SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Sino-British Fellowship Trust

SOAS receives a generous grant from the Sino-British Fellowship Trust (SBFT), established by the late Dr Elizabeth Frankland Moore, to support individual or co-operative research projects. Research may be conducted either in Britain or in China, or in both countries. Small grants up to £2,000 are available.

Grant information

The grants are given by the Sino-British Fellowship Trust to eligible members of SOAS and are administered on its behalf by the SOAS China Institute. Grant applications are normally considered by a committee of the SCI, which evaluates and decides on applications shortly after three deadlines in the academic calendar by when applications must be submitted. 

Award value

The maximum value for an individual grant is normally £2,000, although this upper limit may be waived in exceptional cases.


The closing dates for application are:  31 March, 15 June, and 31 October

Claim procedure

If an allocated grant is not used within two months of the date on which the successful award letter is sent, the grant will be returned to the SCI for reallocation to another candidate. No claim for expenses will be considered beyond two weeks after the completion of the activity for which the grant is made.  An applicant who plans ahead is asked to inform the SCI in advance that an application will be submitted at one of the later cut-off points, but must apply in time for the funding to be disbursed and used within two months of its allocation.  For an event scheduled to take place beyond two months of the allocation but before the next application deadline, an applicant is asked to purchase the air-tickets and/or (where possible) disburse other approved expenses within the two months period. 

Before completing this form, please ensure you have read the terms of reference for the SBFT grants, reproduced below, and verify that the application meets at least one of the five specific purposes outlined.  An application that fosters collaborative research, particularly with a view to laying the ground work for an application for a major grant will be given priority in funding, but it will not be funded unless it meets the terms of reference below.  

Terms of Reference

1) The Sino-British Fellowship Trust (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) is a Charity registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales, with the charitable purpose to advance education for the public benefit by providing grants to support academic exchanges between the UK and China.

2) SBFT (CIO) only provides grants:

a) to enable academic staff and senior postgraduate candidates at higher education institutions in Britain to undertake study or research, to attend or participate in academic and professional conferences in China.

b) to enable academic staff and senior postgraduate candidates at higher education institutions in China to undertake study or research, to attend or participate in academic and professional conferences in Britain.

c) to support academic staff and senior postgraduate scholars in the study of Chinese languages.

d) to support academic exchanges and collaborative studies between academic staff, and senior postgraduate scholars, in Britain and China.

3) Grants are provided for travel, subsistence and living costs only.

4) Most SBFT grants are provided to organisations. Organisations administering grants on behalf of the CIO must only apply grant funds for the purposes set out in 2 and 3 above, and no others. Individual grants may be awarded in exceptional cases where funds permit.

5) SBFT is a charity promoting academic exchange between two countries in order to deepen an unfettered understanding of each society. The principles outlined in the Universities UK paper Managing Risks in Internationalisation: Security Related Issues are considered a useful starting point in addressing the challenges this presents.

6) Grants will be considered for studies in the humanities and sciences which fulfil the charitable purpose of the Trust. A list of subjects in which grants have regularly been approved is given in the Annex. The Trustees will also consider applications for grants outside these fields which in their opinion demonstrate public benefit. Preference is given to support for research areas where alternative funding sources are limited.

7) Candidates should have recognised ability and experience in academic, professional or public life. Again, preference is given to candidates who have limited access to other funding sources, and who have had limited opportunities for travel abroad.

8) Candidates must:

Either a) have been accepted by an institution for a course of study
Or b) have the approval of their institution for their proposed field trip, conference visit or other research visit.

9) General conditions covering grants:

a) In the light of the requirement in paragraph 7 above, candidates will normally be over 25 years of age, but those under 25 can be considered where fulfilment of this requirement can be demonstrated.

d state of health, sufficient to complete their proposed research.

c) Candidates should provide confirmation that they have the approval of their institution for the proposed visit. Where this has not yet been received, the Trustees may at their discretion make a provisional award subject to confirmation of the approval.

d) Candidates should provide a detailed budget to support the grant request.

e) Candidates should confirm they have the language skills required by their host organisation.

f) SBFT funding can only be used for the support of the grant awardee, not for dependents.

g) Candidates must report to the Chairman of Trustees of the Sino-British Fellowship Trust as agreed, and submit a written report at the conclusion of their project. Where a grant is given for study or research at another institution, a report from the candidate’s host organisation is also required.

h) Candidates must abide by the regulations of the Institution being visited.

i) A Grant may not be used for purposes of travel or residence outside the United Kingdom or China.


Fields in which grants have regularly been approved by the Trustees:

  • Physical Sciences (including Mathematics)
  • Life Sciences: Social, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences: Technology (including Engineering), Medicine and Health
  • Education: Humanities, Liberal arts, Chinese language studies

SOAS staff and research students (over the age of 25) visiting China are eligible, as are senior staff and research students at Chinese institutions visiting SOAS.

SOAS research students will also be required to provide a reference from their main supervisor supporting the application, including an assessment of the stage of work and the prospect for completing the PhD. 

Applicants for grants related to the study of Chinese languages, and for academic exchanges and collaborative studies, may also apply, but will be referred to the Trust for advice.

The allocation of grants is currently overseen by SOAS China Institute ( to whom questions about eligibility or suitability should be directed.

Application Procedure

Complete and return the below application form.

Sino-British Fellowship Application Form

Send to:

Li-Sa Whittington, SCI Executive Officer. SOAS China Institute, Rm S130, Paul Webley Wing, Senate House.

Or email to

Successful Applicants

  • If an allocated grant is not used within two months of the date on which the successful award letter is sent, the grant will be returned to the SCI for reallocation to another candidate.
  • A short report must be provided within two weeks of the project/event concluding. The report should include:

    - Departmental affiliation
    - Acknowledgement of the Sino-British Fellowship Trust
    - A summary of the project (100 words max)
    - The impact of the funding (250 words max)
    - 1 photo related to the project
    - Actual amount used

Past Recipients