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ASIA (Asian Studies in Asia) Fellows Awards

Dates of Implementation/Duration:  2003-2010

Partner Institution: Asian Scholarship Foundation, Ford Foundation, Philippine Social Science Council


The principal goal of the ASIA Fellows Awards is to increase the overall awareness of intellectual resources in the People’s Republic of China, and the countries of South and Southeast Asia and to contribute to the growth of long-range capabilities for cross-regional knowledge sharing.  The ASIA Fellows Awards seek to develop regional expertise, establish a multilateral network of Asian specialists from many disciplines, professional fields and countries, stimulate interdisciplinary research and inter-societal comparison, and contribute to new developments within existing area studies communities. The awards offer opportunities for outstanding young and mid-career Asian scholars, and professionals to gain knowledge of the countries in the region and an understanding of the contexts that shape global and regional issues through study and research. They will enable awardees to study or conduct research in a participating Asian country for six (6) to nine (9) months.

Project Description:

The Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC) administered the ASIA (Asian Studies in Asia) Fellows Awards in the Philippines from 2003 to 2010. The AFA provided opportunities to young scholars and mid-career professionals to carry out a research project or undertake a course of study in the arts, culture, humanities and social sciences. The research project or program of study can be undertaken for a period of six to nine months in any of the participating countries in the region. These include South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Republic Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; Southeast Asian countries like Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam; and the People’s Republic of China. 

The AFA is an Asia-wide program that aimed to create a multinational network of Asian specialists in Asia. It is administered region-wide by the Bangkok-based Asian Scholarship Foundation with funding support from the Ford Foundation, and is being administered in the Philippines by PSSC, a private, non-profit organization of social science associations. 


  1. Citizens of and residents in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Republic of Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam
  1. Master’s/Doctoral degree or equivalent professional training and experiences (minimum of 3 years of university teaching experiences for scholars or 5 years of work experience for professionals.)
  1. Applicants must be 45 years old or younger at the time of the application deadline. However, those up to 50 years old proposing to do research in the field of Humanities may be given special consideration.
  1. Proficiency in English or in the language of the host country appropriate to the proposed research project.
  1. Those who are currently enrolled in a degree program, or have just completed a degree program for less than one to two years will not be eligible to apply. Those who were a recipient of a Ford Foundation fellowship grant within the last two years prior to the application is also ineligible.

conditions of the awards

  1. The proposed research projects for the ASIA Fellows Awards can be carried out in only one participating country (except the applicant’s own) and under the following conditions: 
  1. No applicant can propose to conduct their research in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
  1. Applicants from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore cannot undertake research in each other’s countries.
  1. Applicants from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan can only apply to conduct their research in Thailand, the host country of ASF.
  1. Any part of the proposed project that will be done in the applicant’s own country will not be funded under the ASIA Fellows Awards.
  1. The proposed grant period must be between 6-9 months. Once awarded, a fellow is required to conduct research at the proposed host country throughout the grant period. Splitting of the grant period or conducting research in the applicant’s own country during the proposed grant period is not allowed under any circumstances.
  1. While an applicant from South or Southeast Asia may propose a research project in a country within his/her own region, preference is given to applicants who propose to conduct research in a region of Asia other than their own (e.g., an award to an Indian scholar or professional for research in China).  
  1. Applicants should not plan to conduct their research in a country with which their home country has a difficult diplomatic relationship because of the uncertainties of securing an affiliation and obtaining a research clearance and visa for a long-term stay.
  1. Fellowship awards are not for the purpose of completing requirements towards an academic degree (master’s thesis or doctoral dissertations).

Fellowship Activities

ASIA Fellows awardees are placed at top-ranking research universities and non-academic institutions such as museums, archives or think tanks. Fellows should identify preferred placements in host countries. They may engage in an organized field research in the host country. Fellows are strongly encouraged to undertake some language training in their host country as part of facilitating their research. They are also provided the opportunities to present guest lectures, or to conduct seminars and workshops at the invitation of the host institutions.  After completion of their fellowship, fellows can apply for post-fellowship awards of three months to further their research in a country within Asia, or for short-term travel awards to make presentations at overseas conferences and meetings.

All fellows are required to attend the Orientation Program in July 2007, and the ASIA Fellows’ Annual Conference in July 2009 at which they present their research results to fellow awardees and to scholars from the country in which the conference is held.  They are also required to start the award by the end of December 2007. At the end of the fellowship, fellows must submit to the ASF office in Bangkok evidence of the results of their research project in the form of publications, photos of artistic works, audio/ video productions, etc. 

Awards Benefits

  • Travel Allowance:
  • Round-trip travel between home country and host country
  • Maintenance Allowance:
  • In-country living allowance to cover housing and other expenses.

N.B.  No travel nor living allowance will be provided for dependents

  • Limited accident and health insurance
  • Field Trip/Language Training Allowance:
  • For traveling within a host country, and a formal course on language training or with a private tutor in the host country
  • Research Allowance:
  • For research-related costs, computer purchase and internet connectivity to communicate with colleagues, other ASIA Fellows, and to access the Asian Scholarship Foundation Website <>
  • Excess Baggage/Shipping Allowance

Selection Process

Regional review committees composed of leading scholars from participating countries conduct an initial review of the applications. In mid-March, short-listed candidates are interviewed by the review committee for their region at meetings in Beijing, New Delhi, and Bangkok. (The Asian Scholarship Foundation covers the travel expenses of short-listed candidates.) The applications of recommended candidates are then forwarded to the multi-regional Board Management Committee which will make the final selection of ASIA Fellows Awards recipients by the end of May 2007.    

Examples of Recent ASIA Fellows Awards

  1. “The System of Chinese Classical Garden in the Comparison with the Royal Garden in Hue,” manager of a monument conservation center in Vietnam, hosted by Beijing Municipal Bureau of Parks, People’s Republic of China.
  1. “How Indian People Remember the Tsunami: An Anthropological Study,” Chinese lecturer, hosted by Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India.
  1. “Effects of Globalization in Plural Societies: A Case Study of Indonesia,” an associate professor from India, hosted by Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta, Indonesia.