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The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Will Fund Fellowships to Further Buddhist Scholarship Worldwide

Offered in partnership with the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the grants reflect the Foundation’s belief in Buddhism’s relevance to contemporary issues.

(May 13, 2013 – Hong Kong) The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation announces a new set of grant programmes, offered in partnership withthe American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), to expand the understanding, interpretation and application of Buddhist philosophy in contemporary scholarship and society.  Specifically, the grants are intended to strengthen the international network of Buddhist studies, enhance its global impact, and increase the visibility of innovative currents in those studies.

“Believing that Buddhism has a vital role to play in addressing today’s challenges,” said Foundation Chairman Mr. Robert Y. C. Ho, “we are committing substantial resources to strengthening teaching and scholarship about Buddhism in modern society at leading universities worldwide.” The Ho family currently supports seven centers and programmes for Buddhist studies—in Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Foundation’s partner, ACLS, supports research through fellowships and grants awarded through peer review. It is the leading representative of American humanities scholarship nationally and internationally and one of the first U.S. organizations to promote the systematic study of world civilizations.

“We are honored to be part of this grant programme,” said ACLS President Pauline Yu.  “The study of religion is critical to the humanities and to how people bring meaning to their lives. Buddhism is a vital part of that study.”

In partnering with the Foundation, ACLS supports efforts to understand how Buddhist teachings and traditions are active today, especially in collaborations with other disciplines. The grants help provide opportunities for scholars to explore how “thinking with Buddhist ideas” can open up new perspectives on current issues, as well as Buddhist traditions.

Through discussions with scholars and leaders, the Foundation identified the greatest need for contemporary Buddhist studies to be in four areas: 1) Ph.D. dissertation fellowships, 2) post-doctoral opportunities, 3) collaborative research within the social sciences and humanities and 4) visiting professorships in contemporary Buddhism.

The poster of the movie Buddha served as the aesthetic inspiration for the press release of this set of grants from the RHNHFF.

By offering grants in these areas, the Foundation seeks to promote the visibility and vitality of Buddhist studies by supporting the most dynamic scholars in the field, with emphasis on innovative trends such as “critical and constructive reflection;” and expanding the engagement of Buddhist scholarship with other areas important to contemporary society.

For its part, ACLS developed parallel grant competitions in the four areas and will modify the programs as needed to achieve desired goals. In collaborative research grants, ACLS envisions supporting projects in which all principals contribute significantly to the joint work. For visiting professorships, ACLS will organize a competition to bring Buddhist studies scholars to host universities.

Dissertation Fellowships assist advanced graduate students at a critical point in their academic careers, helping them accelerate progress to the degree and prevent attrition in later stages of doctoral study. This one-year fellowship will allow Ph.D. candidates to devote full time to preparing dissertations.  The fellowship period may be used for fieldwork, archival research, analysis of findings, or for writing after research is complete. 

Postdoctoral Fellowships enable scholars early in their careers to establish scholarly credentials and strengthen their research records. This is especially valuable in emerging fields, where those just starting out often break new ground. These two-year fellowships provide funding that will allow recent recipients of the Ph.D. to revise the dissertation into a publishable manuscript or to begin the first new project after completion of the Ph.D. degree. 

Collaborative research grants foster interdisciplinary scholarship at a time when more and more contemporary issues cannot be adequately addressed by a single discipline. Recently, scholars across the university have shown a growing interest in the intellectual wealth of Buddhist studies and a desire to work with Buddhist studies specialists.

These grants will support work that may be interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary.  International and multilingual projects are encouraged.  Especially welcome are projects that relate several traditions in Buddhist studies to each other or that relate scholarship on the broad Buddhist tradition to contemporary concerns in other academic fields.

Visiting professorships in Buddhist studies enable universities without programs in the field to explore the contributions it could make to their institutions.  Institutions with existing programs of Buddhist Studies may strengthen their curricula and research capacity.  Institutions without such programs may accept a visiting professor as a means of exploring the contribution this field could make to the institution’s portfolio.  These grants will allow universities and colleges to host accomplished scholar-teachers in Buddhist Studies as visiting professors for one semester or one academic year.

Application guidelines are available at

About The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation

Established in Hong Kong in 2005 by Robert Hung Ngai Ho as a private philanthropic organization, the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation promotes understanding of Buddhism through Buddhist studies and Buddhist art. Its programmes include the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School; a centre and an endowed professorship in Buddhist studies at Stanford University; a centre for Buddhist art and conservation at The Courtauld Institute of Art; a gallery of Buddhist sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum and various exhibitions of Buddhist art.

Media Enquiry:

Janet Tong

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation

+852 2232 0001

[email protected] 

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