Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

1. What is the motivation behind the grants?

The Global Grants for Gut Health aim to support scientific research into the human gut microbiota. The programme will fund research that develops new insights, data and methodologies with the ultimate goal of advancing the understanding of the impact of the gut microbiota on human health.

2. How are Yakult and Nature Portfolio involved?

The Global Grants for Gut Health are supported through a partnership between Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd. and Nature Portfolio, part of Springer Nature Ltd. Grant funding is provided by Yakult. Nature Portfolio administers and promotes the programme.

Nature Portfolio has convened a panel of internationally renowned researchers in human microbiota to review proposals and make funding decisions. Yakult and Nature Portfolio employees will have no influence over funding decisions.

3. Who can apply?

Applicants should be employed by a university, research institute or any other not-for-profit organisation. Applicants must hold a doctorate or medical degree (e.g., PhD, MD, PharmD) and have at least five years’ postdoctoral research experience.

The awards are global, so applicants can be of any nationality and projects can be hosted at eligible organisations in any country apart from Burma/Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria or where otherwise prohibited or restricted by law as updated from time to time.

The programme is open to applicants from all scientific disciplines.

4. What are the assessment criteria?

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria, as explained in more details in the For applicants section:

  • Quality and originality of the science
  • Potential impact (both scientifically and socially)
  • Quality of the applicant / team and value for money
  • Focus on mechanism of action

5. How will proposals be assessed?

Proposals will first be evaluated by scientific peer reviewers on the basis of the originality and scientific quality of the project. A shortlist of proposals will then be assessed by an independent, expert panel on the basis of all four of the above criteria. The panel comprises internationally renowned researchers in human gut microbiota from across the world.

Panel members will review shortlisted proposals individually ahead of a meeting of the full panel to discuss the merits of proposals in detail. The panel will then decide which proposals to fund.

Yakult and Nature Portfolio employees will have no influence over funding decisions.

6. How do I apply?

Applicants need to complete their application via the Nature Portfolio portal on the Submittable platform. Submittable is a user-friendly electronic submission management system used for all of Nature Portfolio’s grants and awards programmes

7. What do I need to include in my application?

Applicants need to complete their application via the Submittable system. As part of their application, applicants will be required to complete a Research Proposal, and to upload a Budget and the CVs of team members. Applicants will also need to include details of an authorised Signing Official at the lead institution. Full details are available in For applicants section.

8. Can I include co-investigators?

Yes. Applications can be from single investigators or from teams of investigators. It should be clear what each investigator is contributing to the research. The grant is led by the Applicant - who will act as the principal investigator - and held by the Applicant’s organisation.

9. What is the value and duration of grants?

Grants will be of up to $100,000 for the direct costs of research and will last up to 12 months. Applicants may apply for an additional 10% of the direct costs of research to cover organisational overheads.

10. What can I use the funding for?

Grants should be used to fund research activities. Grants cannot be used to cover other activities such as training, education, network-building and commercial development.

Funding will cover the direct costs of doing research. These are costs incurred directly in the performance of a research project (e.g., salaries, research costs, travel, publication, ethical approval and licences, consultancy and subcontracting).

Funding may also be used to cover indirect and overhead costs, as explained below.

11. How should I handle indirect costs?

Indirect or overhead costs are ongoing costs associated with running a university, research organisation, laboratory, etc. These costs would be incurred whether or not a particular project is taking place. Such costs may include administration, maintaining buildings, marketing and so on.

Applicants should factor in any indirect or overhead costs in relation to their application. While applicants may apply for an additional amount equivalent to 10% of the direct costs of research to cover their indirect costs, if required by their institution, they should note that ‘value for money’ is one of the assessment criteria to be taken into account by the panel.

12. Can I apply for more than $100,000?

Yes, applicants can apply for up to 10% of the direct costs to cover indirect and overhead costs as noted above.

13. Who is responsible for ethical approval?

Grant holders are responsible for obtaining all the necessary licences and approvals. These do not need to be in place at the time of application but they will need to be obtained before the project starts.

14. How many grants will you fund?

Three awards will be made in each funding cycle. The number of awards may change subject to demand and the quality of applications.

15. What is the deadline for applications?

Each year the deadline for applications change, please visit the homepage to find the most recent date for the current application period.

16. When can I expect to hear whether I have been successful?

It is anticipated that administrative, review and decision-making processes will take a maximum of four months from the closing date of the application window. Applicants will be notified if there are any unforeseen delays to the process.

17. Who owns the results of the research?

The results of the research and any associated intellectual assets rest with the university or research organisation that generated them. Organisations should manage the outputs of research funded under the scheme to maximise potential benefits.

18. Will the results be published in a Springer Nature journal?

Grant recipients are free to publish their results in the journals they deem most appropriate. There is no expectation or requirement that research will be published in a journal owned or managed by Springer Nature. Where papers are submitted to Springer Nature journals, they will be subjected to the same editorial and review processes and standards as any other submission.

19. What level of reporting is required?

Grant holders are required to submit mid-term and final reports. Full details are available in For applicants.

20. What else is expected of grant holders?

Grant holders are expected to participate in promotional activities relating to the grant that may be organised by Yakult and Nature Portfolio.

Grant holders should acknowledge support received through the programme in publications and other forms of communication including press releases.

Grant holders will be interviewed by Nature Portfolio as part of a series of Q&A articles about funded projects.

Yakult and Nature Portfolio will periodically hold symposia, usually aligned with a relevant conference, to bring grant holders together and to showcase research funded under the programme. Grant holders should make every effort to attend these meetings in order to present their findings.

21. Will I receive feedback on my proposal?

Due to the anticipated volume of applications, it will not be possible to provide detailed feedback on unsuccessful applications.

22. If I am unsuccessful, can I resubmit my proposal?

No. All submissions should be original.

23. Who can I contact if I have further questions?

Please contact the grant administrator by email at