The U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong and Macau and the Research Grants Council are pleased to invite young scholars enrolled in PhD programs at UGC-funded institutions in Hong Kong to apply for the Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Awards to conduct research in the United States.To access online application forms for the award, please see the official online application for Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Funded by the Research Grants Council in partnership with private donors, the Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Award provides US$1,600 per month, which may be augmented by studentship funds provided by the Hong Kong universities. Grant duration range from six months to ten months, as justified in the application proposal. Sojourns in the United States can begin anytime in September of the award year. Fulbright research scholars will not enroll for courses or matriculate in the host American university. Although regular tuition fees will be waived, the host universities may charge visiting scholar fees and insurance premiums for the visiting Fulbright scholar. The Fulbright scholars are expected to return to Hong Kong after the award period and defend their dissertations for the PhD degree from their Hong Kong universities.
Applicants must be permanent residents of HKSAR or Chinese citizens, who are currently enrolled in PhD programs at UGC-funded institutions in Hong Kong.
- Applicants should have completed at least two years of full-time advanced study in Hong Kong prior to their planned departure for the U.S.
- Applicants should have strong English language proficiency and good health
- All academic disciplines are eligible for this fellowship program.
Online application deadline is October 31, 2019. Interview of finalists will be held in fall and award announcement will be made in early 2020.
To access online application forms for the award, please see the official online application for Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
For further application information and instructions, please see Application Instructions (PDF 795 KB).
For inquiries, please email Fulbright-HK@state.gov
faq: Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Award Program
1. What is Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Award Program?
- The Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Award Program is a collaborative program between the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong & Macau (USCG) and the Research Grants Council (RGC) of the Hong Kong government.
- It supports young Hong Kong scholars to undertake research activities at American universities and research institutes. This program is overseen by USCG and funded by RGC in partnership with private donors with administrative assistance by the Hong Kong America Center (HKAC) on behalf of RGC and other local donors.
2. What are the areas or fields funded by the Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Award Program? How many awards per year?
- All fields.
- About eight awards on offer each year.
3. Who is eligible?
- Applicants must be permanent residents of Hong Kong SAR or Chinese citizens.
- Applicants must be currently enrolled in PhD programs at any of the University Grants Council (UGC)-funded institutions in Hong Kong
- Applicants should have completed at least two years of full-time advanced study in Hong Kong prior to their planned departure for the United States.
4. Can I still apply for this program if I am currently enrolled in the PhD program but I am not permanent residents of HKSAR or Chinese citizens?
- No, you cannot. Applicants must be permanent residents of HKSAR or Chinese citizens under all circumstances.
5. I am accepted as a JD / PhD student in the U.S. Can I apply for this program?
- No, you cannot. This is because applicants of this program must be currently enrolled in PhD programs at UGC-funded institutions in Hong Kong.
6. What is the amount typically awarded for grants? What kinds of costs are covered by grants?
- The award will provide US$1,600 per month to support living costs throughout the entire grant period, (please add) a travel stipend up to US$2,750 and affiliation fee up to US$7,500.
- However, the award may be augmented by studentship funds provided by home universities in Hong Kong or by other scholarships.
- Fulbright research scholars will not enroll for courses or matriculate in the host American university. Although regular tuition fees will be waived, the host universities may charge visiting scholar fees.
- Other fees as deemed necessary by host universities may be charged, such as insurance premiums as a number of universities may pre-emptively require students to enroll in the school’s own health insurance program.
7. Can I apply for this program if I am receiving post-graduate studentships or other scholarships?
- Yes, you can because your may augment the basic award with your own studentship funds as provided by the Hong Kong universities for post-graduate students or by other scholarships.
8. Can I apply for this program if I don't have post-graduate studentships or any other scholarships?
- Yes, you may still apply, but you will need to prove that you have enough personal funds to support yourself during the sojourn in the United States. The Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Awards will provide US$1,600 per month throughout the awarded grant period.
9. How long are the grants?
- The grants range from six to ten months.
10. How do applicants apply?
11. What is the application schedule?
- The online application cycle usually starts in July of each calendar year.
