2019 Asia Study Grants recipients: Toshiki Asakura-Ward, Shan Windscript, Ravando Lie and Thomas Barker (left to right). Photograph: Brenton McGeachie

Applications for the 2021 program round will open on Monday 6 July 2020.

The Library offers annual Asia Study Grants to assist scholars in Australia to undertake research relating to Asia through a four week period of intensive access to our Asian language and Asia-related collections.

With the support of the Harold S. Williams Trust Fund and private donors, the Library provides researchers and PhD students the opportunity to engage with the National Library of Australia's Asian language and Asia-related collections. The grants are available for a period of four weeks at a negotiated time during 2020. Scholars have privileged access to the Library’s materials and facilities, as well as sustained interaction with specialist staff. More information on our rich and varied Asian collections is available here.

Who can apply?

Asia Study Grants are open to researchers and PhD students who:

  1. are residing in Australia;
  2. are attached to an Australian academic institution;
  3. have not received a scholarship from the Library in the past five years; and
  4. need access to the Library's Asian language or Asian-related collections that are not available online or in their own region or institution.

Researchers may be in the early or later stages of a project and can explore the extent of our collections or focus on specific materials. The grant may also be used to undertake preliminary investigations in developing a larger or related project that may assist in attracting further research funding or work. 

In selecting scholars the Library's Fellowships Advisory Committee will consider:

  • the value and quality of the proposed research;
  • the relevance of the Library's collections to the research;
  • the value of the experience to the applicant's academic progress (for PhD or early career researchers), or to the development of future research;
  • the capacity of the applicant to communicate their research to a wider audience (e.g., public talks, blogs etc).

Priority will be given to those with a demonstrated need to access the Library's Asian language collections and who do not have such collections in their own region or institution. This may include other special Asia-related collections, such as cartographic or manuscript materials using Asian languages and requiring specialist staff expertise.

Note: the Library will accept repeat applications but an Asia Study Grant can only be awarded once. Former recipients, however, are still eligible to apply for a National Library Fellowship. PhD students may also wish to consider the Library's Summer Scholarships.

What assistance is offered?

Asia Study Grant recipients will receive financial support consisting of:

  • an honorarium of $1000 per week for up to four weeks, to cover accommodation and living costs in Canberra; and
  • a contribution to travel within Australia, equivalent to one return economy domestic airfare to and from Canberra.

Travel and accommodation expenses are paid only to those living outside the Canberra region.

All recipients receive in-kind support consisting of:

  • special access to Asian collection stacks and staff expertise, including the support of Asian languages specialist librarians and other expertise required for special collections access, (e.g., Asian language maps);
  • access to office facilities in the Asian Collections area; and
  • copying of collection materials (within reasonable limits and according to access and copyright conditions).

Study grants are awarded only to an individual. Any funding to be paid by the Library normally will be paid directly to the individual for the purposes of supporting their research in the collections. Any other arrangements between the individual and their employer are their responsibility, and are to be negotiated separately between the individual and their employer.

What are the Library's expectations?

Recipients will be required to:

  • spend at least 75% of their time at the Library over four weeks;
  • provide a brief report on their research experience at the Library, and the value of the collections and services;
  • acknowledge the support of the National Library in forums, presentations and publications resulting from the research; and
  • assist the Library to promote the Asia Study Grants through media and public communication.

How to apply

Applications are made online. Before you begin your application, you must:

  1. Register as an applicant;
  2. Research the Library's collections to identify your Primary (NLA Asian Collection) and supplementary (Asian-related) collections that you will access at the Library;
  3. Develop a research plan that provides a synopsis of your proposed project, the aim, goals, outcomes, and a timeline for the four-week residency.

To complete and submit your application you will need to provide:

  • two referee reports;
  • a recently completed piece of research writing (for example, a thesis chapter); and
  • If you are a PhD student, provide a certified transcript of your academic record.

Apply now



Di Pin Ouyang
Assistant Director
Asian Collections, National Library of Australia