The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies (FCCS) and Harvard China Fund (HCF) are pleased to announce a new funding source during academic year 2020-2021 to provide travel funding for doctoral students in light of Harvard University’s revised travel policy. University guidelines now permit doctoral students planning an extended single country stay (over 90 days) to petition the University for approval to conduct critical research that is essential to their degree program. Grants from FCCS/HCF will not exceed $10,000 and proposals cannot include the hiring of research assistants. All eligible Harvard doctoral students whose primary research topic is related to China Studies are welcome to apply.

The application may be accessed and submitted through CARAT and the deadline for applications covering travel to take place during the spring semester will be March 5, 2021 at 11:59 pmPlease note that you should submit your petition to the University well in advance of this application deadline and notify FCCS/HCF of the status of your application as soon as you receive the University’s decision. Additionally, please note that there are other required steps that may be very difficult and subject to change in order to travel to Greater China including multiple COVID-19 tests and health verification, a new or valid visa, quarantine requirements upon entry, and/or few options for booking flights, especially direct ones. It is your responsibility to ensure that you remain up to date on the latest policy changes that may impact your travel to your research destination. For assistance in planning your trip, you should consult with Harvard Global Support Services for the most updated information. The Fairbank Center and Harvard China Fund cannot help you obtain the appropriate visa, health documentation, airline tickets, or a successful petition in order to travel.

In the grant application, you will be asked to submit a budget with two parts. In the first part, your budget should focus specifically on your anticipated expenses for travel preparations. These costs may include COVID-19 tests, visa applications, and anything else you may need to prepare to travel. After reviewing your application, FCCS/HCF may award a first installment of up to $1500 to use immediately toward these preparatory expenses. If your trip does not go forward, these funds do not need to be returned to FCCS/HCF.

The second part of your budget should include all relevant expenses for travel and research less the cost of travel preparations requested in your first part. Before we provide funds for this second part of your budget, we must receive verification that the University has approved your petition and information indicating that your plans for travel will proceed.

Required materials for the application include: a detailed research proposal (no more than five pages double spaced) making clear what your research is, why it is essential for you to conduct it in the coming months and the planned methodology, a detailed travel itinerary including proposed dates and locations, the intended use for the funds, a timeline for their use, detailed and itemized budgets (see above), and a statement of support from your advisor confirming the essential nature of your research. You should submit confirmation of a successful visa application and petition to the University, as well as your flight details and visa confirmation, as soon as you receive them. Given the uncertain nature of travel at this time, we understand that your plans may change after submitting your application. If this is the case and you wish to amend or withdraw your application, please notify Nick Drake at the Fairbank Center or Emmeline Liu at the Harvard China Fund as soon as possible and they will assist you in updating your application.

If you have any questions about this funding or your eligibility, or to submit the required confirmations, please contact Nick Drake, at or 617-495-4007, or Emmeline Liu at

Link to Application:

Link to Travel Petition: