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China-India Visiting Scholars Fellowship

Ashoka University is delighted to announce the second year of the China-India Visiting Scholars (CIVS) Fellowship!

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CIVS is an opportunity for academics, policy experts, and professionals who are interested in expanding their current research to include lessons from China.

The theme for our second year is ‚ÄėEconomics and Development,‚Äô including but not limited to areas spanning public finance, education, environment and climate, public health, urbanization, and labor economics. The fellowship will provide up to 10 fellows each year the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of China’s development experience across various fields. The research is supported through a fellowship grant of a maximum amount of INR 350,000.

As a part of CIVS, fellows will collaborate with international experts with deep knowledge of China and visit them. These experts may be based in China, Taiwan, or the ASEAN region. The visit will enable Fellows to build their network in East Asia and ASEAN, and access high-quality resources on China through existing hubs of knowledge. Fellows may continue to work at their current position while pursuing the fellowship.

For further details, please write to civs@ashoka.edu.in.


Fellowship Committee

The mentors will be chosen from the Fellowship Committee. Our Fellowship Committee includes:


The fellowship is open to scholars and working professionals

  • who have completed their PhD or have a Master‚Äôs with at least 5¬†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 undergraduate or Master’s students.¬†

Application Timeline

  • The application deadline has been extended and now closes at 11:59pm (IST) on June 25, 2021.
  • There are two important elements in your application:¬†a research proposal¬†and¬†details of the scholar you want to collaborate with. We would urge you to find a collaborator prior to submitting your application.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a two-part interview with two scholars or policy experts.
  • Fellows will be announced by July 31 2021.
  • The fellowship runs for 9 months, from August 15, 2021¬†to May 15, 2022

If you are unable to find one until the deadline of June 20, you can indicate that you require help. Ashoka University will share your proposal with scholars who could be potential collaborators, however, this process does not guarantee a match. Selection into the program is contingent on a collaborator being on board. 

Fellowship Committee & Mentors

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. Our Fellowship Committee includes:


Fellows will conduct their research with a collaborator. The collaborator would ideally be a scholar or a researcher who is studying the same field as the fellow. They can be geographically located within China, or in the ASEAN region, provided that they are experts on China in the area of research the fellow is pursuing in the fellowship.Applicants will 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. 


One of the best ways to learn and conduct a comparative study is to visit the new geography that is being studied. For this reason, we are instating a visit component that will allow both the fellow and their collaborator the ability to design the research plan according to their requirements. Broadly, this includes:

  • Conducting the selection process, agnostic of the collaborator‚Äôs location. This will ensure that there is no discrimination against cities or countries which may be experiencing a resurgence in the virus, travel restrictions, or difficult quarantine rules.
  • Formalizing the travel plan after the selection in the program. The travel plan will be drafted three months into the fellowship, based on how the pandemic is being handled in India and in the destination country. Additionally, the fellows will receive support in finalizing the duration of the visit, based on the nature of the research.
  • Expanding the destinations the fellows can visit. This includes traveling to cities or countries outside of the collaborator‚Äôs own city or country. If the fellow decides to visit another location other than their collaborator‚Äôs home institution, they will need to explain which institution they plan to work with, how it will benefit their research, and if the collaborator is also on board.

Given the uncertainty we have faced in the previous year with travel restrictions, health concerns, and quarantine impositions, it is possible that the visit could be adversely affected. In the unlikely case that a fellow is unable to conduct a visit, the Fellowship Team will work back with each individual to adjust the format of the Fellowship. This will be done in consultation with the Fellowship Committee. All fellows must complete their research by April 30, 2022. No exceptions will be made on this front.

Expectations and Outcomes

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

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-√†-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 also have the following expectations from Ashoka University:

  • Attending the workshop on Research Methods in China held in Delhi in July.
  • Attending the culmination 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.


1. Am I eligible to apply for the Fellowship? Does my topic fall within the theme of Economics and Development?

The theme for CIVS 2021-22 is Economics and Development. The topics include, but are not limited to areas spanning public finance, education, environment and climate, public health, urbanization, and labor economics. As long as your topic is broadly within the scope of Development / Development policy or economics, it will qualify for the fellowship. Please reach out to the team if you would like to discuss your topic in more detail. 

2. Is it mandatory to have a minimum of 5 years of work experience? 

Yes, it’s mandatory to have at least 5 years of work experience to be eligible for the Fellowship.¬†

3. Is the connect with China necessary?

Yes, the CIVS Fellowship has been established with the aim to produce a comparative research study between India and China. The focus on China is critical to your proposal. 

4. Who can be a collaborator? What if I can’t find a collaborator?

The collaborator would ideally be a scholar or a researcher who is an expert on China within the same or related field as the fellow. They may be geographically located within mainland China, East Asia, or in the ASEAN region. 
While we encourage our applicants to apply with a collaborator on board, in the case the applicant does not have a collaborator, they may still apply for the fellowship. Selection to the program is not contingent on finding a collaborator. In such cases, we will work back with the fellow (post-selection) to find a collaborator. 

5. What does my collaborator need to do?

The collaborator could co-write the working paper or simply collaborate on a part of the research. There are no strict guidelines around this and the nature of collaboration. 

6. What is the expected outcome after the fellowship?

Fellows would be expected to work towards a scholarly product, which could be either a working paper or a detailed report. They would also be expected to give one public lecture in India. 
The fellow works and conducts their research with a counterpart who has working knowledge of the topic vis-à-vis China.

7. When is the last date I can apply by?

The deadline (extended) to submit the applications is  June 25, 2021. You can know more about the Fellowship here.  

8. I cannot submit the NOC right away and my recommender may need more time to send their recommendation. 

We urge our applicants to submit the NOC from their organizations in time and follow up with their recommenders. However, if for some reason, it is not possible to submit these documents, please reach out to the CIVS Team and inform us. Exceptions will be made wherever necessary. 

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