At least four national universities plan to apply for a ¥10 trillion ($79 billion) fund established by the government to bring institutions up to par with the world's top universities, a recent Kyodo News survey showed.

Tohoku University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Nagoya University and Osaka University intend to apply for the funds, established as part of the government's efforts to promote science and technology in Japan.

Twenty-seven other institutions, including the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, said they were considering applying, but the number may rise after further details of the selection process are released.