Ocean Shot: Call for Applications

*The application deadline has passed*   Revised: 2023.08.02

1. Call for Applications

Exciting new discoveries decrease by the year as the world seems to be now thoroughly investigated, with applied and practical research taking the lead as a result. However, we are just beginning to understand the ocean, which could be called the last frontier for discovery. Ocean Shot* will provide large-scale support for research leading to discoveries from two perspectives. 
*The “Moonshot” concept of research and development programs underway in Japan, like the 1960s Apollo moon landing project, calls for the large-scale mobilization of resources and innovations for the achievement of a specific goal, and is characterized by daring research based on bold ideas. The current research grant was established as the ocean version of the Moonshot concept.

(1) New Discoveries of Marine Species or Ecologies and their Functions

 In the ocean, new species are being discovered every year. Newly discovered marine organisms range widely across microorganisms, fish, and marine mammals, with a new species of the large baleen whale being discovered this century by Japanese researchers. While species classification has been a field for which funding has been difficult to obtain, it is the basis for the biological sciences. There are many marine organisms whose existence is known but still veiled in mystery. We encourage researchers to solve the various riddles surrounding such organisms, especially concerning their distribution, reproduction, development, ecology, life-stories, and evolution.  
 We also welcome discoveries focusing on biodiversity and ecosystems, including aspects of their flora and fauna. We hope you will discover new functions and mechanisms among systems formed out of the complicated interweaving and balance of diverse organisms, as seen in coral reefs, or in systems on which our knowledge has made little progress, such deep seabed fauna, etc.
 We include in the research focus those organisms that have only recently become extinct as well as those species that disappeared in ancient or even primeval times. For example, the ten-ton Steller’s sea cow is thought to have been hunted to extinction in the 18th century. Using modern technology, it is possible to digitally recreate the life-histories of extinct animals. We look forward to new discoveries about the ecology of sea animals from the past.

(2) New technologies or data science that facilitate ocean discoveries

 New technologies and their combinations are effective in making new discoveries. Steady progress is also being made in analytical techniques capable of revealing phenomena previously buried under mountains of data. Mankind has sent space probes to the moon and Mars, making detailed maps possible, but the topography of the world’s oceans is still inadequately known. Also, the monitoring and sampling activities under high-pressure conditions is far more difficult than on land and development costs for equipment are prohibitive. As the collected data is preserved in minute detail, efforts must be made for its cross-sectoral use. If big data can be obtained, there is still the task of discovering within it what is of value in deepening our understanding of the ocean. For the discovery, in a timely manner, of the various phenomena and functions to be found in a dynamically changing ocean, the current level of our technologies is insufficient. We welcome your proposals for developing new technologies that facilitate ocean discoveries.

2. Qualifications for Application

Representative research organization

  1. To achieve the above objectives, the applicant must be capable of organizing a team from one or more research organizations
  2. As a rule, the organization must be a non-profit
  3. Applicant must be able to manage progress of all aspects of the joint research team’s research
  4. Applicant must have capacity to manage research funds
  5. In cases of joint application, applicant must be capable of allocating budgets to joint representative research organizations (remittances) and compiling a financial report for the whole research team

Joint research organization

  1. Must have capacity to manage research progress on assigned project
  2. Must have capacity to manage allocated research funds

Applicants should keep in mind that it is desirable to include in the project either (1) (a) person(s) (regardless of nationality) affiliated with organizations from Japan (their status as for-profit, non-profit, or research-oriented organizations need not be considered) or (2) (a) Japanese person(s) affiliated with (an) overseas organization(s).

3. Research Objectives

In line with the stated purpose of the current research grant, only research and development objectives that meet the following criteria will be considered.

  1. Discovery of new marine organisms or ecologies and their functions
  2. New technologies or data science that facilitate discoveries in the ocean

4. Grant Scheme

This research grant project will be administered over a period divided into three Phases (1st Phase, 2nd Phase, 3rd Phase). The 1st Phase will extend from November 2023 to the end of March 2025, the 2nd Phase from April 2025 to the end of March 2026, and the 3rd Phase from April 2026 to the end of March 2027.
We plan to accept new applications only through the current Call for Applications. As each Proper Project is completed within the Phase, it will be evaluated, and after examination a decision will be made as to its adoption for the next Phase or regarding its budget and allocations. For research projects accepted as Feasibility Study (FS) projects to progress to the 2nd Phase, an Interim Report on research results must be submitted in the latter half of the 1st Phase and be favorably evaluated by the Evaluation Committee.  Applications for FS alone will not be accepted.

