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ACMS Research Fellowship 2011

 Due to funding constraints the ACMS will not be able to offer the ACMS Research Fellowship in 2012.  Doctoral or post-doctoral researchers will be able to apply under the revised US-Mongolia Field Research Fellowship for 2012.

 For mor information please see:


The ACMS Research Fellowship Program will annually support up to three fellows to conduct up to 12-months of doctoral dissertation or post-doctoral research in Mongolia on topics in the Social Sciences or Humanities. Natural Science research is not eligible, unless there are clear areas in which the research furthers social, cultural, political, or policy knowledge relevant to Mongolia or the region. All applicants must be citizens of the US or Canada, and must be attending or recently graduated from a university in the US or Canada. The deadline for applications is February 15, 2011.

Rural Mongolia
Rural Mongolia
The program seeks to promote research opportunities in Mongolia among scholars who have not included the country in their previous research, and to broaden the knowledge base of scholars already working in the country. Previous Mongolian Studies experience is not required, but projects should enhance knowledge of Mongolia and the Mongols within relevant academic disciplines or fields of study. Projects that link research conducted in Mongolia to research in other parts of Asia or across academic fields are especially encouraged.

Fellowship awards will include travel expenses to and from Mongolia, an accommodation and food allowance, and a stipend to cover research expenses. Awards will be adjusted based on the length of time spent conducting research in the region with a maximum award of $27,000 per fellow. Fellows will also have the opportunity to take intensive Mongolian language courses, select resources for inclusion in the ACMS Library, and participate in an annual academic conference in Mongolia that will bring together international, regional and local scholars and students.

Research work under this program must begin between September 2011 and March 2012, and last for a continuous 6-12 months. Fellowship recipients must be based in Mongolia for the duration of their fellowship, but research travel in the broader region is encouraged. The 12-month term will allow recipients to stay in Mongolia for the academic year, which runs from September to June, and the summer months, which offer the best weather for field research.

The ACMS offices in the US and Ulaanbaatar will be available to assist program participants by providing services such as pre-departure information on Mongolia, assistance with travel arrangements to and from Mongolia and within the country, assistance locating and renting appropriate living accommodations, networking with local and international scholars, contacts with Mongolian institutions, research approvals, and assistance with visa and registration requirements. Fellowship recipients will have the opportunity to participate in Mongolian language courses and resources developed by the ACMS. Depending on the course schedules, such courses may be available both before departure for Mongolia and during the time in country. The ACMS regularly hosts visiting scholars, and provides a wide range of services, as outlined on the ACMS website under the Services link. Fellowship recipients will be able to access all ACMS services, including access to the ACMS library and available internet and web resources.

Urban Mongolia
Urban Mongolia
In an effort to support the fellowship recipients’ research and build the collection of scholarly material available in Mongolia, each recipient may request library materials to be purchased for inclusion in the ACMS collection that are important for his/her research or field of study. The ACMS librarian will also regularly purchase items in each recipient's field of study to improve the overall holdings available to all researchers. These materials will be purchased for the ACMS library collection in Ulaanbaatar using designated funds from the fellowship program and the ACMS library acquisition budget, and will be available to the scholar during his/her research in Mongolia.

Fellowship recipients will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs and projects sponsored by the ACMS, including an annual academic conference in Ulaanbaatar hosted by the ACMS and supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. The three fellowship recipients will help select the theme for the conference, and each will be asked to introduce and discuss their research work at the conference. Conference participants will include international, regional and local scholars and students.

Questions about the program should be directed to Funding for the program is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. For more information on the Henry Luce Foundation, please visit:

Background Information

Knowledge of Mongolia and the Mongols is critical to gain a full understanding of both the historical and contemporary framework of Asia. The lush grasslands that are now Mongolia were a regional crossroads and supported several important civilizations even before Chinggis Khan and his descendants built the empire that reordered the continent. The Mongols play a key role in the history of almost all countries from East Asia to the Middle East, both through their conquests and the impact made by the Mongol settlers who scattered across Asia and remain today.

Historical Mongolia
Historical Mongolia
Throughout the twentieth century Mongolia played an important role as the first Communist state in Asia and a key location in the hot and cold wars between the great powers in the region. In recent years Mongolia has been the only country in Asia to successfully transition from Communism to a market economy and open democracy, and it offers an interesting case study of a small country attempting to develop an independent economy and foreign policy while balancing the interests of its very powerful neighbors and its “third neighbor,” the United States. Despite its important role in the region, most Asian Studies scholars know little about Mongolia and the Mongols, and Mongolian Studies has remained a small, niche field within the academic world.

