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China-India Visiting Scholars Fellows

Ashoka University is delighted to announce the second year of the China-India Virtual Scholars (CIVS) Fellowship! Designed to be a visiting fellowship, we are adapting the program this year to provide our fellows with the same exposure and engagement, albeit online keeping in mind continuing travel restrictions and Covid-19 concerns.


The CIVS Fellowship is an opportunity for academics, policy experts, and professionals who are interested in expanding their current research to include China and Taiwan. The theme for our second year is ‘Economic and Development,’ including but not limited to areas spanning public finance, education, environment and climate, public health, urbanization, and labor economics. The fellowship is funded by Ashoka University and will provide up to 20 Indian scholars each year the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of China and Taiwan’s development experience across various fields. 


Today, the world is faced with an unprecedented challenge. Covid-19 has affected us all in an unexpected and difficult way. However, it has also reinforced our belief in fostering deeper knowledge within Asia and the world. The current global situation is a stark reminder of how interconnected our world is. We are committed now, more than ever, to study other countries and understand them. We believe that in the 21st century, India needs to invest in its ability to understand its neighbors in order to grow and prosper. Both India and China, with their massive populations, economies, and environmental impacts, have outsized effects on the trajectory of global affairs. If there were a prime moment for India to invest in its ability to understand China better, this would be it.


China continues to play an important role in the region. It is imperative that we study it to understand its economic, political, social, and historical conditions to support and enhance continued engagement. Countries in the region have had their development journey shaped due to China's influence. Therefore, this year we will be accepted proposals that look beyond China and at other countries that fall within China's sphere of influence. Up to two fellows can be supported who look beyond China and Taiwan.


The funding is made entirely by Ashoka University. Please note, the fellowship is not funded by any Chinese institution or individual. The application for CIVS will be live soon and announced on this page.

Meet our Fellows 2020-21

The fellowship is open to scholars and professionals

  • who have completed their PhD or have a Master’s with at least 3 years of work experience.

  • whose area of specialization is Economics and Development (related to the above-mentioned fields).

  • who are Indian nationals or hold an OCI/ PIO card.

Please note

  • Applicants do not require China experience, be experts in China studies, or have working knowledge of Mandarin.

  • This fellowship is not open to students.

Application Timeline

The fellowship runs for 9 months, beginning May to beginning February. 


The application will be live in January 2021 and will be open until 11:55pm (IST) on March 15, 2021. Upon receiving the application, shortlisted candidates will be invited to a two-part interview with two scholars or policy experts between March 22 and April 9. The fellows will be announced in the following week. 


The application requires you to submit a research proposal (up to 1,000 words) and answer questions related to your area of research and proposal. Additionally, you will have to submit details about your potential collaborator as well as a letter of intent from the collaborator themselves or their institution. We would urge you to find a collaborator prior to submitting your application. If you are unable to find one until the deadline of March 15, you can indicate that you require help. Ashoka University will share your proposal with scholars who could be potential collaborators, but this process does not guarantee a match. Selection into the program is contingent on a collaborator being on board.


There is no visit component in the fellowship for 2021 and you are not expected to submit a travel plan alongside your proposal. However, if the global situation changes and travel becomes possible, we will be willing to make exceptions for fellows whose collaborator can host them and have no health concerns. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and Ashoka University will provide additional funding for the travel. Details of the travel will be determined based on the fellow’s research plan, arrangement with the collaborator, and the mentor’s approval, after the fellowship has commenced.


Fellows have to conduct their research with a collaborator who has working knowledge on China in the same area that the fellow is studying. The collaborator can be geographically located within China, or in the Southeast Asian regions provided that they are experts on China in the area of research the fellow is studying. 


The collaborator may provide logistical support to the fellow and connect them to additional institutions and individuals who would help bolster the fellow's research. The fellow may participate in virtual conferences, seminars, guest lectures, and any other activity that the collaborator would have arranged for them.  


Applicants have the option to submit their proposals with a letter of intent from a potential collaborator. Applicants who do not have a potential collaborator can indicate so in their application, and Ashoka University will provide support to find one for them. Please note that in case there is no viable collaborator at the time of the start of the fellowship, the application will be nullified. There will be no exceptions.


Ashoka University does not have any institutional partner in China nor are there any MOUs signed with any organization. 


We do not expect our fellows to have working knowledge of China. Therefore, we feel it is important for our fellows to be connected with an expert who is well versed with the topic that the fellow is exploring and can guide them periodically on their progress. The mentor will be assigned to the fellow once they have been accepted into the program. 


The fellow will have monthly check-ins with their mentor. While the level of engagement may differ for each fellow and their mentor, we do not expect our fellow to rely heavily on their mentor and to be able to carry out their research independently. 


The mentors will be chosen from the Fellowship Committee, who will be announced shortly. Previous mentors and Fellowship Committee members have included:

  • Yamini Aiyar, President of the Centre for Policy Research, Delhi

  • Zorawar Daulet Singh, Founder of the Northcap University, Gurugram

  • Jabin Jacob, Associate Professor at Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida

  • T. N. Ninan, Chairman of Business Standard Pvt. Ltd., Delhi

  • Shamika Ravi, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, Washington D.C.

  • Rathin Roy, Managing Director of the Overseas Development Institute, London and former Director of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Delhi

  • Shekhar Shah, Director-General of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)

  • Aravind Yelery, Fellow at the HSBC Business School at Peking University, Shenzhen

Expectations and Outcomes

All funding is provided by Ashoka University; there is no funding by any Chinese institution or individual.


The research is supported through a fellowship grant of a maximum amount of INR 2,00,000. The arrangement with each collaborator will depend on the nature of the fellow’s research plan and project, but broadly it is expected that:

  • The fellow works and conducts their research with a counterpart who has working knowledge of the topic vis-à-vis China.

  • The fellow works towards a scholarly product, which could be either a working paper or a detailed report.

  • The fellow will give at least one public lecture in India on their findings.

Fellows will be expected to attend the workshop on Research Methods in China held in Delhi in April. Additionally, the fellowship will culminate in a conference, where all fellows and their research partner will present their findings. 


The China-India Visiting Scholars Fellowship can be combined with additional grants. The fellow has the flexibility to continue with their current work engagement while pursuing this fellowship, provided their home institution allows this.