2018 Sixth Tone Fellowship for Field Research in China (Fully-funded for Young Scholars)

2018 Sixth Tone Fellowship for Field Research in China (Fully-funded for Young Scholars)

Deadline: March 1, 2018

The Sixth Tone Fellowship 2018 is now open for applications. The Sixth Tone Fellowship is a field research program on contemporary China initiated and sponsored by Sixth Tone, an English-language news website based in Shanghai, China. The Sixth Tone Fellowship will provide funding for 8 young scholars to come to China for a six weeks’ research trip and conduct fieldwork in locations all over the country.

Are you a young scholar interested in contemporary China? Apply for the Sixth Tone Fellowship for field research.


Through fresh takes on trending topics, in-depth features, and illuminating contributions, Sixth Tone covers issues from the perspectives of those most intimately involved to highlight the nuances and complexities of today’s China. In 2017, Sixth Tone won five SOPA (The Society of Publishers in Asia) awards for its excellent reporting on China.

At Sixth Tone, we believe that solid fieldwork and academic discussions are crucial to the work of reporting on China. That’s why we started the Sixth Tone Fellowship together with Fudan Development Institute, an outstanding research organization based in Shanghai. They encourage research into and understanding of China by young scholars from around the world, and we welcome inventive solutions to the challenges China is facing

Research Agenda

Every year, Sixth Tone will pose a fresh research question to young scholars from across the globe. Emphasis will be placed on topics at the cutting edge of Chinese society, including technological innovation, industry and the economy, youth culture, and societal change.

The research topic for the 2018 Sixth Tone Fellowship is “Technological Innovation and Rural China”.

Recently, Chinese technological innovation has attracted media interest from around the world. Meanwhile, the Chinese countryside continues to face significant challenges, such as poverty, depopulation, and backwardness. How can China use technology and innovative thinking to change the impoverished appearance of its vast countryside, improve the lives of its rural population, and close the gap between urban and rural areas?

They encourage applicants to frame their research proposal with the following fields in mind:

  • E-commerce and the change of rural Chinese society
  • Agricultural transformation in China
  • Environmental protection in the countryside
  • Big data and the transformation of industry in impoverished areas

Successful applicants will participate in a one-week group tour of several Chinese technology ventures and then be split into small groups by research theme and conduct fieldwork on selected topics for four weeks. Sixth Tone will cooperate with the Fudan Development Institute to facilitate academic support and find field site locations for the fellows. During the last week of the program fellows will return to Shanghai to give lectures and attend workshops.


Sixth Tone will pay for a round trip airline ticket to Shanghai, all fieldwork related transportation costs incurred within China, as well as food, housing, and health insurance.


Open to Young Scholars from around the world

  • This program is open to doctoral students and young scholars with less than five years’ research experience.
  • They will not exclude applicants on the basis of nationality or academic field, although those with backgrounds in economics, sociology, anthropology and environmental science will be given preference for the 2018 fellowship.
  • Applicants should possess a strong command of written English and spoken Chinese.
  • An active presence on social media is a plus.


  • While in China, each fellow will be responsible for writing at least two approximately 800-word commentary articles, to be published on the Sixth Tone Website.
  • At the end of their fellowship, each of them must submit a 2,000-word policy report based on their fieldwork to both Sixth Tone and the Fudan Development Institute.
  • In addition, fellows will give a seminar at the Fudan Development Institute, reporting on the results of their research. Fellows are encouraged to use their field notes in their future academic work.


Applicants should send the following materials to [email protected].

  1. Personal resume (1 page)
  2. Two letters of recommendation
  3. Research proposal (4-6 pages, double-spaced)
  4. A writing sample.

Sixth Tone will invite a steering committee comprised of experts from the Fudan Development Institute to review candidates’ application materials and make the final selections.

For more information, visit Sixth Tone Fellowship.