Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship

The Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship programme is a six-month residential fellowship. The Fellow will undertake research on the collections of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library and the National Archives of Singapore. These materials include historical materials dating from the 16th century on Singapore and Southeast Asia and contemporary collection.

About the Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship


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The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library holds significant and early works documenting the history of Singapore and the region, which include imprints from Singapore’s earliest printing presses, early European accounts of Southeast Asia, early maps and charts of the region and archives of prominent Singapore authors. The National Archives of Singapore holds records of national or historical significance acquired from public agencies, private sources and overseas institutions and archives.

We welcome applications from curators, historians, academics or independent researchers with established records of achievement in their chosen fields of research. Those pursuing doctoral, postdoctoral or advanced research are also encouraged to apply.

Recipients are expected to remain in residence at the library, located in the central district of Singapore, during the period of their fellowship and to focus their time on researching the collections in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Besides a monthly stipend for six months, overseas recipients are provided with a one-time relocation allowance, monthly accommodation allowance and reimbursement of a return economy class air ticket.


Preference will be given to the following fields of research for 2024:

Critical inquiry on Singapore contemporary literature or theatre from the 1950s  
Comparative study of early Singapore and/or Malaya from western and Asian scholarship and perspectives 
Arts and culture in Singapore and Malaya from the early 20th century to independence – exploring the development of the visual, performing or literary arts amongst the general population, specific ethnic or under-represented communities  
Study of World War II materials through donor’s materials such as Toshio Egawa’s collection, Lim Shao Bin’s collection.
Social history of pre-independent Singapore (Malaya)
Study of Chinese community through clan association materials such as Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan’s collection, Chin Kang Huay Kuan’s collection and Kim Mui Hoey Kuan’s collection 
Natural history and Biodiversity 
Development of economic sectors, professions and trades in Singapore within the context of historical global developments 
Area history of places and spaces in Singapore 
Study of the cultural heritage of Asia through the Asian Children’s Literature Collection



The Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship is open to both local and foreign applicants who are able to undertake prescribed research topics that raise awareness of our collections. Successful applicants should have scholarly and research credentials or their equivalent. The Library welcomes applications from curators, historians, academics or independent researchers with established records of achievement in their chosen fields of research. Scholars pursuing doctoral, postdoctoral or advanced research are also encouraged to apply. They should preferably have an established record of achievement in their chosen field of research and the potential to excel further.

The award of the Fellowship is for a period of six months.

A stipend of S$3,500 per month will be provided to help Lee Kong Chian Research Fellows meet living expenses, local transportation and photocopying expenses.

In addition to the stipend, overseas Fellows will be provided with a one-time relocation package of $1,500, a one-time return airfare of up to $1500 (reimbursement basis), and monthly accommodation allowance of up to $3,500 (reimbursement basis).

All Fellows will also be provided with the following: 

  • A research space at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library including a computer with internet access
  • Access to the library's collections
  • Introduction to a library staff who can recommend resources from the collections

All Fellows are required to sign a Fellowship agreement abiding to the following:

  • Stay in Singapore and spend at least 75% of their work time during their Fellowship at the Library.
  • Give at least one public presentation to staff, and another to members of the public based on their fellowship research.
  • Complete a resource guide based on their research findings. A resource guide is an annotated bibliography on the subject to inform users the resources to a research topic. It should highlight important sources and explain why they are so; and the key readings for each aspect (e.g. key theoretical approaches, seminal titles, etc.) of the research topic.
  • Complete a 3,000-word and a 6,000-word paper based on their research findings within three months of the end of their fellowship. Submissions should include 6 to 8 images with minimum footnotes and a list of references.
  • Give the National Library Board the first right to publish the results of their research, where appropriate, including repackaging of content in different formats. All papers submitted for publishing will be subjected to editorial changes where necessary.
  • Provide the National Library Board a written analysis of the Fellowship experience within one month of the end of the Fellowship period.
  • Research Fellows will also provide advice on collection gaps to help build research competency within the National Library.
  • Present the Library with a copy of any published work that was researched for during the course of the fellowship. The published work must acknowledge the support of the National Library of Singapore.

Failure to fulfil any of the obligations will result in the recipient having to forfeit the monthly stipend as well as other expenses incurred in the course of the Fellowship. The final instalment of the monthly stipend will be paid on completion of the obligation.

  • The National Library Board will have publishing rights to all research conducted under the Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship. Fellows must agree to assign such rights that will allow the National Library Board to publish the research both in digital and physical format as well as to repackage the materials.
  • The National Library Board will reserve the right to publish a research report series resulting from the Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship.
  • The research report series will have its own unique branding as determined by the National Library Board.

Fellowship applicants will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Research should be original.
  • Research uses the library and archives’ collections.
  • Research can be conducted within 6 months.
  • Applicant possesses high level of competency as indicated by referees, transcripts, research experience and other academic achievements.
  • Application should show a good understanding of proposed research topic in the proposal.

As an awarded overseas candidate, here’s what you would need to do:

  1. Sign your fellowship agreement
  2. Apply for the relevant work pass (assisted by NLS)
  3. Book your air ticket
  4. Look for accommodation
  5. Get your work pass issued
  6. Start a bank account
  7. Get telecommunication & internet plans
  8. Getting to NLS

Candidates will be furnished with more information upon awarding.

Each application must include a completed application form

Applications should be emailed to LKCRF@nlb.gov.sg or mailed to the following address by 31 May 2024.

Attention to:

The Administrator
Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship
National Library Headquarters
National Library Board
100 Victoria Street, #14-01, Singapore 188064

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made known within 3 months of the closing date.

For further information about the Fellowship, please email us at LKCRF@nlb.gov.sg.


Hear from our Fellows

The National Library Board is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship 2023.

Kelvin Ng Jia Win
Yorim Dominique Spoelder
Christina Wu

Curious about the National Library’s Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship?

Find out what our Fellows have to say about the fellowship and its benefits.