Research Fellowships at American Institute of Indian Studies, USA

Publish Date: May 14, 2015

Deadline: Jul 01, 2015

For more than 50 years, the American Institute of Indian Studies has provided funding to pre- and post-doctoral scholars and artists in pursuit of knowledge about India.

  • Junior Fellowships are for graduate students conducting research for their doctoral dissertations in India.
  • Senior Long– and Short-term Fellowships are for those holding the PhD degree.
  • Performing and Creative Arts Fellowships are available to accomplished practitioners of the arts to conduct their projects in India.

The AIIS fellowship competition is not restricted to those from its member institutions. Non-U.S. citizens may apply as long as they are either graduate students or full-time faculty at colleges and universities in the United States. Approximately 35 fellowships are awarded each year.

Applications from scholars who are part of a collaborative project involving other scholars are welcome, though AIIS fellowships are granted to individuals, not to teams. Amounts awarded to successful applicants who are members of group projects will be equivalent to fellowships awarded to scholars who submitted applications for individual projects.

Fellowships are funded by both U.S. government grants and AIIS endowment funds. Most of the federal funds received are restricted to U.S. citizens; non-U.S. citizens and performing/creative arts fellows are generally funded by the AIIS endowment.  The number of fellowships AIIS can offer depends on the funding available from the different sources, though all applicants are reviewed equally and simultaneously. The AIIS strongly encourages applications from non-US citizens and US citizens alike, and remains committed to providing research opportunities to all qualified candidates regardless of nationality.  It also seeks additional private support to increase the number of its awards. Fellowships are funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (also available to permanent residents); the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States State Department and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers under the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended; and the Smithsonian Institution.Fellowships for six months or more may include support for dependents.

All AIIS fellows  will need to obtain certification of U. S. Tax Residency, to certify that the fellowship recipient is a resident of the US and thus subject to the tax laws of the US and does not have to pay tax on the fellowship stipend in India. In order to obtain such certification, fellows will need to go to the IRS web site to fill out Form 8802 to be submitted to the IRS, which will then issue a Form 6166 which certifies that the individual listed on the application is a resident of the US for purposes of the income tax laws of the United States. Fellows will also be asked to fill out Form 10F for the Indian government

Applicants for fellowships should complete the following steps: 1. Download announcement flier, application instructions, and check list (found below) and read carefully. 2. Create a single pdf file that contains all of the items listed in the checklist (except for the recommendation letters) and for junior fellowship applicants, scans of your transcripts (if you cannot scan your transcripts you may mail the transcripts to the AIIS office in Chicago along with your $25 application fee) APPLICATIONS MUST BE TYPED. MATERIALS THAT ARE HANDWRITTEN AND THEN SCANNED WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. We do not need a real signature on anything. Simply type in your name where a signature is requested. 3. Notify your three references that they should expect an email prompt to submit their letters of reference. You should forward them the reference letter form. You should fill out the top part of the reference form before sending it to them. We do not require a real signature–either yours or the recommender’s. The recommender needs to upload their recommendation letter as a SINGLE document so they should write their letter on the form or else append the letter to the form and create a single pdf file. It is the applicant’s responsibility to inform the recommender about the required procedure. Please note that recommenders may NOT email their letters directly to AIIS. 4: Register on our online portal here and then log in to your portal account. 5: Follow the application steps: choose your fellowship category, submit your  application and notify your references. Please refer to the application checklist. You will be able to check on whether your letters of reference have been received.

The Research Fellowship Application Packet includes the following documents:

  • Research Fellowship Competition Announcement (MS Word/PDF)
  • Research Fellowship Competition Instructions and Guidelines (MS Word/PDF)
  • Applications (MS Word/PDF)
  • Confidential Reference Form (MS Word/PDF)
  • Affiliate Sponsor Form (PDF)
  • Reviewer Worksheet (MS Word/PDF)
  • Application Checklist (MS Word/PDF)
  • All or specific sections of the packet can be downloaded as Word documents or pdf files. Pdfs use Acrobat Reader software. A free copy of this software is available at the Abode website.

