The Spring Program for Future Scientists

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  • Schedule
  • Outlines
  • Next Steps

Features of The Program

The Manai Spring Program 2020 is one-of-a-kind science program for junior high and high school students. The participants will learn science and research through a hands-on research project and engaging workshops during the Program. The participants immersing themselves deeply into the world of science in a diverse community of peers and Mentors, will give them life changing experiences.

Research Project

In Manai, we believe that we most effectively learn and thrive by working on our own research projects. Participants will choose and work on a research project designed by Research Mentors with 2 or 3 other teammates. Through this research project, the participants will be able to acquire essential and general research skills and scientific methods in addition to a deep understanding of the chosen subject. The participants can build a solid foundation to be a future scientist and researcher.

Examples of Research Projects:

Ex 1.
The Travelling Salesman Problem
Field: Computer Science / Graph Theory
The travelling salesman problem (TSP) asks the following question: “Given a set of cities and the distances between them, what is the shortest route that visits each city once and goes back to the starting point?” The answer can be found by brute force: i.e., checking all possible round-trip routes to find the shortest one. However, as the number of cities increases, the number of possible routes grows beyond the computational capabilities of most computers. The challenge is therefore to find an algorithm to solve the problem efficiently. Over the years the TSP has been used as a benchmark for the efficiency of optimisation algorithms. And practical applications of the TSP are present in our daily lives: e.g., whenever we ask a phone app to give us the shortest or fastest route to our destination, or order a product online to be delivered to us. The goal of this project is to study some of the existing TSP algorithms, and write a computer program, which solves a logistics or planning related problem via a TSP solution.
Ex 2.
Understanding the rubber hand illusion
Field: Neuroscience / Psychology
The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is commonly used in neuroscience and psychology to investigate how our brain uses our senses to determine body ownership (e.g. knowing that this is my hand, knowing that it is my leg that is moving). In the RHI, participants watch a rubber (or any fake) hand being stroked, while their own hand is simultaneously stroked in the same way. After a period of repeated strokes, participants will start to perceive that the rubber hand has become part of their own body (i.e. they believe the fake hand is actually one of their own hands). Amazingly, some studies have even shown that under the right conditions, the same illusion can be induced with objects such as a piece of wood (i.e. they believe the piece of wood is part of their body!). The mechanisms of how the RHI occurs or why some people feel the illusion strongly or not at all are still not well understood. This experiment will investigate the different parameters (e.g. types of objects, colours, sensory stimulation etc.) on the strength of the RHI to better understand what combination of sensory information is used by the brain to encode self-ownership.

Workshops expose the participants to a large variety of topics in science, widening the participants’ perspectives and stimulate curiosity. Some of the workshops focus on particular research skills that help the research project and future research. Workshops will be delivered by the Manai Research Mentors and also other researchers from surrounding laboratories or universities around Tokyo.

Some of the past workshops:

  • Introduction to Python Programming / Field: Computer Science
  • Experiment to Clarify Gut Innate Immunity / Field: Cell Biology
  • The Amazing World of Very Low Temperature / Field: Physics
  • Science and Communication / Field: Essential Research Skill
  • Experimental Design Workshop / Field: Essential Research Skill

Our research-driven Program is created and facilitated by experienced Research Mentors. The Research Mentors are science educators and researchers at top institutes from all over the world. The Research Mentors will guide the research project and support the learning experiences at Manai. This Program allows direct interaction and work closely with the active researchers who explore cutting-edge sciences. The Research Mentors will show the path of joy and wonders of science.

Alexander Tang
Alex Tang
B.Sc.(pharmacology and neuroscience) and PhD (neuroscience) from the University of Western Australia (UWA). After working in Japan for 2 years as a Research Scientist, Alex returned to Australia where he holds a combined lecturing and research position at UWA. Alex’s research interests centre around the physiological mechanisms of neuroplasticity in the young and ageing brain, as well as experimental methods (e.g. brain stimulation) to induce neuroplasticity for the treatment of neurological disorders or brain injury. Outside of work, Alex likes to play badminton and video games.
Cristina Valle
Cristina Valle
University Lecturer; Mathematics Consultant for an IT company. Ph.D. in Mathematics and Information Science from Tokyo Metropolitan University, M.S. in Mathematics from University of Turin. For her Ph.D., Cristina specialised in Algebraic Geometry, with a focus on plane curve singularities. In her spare time, Cristina enjoys hiking and rock climbing.
Stephen Lee
Stephen Lee
B.Sc. (Biomedical Engineering) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.S. (Biomedical Engineering) from Columbia University in the City of New York. Stephen is currently working to complete his Ph.D. at Columbia University, where he is developing new non-invasive technologies for modulation of neural activity. His research interests include using engineering and computational techniques to study sensory perceptions and how we can use devices to alter seemingly harmful signals in such cases as chronic pain. In addition to research, Stephen enjoys hip hop dancing and photography.
Fred Junghans
Fred Junghans
B.Sc./M.Sc. in Biochemistry from MLU Halle/Wittenberg. Fred’s main expertise in research is molecular biology and oncology. At the University, his research focused mainly on RNA-biology and microRNAs in the context of cancer progression. Besides research, he has gathered extensive experience in private tutoring of Japanese students in science and English. On the side, Fred is interested in kickboxing, yoga and all sorts of crafts.
Manai’s Diversity & Community

Manai is a diverse and international community of people from various backgrounds and specialities. We believe it is the peers and Mentors that bring about true learning experiences. Over the past eight Seasonal Programs, we have gathered about 200 students from 18 different countries. Our mission is to foster and nurture our Learning Community of many students and researchers all around the world.



Day0: 24th March*Students Arrival
Day1: 25th MarchOrientation / Workshops
Group work everyday
Other programs will include the following:
-Cutting-edge research
*Day4: We are planning a field trip
Day2: 26th March
Day3: 27th March
Day4: 28th March
Day5: 29th March
Day6: 30th March
Day7: 31st MarchPresentation
Day8: 1st April*Students Departure
  • Arrival & Departure Details: Here
  • Schedule is subject to change.
  • Contents of workshops/experiments are to be announced at a later date.
Arrival & Departure Details

Every participant will book their transportation to Tokyo by themselves. As a guideline, we ask all the participants to arrive at the accommodation between 5pm-9pm on March 24th. (Check-in time is from 5pm.)

Based on the participants’ request, we will pick-up and drop-off the participants as follows.

  • Meeting / Drop off Point: Haneda airport and Tokyo station
  • Manai staff will be welcoming/seeing-off the participants from 12pm(noon) to 6pm on March 24th / April 1st(JST)
  • Please DO NOT take the flight arriving/departing at midnight or early morning. We will not be able to accommodate participants regarding these flights.
  • For further details, participants will be informed after the confirmation of his/ her participation.

Outline of The Program

DateMarch 25th, 2020 – March 31st, 2020 (7days)
*Please also check the Arrival & Departure Details: here.
LocationManai Tokyo Base @ Ichigaya (Map)
AccommodationFirst Cabin TKP Ichigaya
*Business Cabin
Target Ages14 to 17 year old (9 to 12 grade) as of April 1st, 2020
Participation Fee230,000 JPY
(Including: program fee, accommodation fee, meals and insurance)
*Additional bank transaction fee may apply.
*The insurance basically covers accidental injury during the program, but not for sickness such as cold and rash etc…
ScholarshipScholarships will be provided for a few students who excel as a result of the document and the interview screening. The scholarship will NOT cover the airfare or transportation to/from Japan.
  • English proficiency to participate in lectures
  • Motivated and able to participate in all the Programs
  • Passionate about science and/or research
  • Have communication and teamwork skills
OrganizerManai Enterprise Inc.

Application Steps & Procedures of The Participation

Please register through this form (please answer everything in English)

Application has been closed.

If you pass the document screening, there will be an online interview.
The online interview will be conducted through the application called Zoom.
Scheduling of the interview will be coordinated with the student.
The result will be notified by November 30th, 2019. (For the second round: December 20th)
We will also inform you of the participation fee transfer information and the Letter of Consent.
Confirm your participation by paying the participation fee.
The due date for the payment will be within 10 days after informing the screening result.
We will also need a participation agreement with a parent/guardian’s signature on the Letter of Consent.
*The scholarshipped students will confirm their participation only with the Letter of Consent.
Based on the Arrival & Departure Details, you will book and confirm your flight to/from Tokyo.
For the students who are required a VISA to come to Japan, we will provide documents to apply once the fights are booked.