The Douglas M. Berger Psychopharmacology Fellowship in Japan

Sunset over Yakushiji temple in Nara, Japan's first capital city (710-784). Click on the image for information on Yakushiji.

The Douglas M. Berger Psychopharmacology Research Fellowship in Japan

The Douglas M. Berger Psychopharmacology Research Fellowship in Japan is designed to provide support for young researchers to study a clinical psychopharmacology topic in collaboration with a Japanese host scientist. The purpose of the Fellowship is to promote international friendship as well as to further the study of psychopharmacology in the hopes that study of this nature can help patients with psychiatric illness. Study period in Japan is for 5 months (start date is not specified), and one candidate will be chosen per year.

Qualification Requirements

In principle, applicants must either be psychiatric residents planning their fourth-year elective; or be Ph.D. (or Pharm. D.) candidates in a field related to CNS pharmacology, however, the merit of each applicant will be evaluated individually. Research study should be of a practical nature to the practice of psychiatry and/or be of novel research value. For example, a study of blood levels and efficacy; a study of polypharmacy on drug levels in a clinical setting; a naturalistic study of side effects comparing a Japanese to a Western cohort, etc. Young psychiatrists or Ph.D.'s within one or two years of program completion may be considered. Scholastic transcripts and 2 letters of recommendations from one's current academic department are required. Telephone, Skype, and/or face-to-face interviews will be conducted.

Application Procedure

Prospective applicants should first send a summary of their academic qualifications and planned research to the Fellowship for review. If the topic is deemed appropriate and feasible by the Fellowship office, the candidate should begin to develop a detailed protocol and search for a suitable host researcher at a University or National Research Center in Japan (a literature search for topics similar to the planned research may be an effective way to find a host scientist). After making contact with the host and confirming acceptance of one's collaborative research pending receipt of the grant, an acceptance letter from the host summarizing this information, and a more thorough research protocol, should be sent to the Fellowship office for final approval review. The host's acceptance letter should include the contacts of the host, and indicate that the Fellow will be supported by the Douglas M. Berger Clinical Psychopharmacology Research Fellowship in Japan including the total amount of the support to be received from the Fellowship. This letter will be used for visa application to Japan.

Grant Format

The Douglas M. Berger Psychopharmacology Research Fellowship in Japan will provide a total of 1.0 million yen (approximately US $11,000 depending on the exchange rate) for the fellowship under the following conditions. After acceptance of the applicant, 0.5 million yen upon arrival to Japan paid to one's Japan bank account, 0.3 million yen after 3 months in Japan with a letter of Good Standing from one's host, and the final 0.2 million yen after acceptance of publication of a paper in a peer-reviewed professional journal related to the study done in Japan. It is not expected that Japanese tax will be levied on grant monies, however, the tax laws in Japan should be consulted by Fellows at the time of receipt of funds.

Although the study period in Japan is for 5 months, on agreement with the host researcher, a longer study period may be requested, or the study period may be extended mid-term assuming visa status is cleared with the Immigration Office. The grant support in these cases would still be limited to the maximum of 1.0 million yen per Fellowship. Applications for a 3 or 4 month Fellowship will be reviewed by the Fellowship office. Prorated Fellowships may be granted assuming that the study data is confirmed to be obtainable during this time period.

It is often possible for visiting researchers to obtain dormitory-style housing for the duration of the research free of charge at many Japanese Universities and Research Centers (Tokyo University is one good example). In this case, and depending on the location of the study center, it is estimated that the 1.0 million yen provided by Fellowship grant will cover one's basic living expenses for 5 months. Because the final 0.2 million yen is dependent on acceptance of publication, however, the Fellow will be required to have this amount in advance (approximately US $2,400). Up to .5 million yen (approximately US $5,500) in addition may be required by the Fellow if housing is not included at the host facility. Economy class roundtrip airfare will in addition be approximately US $1,000-$1,500 off-peak at the expense of the fellow. The grant monies herein may be combined with salary from one's residency training program and/or other supplemental research grants from the pharmaceutical industry etc.

Letters of acceptance from one's host as well as Grant letters will usually suffice for visa entry into Japan for the duration of the study period. It is assumed that the preparatory work for the research will be done before arriving to Japan, that the time in Japan will be largely dedicated to collecting data, and that the completion of any papers will be done after returning to one's home country. Follow-up visits to Japan on tourist visa stays after the Fellowship period can be made at the researcher's own cost as needed to complete research.

Collaboration with the Fellowship Office

Fellows are expected to collaborate in good faith with the Grantors at the Douglas M. Berger Psychopharmacology Research Fellowship in Japan on the general aspects of study design, methods, and interpretation of results, and a member of the Fellowship should be listed as co-author of any publications related to the research. The Fellow is expected to visit the Grantors in Tokyo soon after arriving in Japan to discuss study plans, and also after the data has been obtained and is under analysis. Papers should be sent to the Fellowship for review prior to submission for publication. A maximum of 3 additional stipends up to 100,000 yen each may be requested to the Fellowship if more than one paper is published from the research done in Japan and is accepted by a recognized peer-reviewed journal.

Douglas Berger is an American Board-Certified Psychiatrist who also has a Ph.D. in Neuropsychiatry from Tokyo University. Now based in Tokyo, Dr. Berger had been on the Faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry in New York as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. He is a long-term resident of Japan with research experience in both clinical psychiatry and clinical drug development in Japan.

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All pages copyright by Douglas Berger, M.D., Ph.D.