Hailed as the greatest Chinese intellectual historian of his generation, internationally renowned scholar Yu Ying-Shih won the Tang Prize in Sinology in 2014, a well-deserved honor that matches his significant academic accomplishments. Humble and generous, Prof. Yu decided to use the NT$10 million (approx. US$0.35 million) research grant offered by the Tang Prize Foundation to set up a fellowship the next generation of researchers. It has been run for five years, awarded 30 young scholars with a scholarship ranging between NT$240,000 and NT$360,000, and continued to provide the study of Chinese culture with renewed impetus.
Established in December 2012, the Tang Prize awards major achievements in four fields, namely Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology and Rule of Law. Apart from a cash prize of NT$40 million (approx. US$1.40 million), a medal, and a diploma, a research grant of NT$10 million is also allocated to each award category to help laureates nurture promising young talent.
To fulfill Prof. Yu’s wish, in 2015, the Tang Prize Foundation entrusted the Institute of History and Philology of Academia Sinica with running the “Yu Ying-Shih Fellowship for the Humanities.” From then until May 2019, in total 198 applications were submitted and 30 PhD candidates and young scholars were rigorously selected to be the recipients. After getting their degrees, many of them either became postdoctoral fellows in the humanities or obtained a lectureship in universities. Tu Feng-en, one of the recipients of the 2016 Dissertation Scholarship, got his PhD from Columbia University’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and was appointed editor-in-chief of Linking Publishing Company in June 2020.
To cultivate the talents of up-and-coming young researchers in the humanities, each year, Dr. Huang Chin-shing of the Institute of History and Philology would invite experts and scholars around the world to select people with great potential and under the age of 45 to receive the Yu Ying-Shish Fellowship. Three of them for the Academic Publication Scholarship, each getting NT$ 360,000, and three of them for the Dissertation Scholarship, each getting NT$ 240,000. Over the course of five years, as much as NT$1.8 million has been awarded annually. Without doubt, the fellowship has helped senior humanities scholars pass the torch onto their most gifted successors.