The visiting scholars program has re-opened amidst COVID-19 restrictions, which will create longer application review, processing, issuing of any relevant documents, and on-boarding. All affiliations will be virtual until further notice as the campus is closed. For visiting scholar applicants who require a J-1 visa, please note that the Sigur Center can still facilitate your visa but the Center’s research suite is closed, so please account for virtual access to resources even if you are physically in the Washington, DC area. Non-resident scholar applicants continue with minimal disruptions as this status is best suited for those already in the area, remote for their entire affiliation, or do not require a J-1 visa.
If you are interested in being considered for a resident or non-resident Visiting Scholar affiliation, please submit a complete application by email, fax, or mail; applications are accepted on a rolling basis to meet demand. Only complete application packages will be considered. Please direct general inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit complete applications to Dr. Miriam Grinberg, Manager of Research Programs, at email@example.com.
- A completed Sigur Center Visiting Scholars Application Form
- A detailed description of the research project (one page), which must be on a topic relating to Asia. Successful examples are listed under Research.
- A description of what resources in the area or virtually that you will use
- A detailed resume or CV
- Two letters of recommendation in English
With the expansion of the program in 2019 to year-round applications, please consider your application and research timeline in conjunction with the complexity of paperwork that may be required, such as procuring visa sponsorship. We will try to work with applicants’ deadlines*, including those imposed by funding organizations, so please let us know in your application’s funding section if applicable.
Under normal conditions, it is strongly recommended to submit a complete application as early as possible, but at least 4 months before your desired affiliation start date for all applicants. Due to COVID complications, scholar timelines will be handled on a case by case basis, though all processes will take longer than usual. Additionally, please factor in extra time for visa appointment delays, rescheduled flights, quarantine time, etc. Examples of common situations include:
- A visiting scholar applicant who needs a J-1 visa, and would like to begin their affiliation this fall and then come to the US as soon as possible should still expect at least 4 months of processing for their visa and 1-2 months to start accessing research resources.
- A visiting or non-resident scholar who does not need a visa and plans to never physically interact with staff or campus resources during their affiliation period should expect 1-2 months to start accessing research resources.
*Applicants to the China Scholarship Council (CSC) are strongly encouraged to send their complete application package 5 months before the deadline as a number of questions or changes often occur and may take a month to resolve. Applicants to the CSC and Fulbright programs are welcome to clarify in the application’s funding section if they would like to independently continue their candidacy and source(s) of funding if they are not selected for the fellowship; the invitation letter will be issued with clarified conditional language and cannot be easily altered for revised dates. Otherwise, CSC and Fulbright applicants’ affiliation is contingent on securing the award.
We welcome applications from candidates all over the world. Once the Sigur Center has agreed to host a scholar, and the scholar has accepted the invitation, it is expected that the scholar will withdraw any other applications to potential host institutions.
Proposed research terms are usually 3-12 months long for resident Visiting Scholars, while non-resident scholars may have a longer duration of affiliation. Please clearly state your desired term at the top of the application. By the end of each affiliation term, scholars are required to make an intellectual contribution about their research in the form of an oral presentation or written report.
Projects can range in topic as long as they are focused on Asia to a significant degree. The Sigur Center’s areas of special interest include the legacy of colonialism and war in contemporary Asia; regionalism and multilateral institution-building in the Asia Pacific region; and the international consequences of domestic developments; but we welcome projects on other Asia-related topics, especially those related to South and Southeast Asia.
Previous research projects include:
- “Think tanks’ role in US Policy towards Myanmar”
- “America’s ‘Gray Zone’ Strategy in the US-China Trade War”
- “Soft Power Influences in the Indo-Pacific”
- “Geopolitics, mapping, and border-making in the Himalayas”
- “Taiwan’s New South Bound Policy: SWOT and Cross-domain strategy analysis”
Applications will be evaluated by the Elliott School of International Affairs and the Sigur Center. If accepted, a bench fee of up to $1,000 per month may apply for visiting scholars. Due to the high volume of Visiting Scholar applications and limited office space, accepted visiting scholars have access to a research suite equipped with six workstations, in addition to the main university library’s workstations and a VPN service that connects your personal device to the research network “eduroam.” Non-residents can access on-campus facilities but do not have access to the Sigur research suite.
The Sigur Center does not supply fellowships, scholarships, or funding of any kind to visiting scholars at this time. Please keep in mind that visiting scholar applicants will have to secure funding from an organization, government, or provide proof of personal funds before a visa can be issued.