NOTE: To type on the pdf forms, you must save the documents on your hard drive. They can be opened using Adobe Acrobat (not the same as Acrobat Reader). Use the touch-up-text function to type on the forms.

Application Instructions and Guidelines

Please read all application materials carefully. All forms in the application packet must be completed and submitted electronically.


  • Applications that do not meet the requirements listed below will NOT be considered and the processing fee will not be returned.
  • Applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decisions by the beginning of October. The earliest possible departure date for India by awardees is eleven (11) months following the date of application submission.
  • Two full years must have elapsed between the completion of a previous AIIS fellowship and the current application deadline. This rule does NOT apply to recipients of AIIS language program fellowships.
  • Those fellows selected in the July 2015 fellowship competition will be able to carry out their fellowships at a time of their choosing between June 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017; AIIS fellows may not hold another major grant that provides funds to support research conducted in India concurrently with the AIIS fellowship during this period. We do permit fellows to hold grants that would support research and writing in a country other than India or which could be used to purchase equipment or to carry out lab work that cannot be supported with the AIIS grant.
  • Applications from scholars who are part of a collaborative project involving other scholars are welcome, though AIIS fellowships are granted to individuals not to teams. Amounts awarded to successful applicants who are members of group projects will be equivalent to fellowships awarded to scholars who submitted applications for individual projects.

Evaluation Criteria

The Selection Committee will assess each application on the following basis:

  • The project description
  • The candidate’s academic and/or professional record
  • The quality of references.

Members of the Selection Committee represent a number of different academic disciplines within the field of Indian Studies, so the applicant must explain the nature and significance of the project in terms intelligible to a non-specialist audience. Please avoid jargon and be as concise as possible. Applicants who are not affiliated with an AIIS member institution are WELCOME to apply.

Reviewer Worksheet

The Reviewer Worksheet provides basic identifying information about the proposed project. It is used in the review process to summarize the three primary areas of competitive review:

  • Project Description
  • Academic and/or Professional Record
  • Quality of References

The Reviewer Worksheet also enables the AIIS to summarize general information about the applicant pool and the range of subject matter submitted to it for consideration. Summary statements with this kind of information enable the Institute to solicit funds for its fellowship program. Applicants should select the discipline of their PROJECT and NOT necessarily their departmental affiliation.

Affiliation with an institution in India

The Indian Government requires all foreign scholars be associated with an Indian institution.

  • The Institute will arrange institutional affiliation for fellows.
  • Non-Indian citizens will need a research visa to do research in India. A certificate of affiliation from an Indian institution is required to obtain the research visa.
  • No fellowship funds will be released until AIIS has obtained a certificate of affiliation.

Please provide the names of three institutions with which you wish to be affiliated on the affiliate sponsor form. Please CAREFULLY read the information regarding affiliation on the affiliate sponsor form. The Institute will pursue affiliation on your behalf to expedite the project approval process.


  • Be sure to answer each question on the form. If all questions are not answered, the application may be rejected.
  • The application must be typed and all questions answered on the form itself. It is not acceptable to refer to appended material.
  • The application deadline for the AIIS Fellowship Competition is July 1.
  • Applications must be uploaded to the web platform following the instructions
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all application materials, including letters of recommendation are received prior to the deadline. Late materials will not be considered.
  • Please save your completed application for your files  as you may need it for reference over the next two years.
  • For the question regarding current status or title, if you are a faculty member, please indicate whether you are tenured or untenured.
  • The Project Summary must be typed on both the Application for Fellowship and the Reviewer Worksheet.
  • Please consult the application checklist and create ONE pdf file to include all of the components of your application.