For over 70 years, Mongolia was closed to most researchers outside the Soviet-bloc. After the fall of Communism in 1990, Mongolia transformed itself into an open, democratic society that welcomes academic cooperation with all countries and across all fields of study. Today, a growing number of international scholars are conducting field research in Mongolia, studying topics such as Mongolia’s political and economic transformation from Communism to democracy and free markets, Mongolia’s contemporary role in North East Asia, the revival of Buddhism, Mongolia’s environment and wildlife, Mongolia’s enduring traditions of nomadic pastoralism and common property, the rise and fall of the Mongol Empire, and the archaeology of earlier inhabitants and civilizations on the Steppes. These scholars are redefining what is meant by “Mongolian Studies”, transforming a field that once included a small circle of dedicated specialists that focused on linguistics and text-based historical studies, into a field that encompasses a broad range of academic topics and historical periods from the Bronze Age to contemporary times.

The growing number of scholars working in Mongolia offers an opportunity to expand Mongolian Studies; however, the field also faces several challenges due to a lack of collaboration among researchers and the limited depth and breadth of knowledge of many new scholars. Many of the scholars conducting research in Mongolia do not identify themselves as Mongolian Studies specialists, but rather as researchers in particular disciplines, such as anthropology, history or sociology, who utilize Mongolia as a field research site. These scholars often do not have a deep understanding of the history, people and language of the region, and many do not have access to mentors with this knowledge. Research that is conducted is often published in disciplinary journals that are not familiar to researchers in other disciplines, and research is often presented to audiences with little knowledge of Mongolia. These factors affect the quality of research and prevent critical feedback and inter-disciplinary sharing and collaboration.

Modern Mongolia
Modern Mongolia
Based on the experience and information gathered in its six years of operation, the ACMS has determined that there is a critical need for dissertation and post-doctoral fellowships in Mongolian Studies to help develop a new generation of experts on the region. The pool of students qualified for such a program has increased exponentially in recent years, as evidenced by the growing number and quality of applicants for programs such as the ACMS Field Research Fellowship program and the student Fulbright program. Students who have gained exposure to Mongolia through programs such as these are now entering graduate schools and looking for ways to incorporate Mongolia as a field research site in their dissertation research.

Another focus for the fellowship program is students and scholars conducting research in other areas who might add Mongolia as a field research site. Because of politics, geography, language barriers and other constraints, Mongolian Studies has often been isolated from other related fields. Numerous opportunities exist for researchers working in fields such as anthropology and archaeology, religious studies, history, economics and political science, and regional studies of East and Central Asia to incorporate Mongolia into their field research efforts. Bringing researchers with experience in other regions to Mongolia will allow a better understanding of Mongolia’s broader historical and regional role and build connections between Mongolian Studies and other related fields of study.

Application Materials

Please read the following documents carefully and submit all application materials to or to American Center for Mongolian Studies, C/O Center for East Asian Studies, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706 by February 15, 2011:

Program Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions
1. All applicants must be citizens of the US or Canada, and must be attending or recently graduated from a university in the US or Canada. All applicants for dissertation fellowships must be able to demonstrate that they have completed required coursework for their programs and will have an accepted dissertation proposal prior to the start of their fellowship program. All postdoctoral fellows must have completed their PhD within 7 years of the start of their fellowship program. Applicants must provide evidence in their applications that these provisions will be met, and evidence that all requirements have been met before the fellowship funds will be disbursed.

2. Fellowship recipients must spend a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months of continuous time resident in Mongolia conducting their research projects under the fellowship program. All research projects must begin between September 2011 and March 2012. All fellows will be expected to work with the ACMS to identify resources related to their research work or field of study for the ACMS library. All fellows are required to co-organize an annual academic conference hosted in Ulaanbaatar by the ACMS under this fellowship program. Fellowship recipients will be required to communicate regularly with the ACMS Ulaanbaatar office to update the status of the research work during the term of the fellowship.

3. Research projects should focus on topics in the social sciences and humanities. Projects focused on topics in the natural sciences are not eligible unless there are clear areas where the research furthers knowledge of social, cultural, political, or policy knowledge about Mongolia and the region.

4. Applications must include all 6 required items and must be in English. All application materials must be received by the ACMS by February 15, 2011. Applications must be submitted by e-mail to  Letters of recommendations and transcripts may be submitted separately from other documents by email or mail, but they must be received by the application deadline.

5. All applicants must be current members of the ACMS to be considered for the program.

6. All travel between the US and Mongolia must be pre-approved and verified with the ACMS office to qualify for payment or reimbursement.

7. Fellowship funds for living and research stipends will be disbursed in regular installments by the ACMS, and will be conditional on satisfactory research progress and adherence to the conditions of the grant. A portion of the final fellowship stipend will be withheld until the recipient submits a final report on their fellowship experience.

8. Award recipients are responsible for paying all taxes related to their awards. The fellowship funds awarded are generally considered income in the United States, Canada, and/or Mongolia, and therefore must be reported to the tax authorities. The ACMS bears no responsibility for withholding or remitting taxes related to these awards.

9. Fellows are responsible for ensuring proper medical and evacuation insurance coverage during their time in the field in Mongolia. Proof of insurance coverage will be required before disbursement of fellowship funds.

10. The ACMS and Henry Luce Foundation reserves the right to adjust the amounts and types of awards given under this program, as well as the general terms and conditions, before award agreements are reached with each recipient.