The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) Postgraduate Scholarship

For master's or doctoral research students who demonstrate leadership qualities.

Scholarship overview

Status: Closed

Key facts

Value: $31,000 (master's) or $42,000 (doctoral)
Duration: One (master's) or three (doctoral) years' duration
Number available: One award
Type of study: Full-time, Postgraduate, Masters, PhD or doctorate
Of note: International network.

Application dates

Applications open: 1 December 2024
Closing date: 1 March 2025


Eligibility restrictions: New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. Age restriction. Full-time study only. High achievement. Master's Degree. Doctoral Degree.

The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) was established in December 1991 from an endowment of the Nippon Foundation to Massey University. Sylff is a global programme aimed at nurturing leaders who initiate action, overcome differences and address contemporary issues facing our world.

Massey University is one of 69 Sylff institutions globally and The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowships offered by Massey are for New Zealand postgraduate research students studying at any of the country’s 8 universities.

History of the Sylff fund

In 1987 The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) was established with the goal of developing human resources, specifically by furthering the education of tomorrow's international leaders. Sylff is currently centrally administered by the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research. The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research has made an endowment of US $1 million to each of more than 60 selected universities and consortia in 44 countries across the globe. Massey University received the endowment to fund postgraduate scholarships in 1991. The scholarship fund promotes excellence within the academic community and focuses on issues of immediate importance to New Zealand.

Sylff Association

The Sylff Association was launched in 2017, bringing together graduate fellows, steering committee members from across the institutions and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research. The Association offers all Sylff Fellows various support programmes to continue to promote their academic advancement and development as leaders. Please see the website for more information on these opportunities.

Management of the Sylff fund

In New Zealand, the fund is managed by a steering committee which comprises academic staff from Massey University and other New Zealand Universities, and is chaired by the Dean Research, Graduate Research School, Massey University. Current Steering committee members are:

- Professor Tracy Riley, Massey University (Chair), Dean Research, Graduate Research School, Massey University

- Vacant Position, representation to be confirmed

- Professor Peter Whiteford, Professor of English, Victoria University

- Ms Jacqueline Koenders (ex-officio), Manager, Graduate Research School, Massey University

- Mr David Basire (ex-officio), Financial Reporting Manager, Massey University

Who we're looking for

We're looking for a Master's or Doctoral research student who demonstrates leadership qualities and is researching the broad fields of Humanities, Social Sciences or interdisciplinary studies that incorporate Humanities and Social Sciences by focusing on complex, wicked problems (e.g. sustainability, poverty).

What you'll be studying

There are a number of exciting support program awards available to Sylff fellows.

Eligibility criteria

You must be:

  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • enrolled in or eligible to enrol in a research degree with a topic that incorporates Humanities and Social Sciences
  • under the age of 35 at the time of application
  • studying or intending to study at one of New Zealand's eight universities

Application checklist

Include the following with your application:

  • a completed application form
  • evidence of your New Zealand residency or citizenship (passport or birth certificate)
  • copies of your complete transcripts for all tertiary qualifications
  • an Offer of Place or Confirmation of Enrolment from your university with your intended study details (programme, major, papers, start date)
  • an academic reference commenting on your academic ability
  • a character reference commenting on your leadership qualities, experience and future aspirations

Selection considerations

When choosing our recipient, we will consider your academic achievements and leadership qualities. We will also consider your proposed research topic.