- Deadline is usually in late October of each calendar year. Exact date will be announced when application cycle commences.
- Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview in December.
- Successful applicants will be notified in the following spring after submission of application.
12. When is the deadline for current application of 2020/2021?
- Deadline of the application cycle 2020/2021 is October 31, 2019.
13. Do I need to choose my preferred institutions for placement? Can you decide for me?
- No, no one can decide for you. Please check with your Hong Kong supervisor for advice and suggestions regarding which U.S. universities / professors you should put down as your top three choices.
14. Should I get approval from my preferred university in the U.S. before I submit an application?
- You don’t need to get an advance approval but if you prefer, you may contact your first choice of university to see if the professor is willing to be your mentor during the proposed research program period at the same time you apply. If you receive a positive feedback, please notify us to include this information with records of email exchange in your application package.
15. Do I need to request official transcripts for my undergraduate, graduate and PhD study? Where should I mail the transcripts to?
- When you applied for PhD programs at UGC-funded institutions, your qualifications and transcripts have been thoroughly verified by your home university, you therefore do not need to request a new set of transcripts but please upload these transcripts and certificates onto the application system.
- We do request official transcript for your PhD study. Please upload the materials to the system.
16. Do I have to upload my transcripts and certificates for my undergraduate, graduate and PhD study?
- Yes, if you have a copy of the transcripts and certificates.
17. Some of my transcripts and certificates are in Chinese and I don't have the translated versions. Are Chinese transcripts and certificates acceptable?
- English versions of certificates and transcripts are preferred as the Academic Review Committee and the Fulbright Advisory Committee may include non-Chinese members.
18. Do I need to print out the reference forms for my referees and let them send the completed forms to the Hong Kong-America Center?
- No need to print out the forms. Simply enter the contact information of your referees and the system will invite them to submit a reference letter for you.
19. Should all my reference letters be provided by academic scholars?
- At least one reference letter should come from your PhD supervisor in Hong Kong.
20. If I get an award for 2020/2021 cycle, what is the earliest possible starting date of my sojourn in the U.S.? Any chance to start in February? When should the program finish?
- Awardees may begin their programs in the United States from September 2020 onwards but not earlier. In other words, no program can be commenced in February.
- All awardees are expected to complete their programs by the end of June 2021.
21. I have started my second year of PhD study and I'll have completed two years of PhD by the time I depart for the United States in the summer of 2019. Should I apply now or should I wait for one more year?
- Yes, please apply now and do not wait until next year.
22. Should I apply for this program if I plan to graduate in 2020?
- In such case, you should consider to extend your PhD study because the program requires all awardees to return to Hong Kong after the award period and defend their dissertations for their PhD degree from their Hong Kong universities.
23. I have already submitted my thesis. Can I apply for this program?
- This program aims to benefit thesis writing of the awardees (e.g. through their research activities in the United States or the assistance of U.S. mentors / scholars), awardees are expected to return to Hong Kong after the award period and defend their dissertations for the PhD degree from their Hong Kong universities.
24. What kind of visa will I travel to the United States with? Any restriction?
- As a Fulbright scholar, you will be traveling to the U.S. on a J-1 visa. Certain exchange visitors (J-1) are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement which requires the visa holders to return to her/his home country for at least two years at the end of the exchange program. This is also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, section 212(e). If a person is unable to return to her/his home country to fulfill the two-year requirement, s/he must obtain a waiver approved by the Department of Homeland Security prior to changing status in the U.S. or being issued a visa in certain categories for travel to the U.S.
25. Can my spouse and dependents accompany me to the United States if I get this award?
- Yes, but you’ll need to cover all their expenses including travel, living, insurance, etc.
- And same as you, they will also subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement of J-1 visa.
26. Is there any obligation adhered to the grant?
- All awardees are expected to return to Hong Kong after the award period and defend their dissertations for the PhD degree from their Hong Kong universities.
- As a requirement for all exchange visitor visa holders, all awardees are required to return to Hong Kong after the award period according to the two-year rule as above-mentioned.
Inquiries, please email Fulbright-HK@state.gov