OIST is looking for a Research Assistant to support the latest research at our interdisciplinary center for scientific innovation.


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United World, Inc., which provides global human resources search and matching services with the aim of creating a "world where anyone can work anywhere," conducts interviews with leading companies in various industries for the purpose of introducing them to our readers.


This time we focus on the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), a "hub of scientific innovation" established in 2011 by the Japanese government to foster the next generation of scientists and contribute to Okinawa's technological innovation and economic development.


We asked Mr. Ito, the Human Resources and Recruitment Manager, to tell us about its features and attractions.

Summary of interview

Established in Okinawa in 2011 by the Japanese government as a "hub for scientific innovation
The center offers a five-year doctoral program that attracts researchers and students from more than 60 countries and regions, and approximately 90 research units (research groups) that conduct creative, high-quality research across disciplinary boundaries.
The Research Unit Administrator (RUA) position is a general assistant position for each unit (research group).
Paid vacations, summer vacation, and year-end and New Year vacations are available. On-campus childcare center exclusively for staff members
Educational opportunities to support personal development

What is the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)?

Established by the Japanese government in 2011, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is a pioneering graduate university offering a coherent five-year doctoral program in science and engineering, and is a center of innovation that welcomes outstanding researchers from Japan and abroad to conduct cross-disciplinary research.

Image: The main campus located in Onna Village, Kunigami-gun. The open and free research environment that takes advantage of the natural topography is supported by many researchers (courtesy of OIST).

It aims to explore new frontiers and contribute to the advancement of science and technology around the world, while fostering the next generation of scientists and contributing to technological innovation and economic development in Okinawa.


More than half of the faculty and students come from more than 50 countries around the world, making it a very international and diverse environment.


Image: On-campus view (courtesy of OIST)

OIST Characteristics

All education and research is conducted in English
A governance structure modeled after international best practices that is unique in Japan
Interdisciplinary approach to education and research
An international and diverse faculty, administrative and student community where English is the common language
Ample funding for education and research
Faculty independence and research freedom
Willingness to contribute to Okinawa's economic development

What is a Research Unit Administrator (RUA)?

OIST's graduate education and research program is an interdisciplinary program that conducts cutting-edge research in the life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and other areas of science and technology.


Currently, more than 90 research units are conducting research activities in eight areas: physics, chemistry, neuroscience, marine science, environmental and ecological science, mathematical and computational science, engineering and applied science, and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, and students are free to choose which units to join.


One of the positions we are currently actively recruiting for is that of Research Unit Administrator (RUA).


RUAs can be translated as "research assistants," but this is a comprehensive position that is not bound by conventional boundaries, as it involves working in a research unit and providing a variety of administrative support as a member of a team while being involved in world-class research. This is a comprehensive position that is not bound by existing boundaries. The University currently has 65 RUAs working in this position.


The main duties of the Research Unit Administrator include

Schedule management, travel and invitation arrangements, budget management, procurement of research equipment and supplies, reimbursement administration, etc.
Management, operation, and logistic arrangements for events such as workshops and seminars
Administrative work related to the Visiting Researcher Program, which invites researchers from Japan and overseas for long-term visits
Administrative work related to the handling of external funds
Daily bilingual support (translation and interpretation)
Recruitment-related administrative work, including job postings and interview arrangements
Assistance in preparation of annual reports, compilation of article data, and website management
Other office work, including support for the academic supervisor's office in charge of faculty members

Characteristics of active staff

Image: Staff and students (courtesy of OIST)

First of all, the position is a good fit for those who are fluent in English or have work experience using English, as the job uses both Japanese and English. RUAs are expected to belong to a specific unit, communicate with researchers and students, and provide full support for research activities. They are expected to communicate with researchers and students in a particular unit and provide full support for research activities.


To make the unit run more smoothly, I think it will be important for RUAs to work on their own, taking into account what is needed ahead of time, rather than just working after someone tells them what to do.


In addition to routine work, RUAs are also in a position where they often work at their own discretion. If you have the perseverance to steadily work on your tasks by allocating time and the resourcefulness to calmly respond to irregularities, I believe you will be able to make the most of your strengths.


Our university is a diverse and very flat organization with people from a truly diverse range of countries.


If you like interacting with people from different backgrounds, I think you will enjoy your work. Of course, there are also people who joined TUAT because they like Okinawa or want to work in Okinawa.

Image: On-campus view (courtesy of OIST)


Training and Evaluation System









Image: Staff and students (courtesy of OIST)

Work style and benefits

We have a flexible work schedule with core hours (core hours: 10:00-15:00). Other hours can be flexibly adjusted to suit your own schedule. In addition, you can work remotely from home up to 8 times a month.


The University also offers paid vacations and summer and New Year's vacation time. In addition to being able to take vacations very easily according to your own schedule, you can take 7 days of summer vacation from July to September, in addition to paid vacations.

Long vacations are also relatively easy to take; for example, anyone can go abroad for two weeks.


In addition, a day-care center (Child Development Center) for students and staff is located on campus, where children up to elementary school age can receive childcare services according to their age and month.


Many employees leave their children here when they go to work and return home together after work. This is an environment that is friendly to those who are raising children.


Main benefits

Relocation allowance, housing allowance, commuting allowance (fixed amount depending on regulations)
Annual paid vacations, summer vacation
Private School Mutual Aid 
Child Development Center
School Education Information
Japanese/English language classes (available for staff)
Resource Center (support for daily life in Okinawa)

Note: Information is current at the time of the interview.


Image: On-campus view (courtesy of OIST)

Image: On-campus view (courtesy of OIST)

Future Outlook

One of the university's goals is to increase the number of research units from the current 91 to 100 by 2026, and to further expand the scale to about 300 units in the future.


In addition, we would like to strengthen our partnerships with companies in various fields, and to intensify our efforts to translate our research results into practical applications.


As our business expands, it is only natural that the number of workers will increase, but it is not always possible to obtain sufficient human resources in proportion to the scale of our business.


In order to maintain a healthy working environment on campus, I feel that we must focus more on recruitment activities in the future. We would like to improve efficiency by closely examining our daily operations and utilizing areas that can be automated.

Image: Collaboration with TED, a world-renowned conference (courtesy of OIST)

Message to future colleagues

To be an employee of the University is to be part of an international academia.

I believe that you will be able to encounter and discover things you have never encountered before in a rich natural environment and in a highly diverse culture where people respect each other.


There is also a great possibility that you will have the exciting experience of having the research you are involved in recognized around the world and having an impact on the world.


I think that the job of RUA, the location of Okinawa, and the latest research are all good starting points.

If you are at all interested in our university, please do not hesitate to consider applying. Why not make this a constructive opportunity to talk directly with us and see if a job at our university is really a good match for you?

Image: On-campus view (courtesy of OIST)


Working at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, where you can use English and be a part of international academia. I was impressed by his words, "Even if it is a small thing, the work I do will contribute to the development of research and R&D.

This is a very attractive environment for those who want to build their own career in an international academic environment.

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