When naming your discipline choose the PROJECT discipline and not your departmental discipline, please choose one primary discipline from the following categories; if you want to add a secondary discipline you may indicate that by using the number 2: Anthropology Archaeology Architecture Art Behavioral Sciences Communications Cultural Studies Economics Education Environmental Studies Ethnomusicology Film/Photography Gender/Sexuality Studies Geography History History of Art/Architecture History of Science Linguistics Literature Medicine Natural Sciences Performance Studies Performing Arts Philosophy Political Science Public Health Religious Studies Sociology Technology Studies Urban Planning Please also include five short key phrases that would describe your project. For example for a project on agrarian social movements in the early twentieth century north India you could say: early twentieth-century history; agrarian movements in north India; agricultural workers’ rights movements; twentieth century social movements.

Supplemental Materials

Please refer to the Application Checklist when assembling your application and submit the checklist with your application materials to AIIS.

Project Statement

All applications must include a project statement fully describing proposed research. Be sure to clearly include:

  • Reasons for pursuing this research
  • The significance of your project and its relevance to other scholarship
  • Research methodology
  • Anticipated results of your study
  • Time-table for completing the project

If the completion of this project requires research outside India, or if you plan a departure from India during the time of award, please note in the timetable for completion. The project statement must conform to the following requirements:

  1. It must be no longer than six (6) pages, double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and printed in a type size no smaller than 12 points.
  2. The project statement must be clearly legible. Applications that do not conform to these specifications will not be read by the Committee or returned by the Institute.
  • Attach a one to three-page bibliography related to your project. Please remember that your proposal will be read and evaluated by a committee representing India specialists with diverse disciplinary expertise.
  • A curriculum vitae of no more than two (2) pages must also be submitted. It should include major publications with the names of publishers and dates of publication. Citations for articles and monographs must be complete. Please identify clearly all publications resulting from prior AIIS-supported research with an asterisk.
  • Applicants for the Junior Research Fellowship must include official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended in the U.S. with their application.
  • Applicants for the Senior Performing and Creative Arts Fellowship must provide a web-based link to some significant sample of their work, e.g. high quality videotape for filmmakers, dancers and perhaps musicians; high quality audio tape (if not video) for musicians; and photographs or slides for visual artists. Video and audio recordings should be continuous, not excerpted, and at least 15 minutes, but preferably a half hour in length. Materials will be returned at the candidate’s request.

Confidential References

Each applicant must secure three letters of recommendation. Referees should have sufficient knowledge about the applicant and the proposed project to assess the project as well as the applicant’s qualifications to carry it out. In the past, delinquent references have been the most serious problem in giving full consideration to an applicant’s proposal. The applicant is responsible for assuring timely submission of recommendations. Referees must submit their letters by uploading them onto the web platform after applicants have input their email addresses, which will generate a prompt providing a unique link so that the referee’s letter can go into the applicant’s file. The referee’s letter MUST be submitted as a single pdf document. Real signatures are not required, either for the applicant or the referee. It is strongly recommend that you request letters of recommendation as soon as you start working on the application. Applicants should fill out the top portion of the reference form and send them to their referees so the referees can use those forms for their letters. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the letters are submitted properly.

Project information sheet

In order to obtain the certificate of affiliation, applicants must submit a two-page (maximum) project information sheet. This document should also be used for non-Indian citizens when it is time to obtain a research visa for India. The project information sheet should provide the following information:

  • where the applicant wishes to go
  • what the applicant wishes to do
  • materials to be reviewed
  • types of information to be collected.

The project information sheet should not be written in jargon. Applicants should avoid discussing theoretical frameworks, methodological issues, literature reviews, etc. Please remember that the document is to be reviewed by non-academics for the purposes of issuing a certificate of affiliation and, eventually, the research visa. The AIIS selection committee will not review the two-page information sheets. AIIS staff will review the project sheets and will advise applicants to make changes where needed.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

Similar Opportunities


Indian Studies

Study Levels


Opportunity Types


Eligible Countries

United States

Host Countries

United States