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.
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 Foreign Fulbright Program.
For further application information and instructions, please see Embark Online Application Instructions.
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. I applied last year. I would like to apply again but the EMBARK system said my account has already existed. How can I create a new account?
- Please use another email address to create a new account.
14. When I register with EMBARK, it said: "You must check with your Fulbright Program Office before you can begin the online application. Please click here for more information." What is the meaning of that? What do I need to do?
15. I have chosen "Hong Kong" under the section entitled "Preliminary Questions" in EMBARK as instructed. When I'm in the application form, can I put down "China" for my country of citizenship?
16. The application form asked me to put down "most highly preferred institutions." Can I leave it blank? Can you decide for me?
- No, you can’t leave it blank and 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.
17. 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 via EMBARK. If you receive a positive feedback, please notify Ms. Pauline Lau to include this information with records of email exchange in your application package.
18. 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 Embark system.
- We do request official transcript for your PhD study. Please ask your Hong Kong institution to mail the transcript to Ms. Pauline Lau of the Hong Kong-America Center at Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR.
19. Do I have to upload my transcripts and certificates for my undergraduate, graduate and PhD study onto EMBARK?
- Yes, if you have a copy of the transcripts and certificates.
20. 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.
21. 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 EMBARK system will invite them to submit a reference letter for you.
22. Should all my reference letters be provided by academic scholars?
- At least one reference letter should come from your PhD supervisor in Hong Kong.
23. What does it mean when it said "applicants should have strong English language proficiency" in the application criteria. Are there any standardized tests REQUIRED? My score is out of date. Will my chance of receiving the award be affected if I don't have a valid language test score?
- Hong Kong program does not require applicants to provide “Report on proficiency in English.” However, if you have already taken examinations such as TOEFL/ TSE/ TWE/ GMAT or GRE, you may enter your scores there (out-of-date score is fine. For reference only). As these scores are not required by this award program, your chance of receiving the award will not be affected even if you don’t have a valid language test score.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. When filling in the signature form, I noticed that there is a clause saying that “Upon completion of an authorized stay in the United States under the Foreign Fulbright Program, I agree to return to my home country for two (2) years to fulfill my home residency requirement.” What does it mean?
- 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.
29. 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.
30. 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.
FULBRIGHT-RGC HONG KONG
2020/2021 RESEARCH SCHOLAR AWARD PROGRAM
EMBARK ONLINE APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Please apply online by accessing the Embark link.
- As a “New User”, please press the “Create an Account” button to create your own user name and password.
- No need to fill in all the information at one time. You may save what you have entered, and go back to complete the remaining text later.
- When you register, please choose “Non-US/ Non-Canadian” for the column “State/Province” and “0” for “Zip/ Postal Code”.
- Please put “Hong Kong” for the preliminary questions like “Where do you come from?” and “What is your nationality?”
- Please note that if you do not choose “Hong Kong” for these preliminary questions, your applications will go somewhere else and we will not have access to your application.
- After you have successfully registered under the Hong Kong pool in your application, you can put down “China” for your nationality.
- On Page 1 of the application, please make sure that the cycle is set at “2020-2021” and your degree objective is “Visiting Student Researcher.” Please note that this program is “Fulbright Foreign Student Program” but not “International Fulbright Science and Technology PhD Program.”
- Regarding the section of “EXAMINATION RESULTS”, if you have already taken examinations such as TOEFL/ TSE/ TWE/ GMAT or GRE, you may enter your scores there. However, please note that these scores are not required by this award program.
- Please make sure that you have entered your preferred University/ Department/ Contact Professor into the Embark. If you do not have the information, please get the advice from your supervisor in Hong Kong.
- Regarding the section of “SUPPLEMENTARY FORMS”, the following is not required:
- Report on proficiency in English;
- Foreign Students Academic Records; and
- Transcript Release Form.
- Please send to HKAC the following documents before the official deadline:
- Three reference letters (either online/ fax/ mail/ email)
- ONE copy of your official transcripts
- ONE copy of your certificates of diplomas and degrees
- Signature Form, with signature.
Inquiries, please email Fulbright-HK@state.gov