5. Term for Current Call for Applications

Beginning: from November 1st 2023
Ending: March 31st 2027 (in case the project continues until the end of the 3rd Phase)

6. The Upper Limit of the Grant Amount

The upper limit of the grant amount for a single Proper Project, at a maximum length of 3 years and 5 months (from Phase 1 to Phase 3), will be US$3,000,000 in total. This is the total for the duration of all the Phases and includes any indirect expenses incurred. We plan to accept three to four Proper Project proposals. There is a possibility that Feasibility Studies (FS) will only be accepted in the 1st Phase, and the upper limit for the FS grants will be US$300,000.
As a result of the Evaluation, adoption may be at a lesser Grant amount than at the time of application.

7. Applicable Expenses (examples for reference)

Facility feesExperimental facilities, etc.
Leasing feesBoat chartering, etc.
Equipment feesPurchase of equipment for experiments, etc.
Tools, apparatus costsPurchase of tools, apparatus, etc., necessary for research
Materials costPurchase of materials necessary for research
User costsData use costs
Programming costsAcquisition of software, etc.
Direct personnel costsLabor costs for technicians and researchers, based on the extent of their direct involvement in the research
Outsourced work costsOutsourcing costs for certain project tasks, such as scientific surveys, translations, etc.
Travel expensesCosts for travel directly associated with the research
Miscellaneous expensesExpenses of small amounts exclusive of the above categories
Overhead costsExpenses associated with research for management by research institutions.
The estimate of the outsource vendor should be compiled and attached as a separate document. The currency used in the representative organization’s estimate and that in the outsource vendor’s estimate should be made the same, either US Dollars or Japanese Yen, and they should be included in a single document.

8. Application Requirements

Period for acceptance of applications: applications will be received from 9:00am on Thursday, June 1, 2023 to 5:00pm on Tuesday, August 15, 2023 (Japan time) *The application deadline has passed*. If a confirmation email is not received within few days after application is made, please contact us.
Application procedure: Download the application files (shown below), fill in all necessary sections and send the files attached to an email to (all texts should be in  English).

Application forms (zip file, 61.3kB)

9. Selection Process and Notification of Result

August 15, 2023: deadline for submission of applications
Mid-September 2023: Notification of results of preliminary screening
October 2023: Interviews by Selection Committee and notification of results
November 2023: Beginning of grant
Please know that responses will not be made to enquiries regarding adoption or non-adoption of proposals before notification of results.

10. Conditions and Other Important Matters

There are several conditions and other important matters concerning implementation of the grant project. Please take careful note of the following at the time of application.


1) Regarding Observance of the Grant Contract
Once a decision is made regarding the grant project proposal, a Grant Contract with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation will be concluded. Please observe all stipulations of the Grant Contract, as any actions in violation of it could result in a demand for return of grant funds. Also, please be aware that there is a Duty of Due Care for five years after conclusion of the grant project for all documents related to the project or articles acquired thereby.

2) Grant Reference
On the release of scientific papers or in other presentations, acknowledgement must be made of the support received. Reference to the grant must appear in a form to be determined by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

3) Interim and Final Report (Notice of Project Completion)
Grantees shall submit Interim Report for administrative purposes (including income and expenditure statements) to the Foundation by the dates determined in the Agreement. A Final Report for administrative purposes (including income and expenditure statements) must be submitted within 15 days of the project’s completion.

4) Audit and Project Assessment *Revised August 2, 2023
Audits of the research contents and research funds will be carried out after completion of each phase. Also, in the interest of better implementation of future projects, a project assessment will be carried out. Result of the audits and project assessments will appear on the website.

5) Regarding the Handling of Personal Information
The personal information submitted during the application process will be used by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, in accordance with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation Personal Information Protection Policy, for administrative purposes, calls for grant submissions, advertisements of Sasakawa Peace Foundation related events, the conducting of surveys, and various announcements.

6) Release of Research Results
Upon completion of the Report on research results (in English), it will appear on the website in a timely manner.

7) Intellectual Property Matters
The Foundation requires advance notice of any transfer or formation of intellectual property rights for five years from the completion of the research.

8)  Budget Plan *Added August 2, 2023
After the proposal is accepted, the applicant is required to resubmit the budget plan (Excel file) for the first Phase in two separate sheets, one for November 2023 to the end of March 2023 and the other for April 2023 to the end of March 2024.

11. Contact

The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Mail: dedicated Grant Project address:
* Please consult FAQs bellow before making direct enquiries.

FAQ: 2023.05.17 version
FAQ (additional): 2023.08.02 version

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