciplines, provided the research is in the broad fields of Humanities (ie. the study of human culture, especially literature, languages, history, art, music and philosophy) or Social Sciences (ie. the scientific study of any aspect of social behaviour and/or the functioning of society). Professional doctorate degrees (eg. DClinPsych, DBusAdmin) are not eligible. Candidates whose degree programmes do not appear to fit in these categories, but who feel their research qualifies them, will be asked to justify this view in their application.

In accordance with the terms of its endowment, the selection committee sets a very high standard. Candidates should have an excellent academic record, have demonstrated a capacity for leadership, and a strong commitment towards their proposed research topic.

Successful applicants are able to study at any New Zealand university. The Scholar’s principal supervisor may, therefore, be from any New Zealand university.

Successful applicants will receive a scholarship of up to $25,000 per annum for a PhD degree or up to $15,000 for a Masters degree. All compulsory fees may be covered, and approved research expenses up to $5,000 p.a.


  • An applicant must be a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident of New Zealand.
  • Applicants must be of an age that they have not passed their 35th birthday by 1 October in the year of application.
  • Applicants must be intending to enrol or be enrolled in a full time degree with a research component of 90 points or more.
  • The Scholarship will be tenable for a period appropriate to the course of study: up to three years for PhD students and one year for Masters students.
  • Students may apply in anticipation of approved registration, or during their postgraduate study, and at any time of the academic year but note that all applications are considered together after the 1 October closing date. NB. Applications are for research in the following year.
  • The Scholarships are regarded as full-time, so positions of emolument may be undertaken only with the permission of the Committee.
  • Sylff scholars may hold other scholarships concurrently with Sylff, but the amount of the Sylff stipend will reduce commensurately.


Applications close 1 October. The application will include:

  • verified copies of transcripts of the applicant’s academic record (NB: Some universities provide transcripts via MyEquals. These are already verified.)
  • a statement of the proposed programme of research with an outline of the methods of investigation it is proposed to adopt
  • an outline of past and current leadership activities
  • a CV (no longer than three A4 sides)
  • the names of two referees. (Applicants must ask their referees to email confidential references to Ms Collins by 1st October.)

After consideration of the submissions, the selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates to attend an interview in Wellington 26 November, the costs of which will be covered by the Scholarship Fund.

The interview will include a ten minute presentation by the candidate. Those shortlisted for interview will also be asked to provide a budget of proposed research expenses for the following year.

Candidates will be notified of the results of their applications soon after the interviews.

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey