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Note: The application for STF 2018 is officially closed. The programme ran from 28 May to 7 July this year. 


The research topic for the STF 2018 is “Technological Innovation and Rural China”.

Recently, Chinese technological innovation has attracted media interest from around the world. Meanwhile, the Chinese countryside continues to face significant challenges, such as poverty, depopulation, and backwardness. How can China use technology and innovative thinking to change the impoverished appearance of its vast countryside, improve the lives of its rural population, and close the gap between urban and rural areas?

We encourage applicants to frame their research proposal with the following fields in mind:
1)  E-commerce and the change of rural Chinese society
2)  Agricultural transformation in China
3)  Environmental protection in the countryside
4)  Big data and the transformation of industry in impoverished areas


Successful applicants will participate in a one-week group tour of several Chinese technology ventures and then be split into small groups by research theme and conduct fieldwork on selected topics for four weeks.

The STF will facilitate academic support and find field site locations for the fellows.

During the last week of the program fellows will return to Shanghai to give lectures and attend workshops.


This program is open to young professionals with less than five years’ working/research experience. We will not exclude applicants on the basis of nationality or academic field, although those with backgrounds beneficial to each year's topics will be given preference.

Applicants should possess a strong command of written English and spoken Chinese. An active presence on social media is a plus as we expect the STF could recieve active social engagement.

Publication requirements

We hope the effort put into the field research will result in some tangible outcome at the end of the STF. While in China, each fellow will be responsible for writing at least one approximately 800-word commentary article, to be published on the Sixth Tone Website. At the end of their fellowship, each of them must submit a 2,000-word policy report based on their fieldwork to both Sixth Tone and the Fudan Development Institute. In addition, fellows will give a seminar at the FDDI, reporting on the results of their research. Fellows are encouraged to use their field notes in their future academic work.


Sixth Tone will pay for a round trip airline ticket to Shanghai, all fieldwork related transportation costs incurred within China, as well as food, housing, and health insurance.


May 20 to June 29, 2018

How to apply

Applicants should send the following materials to fellowship@sixthtone.com.

1) Completed Application Form (Download Application Form)
2) Personal resume (1 page)
3) Two letters of recommendation
4) Research proposal (4-6 pages, double-spaced)
5) Two or three samples of your past work to demonstrate your related research ability and story-telling skills for mass media.

Sixth Tone will invite a steering committee comprised of experts organized by the FDDI to review candidates’ application materials and make the final selections.

Applicants may have to demonstrate their proficiency in Chinese through a telephone or skype interview as being able to communicate with local residents is a must when doing field research in China.


Applications will be reviewed starting March 1st, 2018 Beijng Time. To receive full consideration, applications should be received by the end of Feb 28 Beijing time.