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Ashoka-HYI Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Ashoka-HYI Postdoctoral Fellowship in China Studies, offered jointly by Ashoka University and the Harvard-Yenching Institute (HYI) for recent PhDs in China Studies, is an opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to conduct a two-year study on China, extendable pending review and approval, under the guidance of established scholars and professors while teaching at top Indian universities. 


The fully-funded fellowship is open to scholars who have completed PhDs anytime after 2011 with a specific focus on China (utilizing Chinese language sources) across various disciplines of humanities and social science. These include, but are not limited to, anthropology, archaeology, cultural studies, economics, geography, history, international relations, language and literature, legal history, philosophy, political science, religion and sociology. 


The founding cohort of the Ashoka-HYI Postdoctoral Fellowship in China Studies will consist of as many as 10 scholars, placed across different universities within India starting from Fall 2020 semester. The fellowship will have both a research and a teaching component. The fellowship is extendable to an additional (third) year, which is conditional and based on the performance of the fellow in the first two years of the program.


Extendable Third Year

Fellows are initially selected for a period of 2 years. At the end of the second year, fellows may be offered an additional third year based on their performance in the first two years. This extension is conditional, based on the performance of the fellows in the first two years of the program. Fellows’ performance will be assessed based on the feedback from host institutions, their willingness to extend fellows’ position and the research undertaken. 


This additional third year does not mandate any teaching hours and will be focused on research. The fellows may spend this year working on and further refining their thesis including visiting China for field work.

Number of Fellows 10
Focus Areas Humanities and Social Studies with focus on China (anthropology, archaeology, cultural studies, economics, geography, history, international relations, language and literature, legal history, philosophy, political science, religion and sociology).
Funding Support

Stipend of INR 1,00,000 per month

Research award of INR 4,50,000 per annum

The stipend will be adjusted for inflation each year.


Teach -  2 courses per year at their host universities

Research - Undertake research over the fellowship period in line with their research proposal with the aim to convert their research into a book / academic paper, publish their work in leading academic journals and deliver multiple lectures on their research topic.


Fellows will be matched with academic mentors, who may not necessarily be at the same university. The mentors must be China experts and can be self-selected by the fellows. The academic mentors will guide the fellows over the two-year period with their research and give periodic feedback. 

Application timeline

Start date - February 10, 2020

Closing date - August 30, 2020

Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis. Applications for the academic year starting Fall 2020 should be submitted by March 31, 2020. 


Scholars who meet the following eligibility criteria can apply for the program:


  • Applicants should have completed their PhD by the start date of the fellowship. (If the date of conferral is after the application deadline, the application must include an institutional statement attesting that all requirements for the PhD have been fulfilled. Successful applicants will be asked to submit proof of conferral).

  • Applicants are scholars of China studies, demonstrated by the use of Chinese language sources in their research.

  • Preference may be given to Indian citizens/permanent residents. However, non-Indian citizens are highly encouraged to apply provided they are willing to make a commitment towards the development of China Studies as a discipline in India for at the least next four to five years.

  • Applicants must hold a PhD degree conferred no earlier than January 01, 2011.

  • Applicants who have obtained tenure, or whose tenure review will be complete before May 31, 2020, are not eligible.

  • Applicants should have a working knowledge of written and/or spoken Mandarin Chinese, sufficient for academic research.

  • Applicants should indicate a commitment to working in Indian academia for at least the next four to five years. 

Fellowship Timeline





Application start date

February 10, 2020


Round 1 (for Fall 2020 semester)

February 10, 2020 to March 31, 2020


Interviews of round 1 applicants (for Fall 2020 semester)

April 01, 2020 to April 15, 2020


Application closing date

August 30, 2020


Start of semester

July-September 2020


First review

September 2021


Final presentation

September 2022


Note: The applications for the Ashoka-HYI Fellowship will be assessed on a rolling basis. For applicants who apply after March 31, 2020, the same selection process will be followed. The dates for the next round of interviews will be released post March 31, 2020. 


Fellowship Committee

The fellows will be guided and mentored by a Fellowship Committee. The Committee will also be responsible for selecting the fellows, monitoring the progress of their research, providing periodic feedback, and helping disseminate the information.


The members for the Fellowship Committee for Founding Cohort of Ashoka-HYI Postdoctoral Fellowship in China Studies are:


Selection Process

The applications for the Ashoka-HYI Fellowship would be assessed on a rolling basis.


Round 1

The applicant will be expected to apply through an application form which will include:

  • Statement of intent detailing the applicant’s interest in China and the relevance of their research to China Studies or India–China comparative studies,

  • Details of applicant’s academic background, qualifications, and work experience,

  • Preliminary research proposal on how they wish to conduct research over two years.

Interviews of round 1 applicants

  • Applicant will be invited for an interview with the Fellowship Committee.

  • Applicant will be interviewed by a Fellowship Committee. The Committee will assess the applicant based on their commitment to pursuing China Studies academically, their potential to participate in building China Studies centers, and their intent to contribute to Indian academia.

  • At this stage, partner institutions will also review profiles of the potential fellows to approve final selection.

Expectations from fellows
  • Fellows will be required to create the course curriculum in consultation with the host institution. The teaching hours will be limited to not more than 5 hours per teaching week. 

  • Fellows are expected to convert their research into a book / academic papers, publish their work in leading academic journals and deliver multiple lectures on their research topic. Ashoka will help disseminate the research work.

  • Fellows are expected to help the university in its long-term strategy for implementing China Studies programs.

  • Fellows will be reviewed on their progress at the end of every year. The review shall be conducted by their supervisors and mentors, along with the Fellowship Committee.

  • At the end of the Fellowship period, fellows will be expected to present their research to a larger audience of China experts, their mentors, senior faculty from partner universities, students and other scholars of China.

Host Institutions

Ashoka University is working to partner with top Indian universities and institutions, both public and private, that are committed to building China Studies as a thriving inter-disciplinary field. We shall be releasing the list of our host institutions soon.


The Ashoka-HYI Postdoctoral Fellowship will serve as a platform for creation of China studies as a program at the host institution. This would lead to the creation of a culture of research on China at the institution, and help the students develop a deeper understanding of China. The development of China studies as a discipline would also be supplemented with language programs as well, details of which would be available soon on Ashoka University's website.