China Studies Post-Doctoral Fellowship


The China Studies Post-doctoral Fellowship (CSPF), offered jointly by Ashoka University (India) and the Harvard-Yenching Institute (US), is an opportunity for recent PhDs in China Studies to conduct a two-year study on China under the guidance of established scholars and simultaneously teach courses on China at top Indian universities.

The fully-funded fellowship is open to scholars who have either completed their Ph.D. anytime after 2012 or will complete their Ph.D. by Spring 2021 Semester, with their research specifically focussed 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 fellowship is also open to scholars of China Studies who are teaching at Indian universities and wish to pursue novel research on China while continuing their teaching engagement at their current university. Applicants should have a working knowledge of Mandarin, sufficient for academic research.

The second cohort of the China Studies Post-doctoral Fellowship will consist of 6 fellows who will be placed across different Indian universities and who will start their fellowship tenure as early as the beginning of the Fall 2021 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.

In the 21st century, India needs to invest in its ability to understand its neighbors in order to grow and prosper. China plays an important role in the region and we need to study China and understand its economic, political, social, and historical conditions to support and enhance continued engagement. 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.

The China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship aims at building an effective understanding of China within India by supporting scholars of China Studies to continue their research and supplement our nation’s learnings on China, and at the same time assisting host institutions in India to develop an effective capacity to learn more about our neighboring country.

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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. Fellows’ performance will be assessed based on the feedback from host institutions, their willingness to extend fellows’ positions, and the research is 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.


Number of Fellows                         6
Focus Areas Humanities and Social Studies with a 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

   A 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.

Note: The CSPF Program is financially supported by Ashoka University (India) and the Harvard-Yenching Institute (USA) only.

Teach –  2 courses per year at their host universities in India

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 experts in China 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 – May 13, 2021

Closing date (Round 1) – June 30, 2021

Closing date (Round 2) – September 15, 2021

Note: Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis. Applications for the Fellowship Period starting Fall 2021 Semester onwards should be submitted latest by June 30, 2021. 


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

  • Applicants should have completed their Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. have been fulfilled. Successful applicants will be asked to submit proof of conferral).
  • Applicants are scholars of China studies, demonstrated by the use of Mandarin sources in their research.
  • Applicants should have a working knowledge of written and/or spoken Mandarin. All applicants will be evaluated on their Mandarin competence through a language interview.
  • 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 Ph.D. degree conferred no earlier than January 01, 2012.
  • Applicants should indicate a commitment to working in Indian academia for at least the next four to five years.

Note – The Fellowship is also open to scholars of China Studies who wish to continue teaching at their current university and are looking for an opportunity to conduct novel research on China. In this scenario, apart from the abovementioned criteria, the scholar will have to teach at least one course on China every semester at their current university, throughout the duration of their fellowship. If selected, the scholar will receive only the research award.

Fellowship Timeline





Application start date

May 13, 2021


Round 1 deadline (for Fall 2021 semester)

June 30, 2021


Round 2 deadline (For Spring 2022 semester)

September 15, 2021


Interviews of Round 1 applicants (for Fall 2021 semester)

July 15, 2021 – July 30, 2021


Start of the semester (Round 1 applicants)

August 2021 (or January 2022)


The first review (Round 1 applicants)

August 2022


Final presentation (Round 1 applicants)

August 2023

Note: The applications for the China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship will be assessed on a rolling basis.

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