KF decided to support doctoral students for a number of reasons. First, doctorates in the study of Buddhism, like those in the humanities in general, take longer to complete than those in the sciences, technology, and engineering. Second, although many doctoral programs in North America and Asia provide support during the years before advancement to candidacy (usually up to 4 years), this financial support often ends upon candidacy. And finally, following advancement to candidacy, research for the dissertation usually takes one to two years and often requires international travel. However, funding to support research abroad is quite limited.
After careful research and deliberation, KF offered doctoral student support to eight universities to inaugurate the program. More universities, especially those in Asia, will be considered for support in the future. The eight universities are:
University of California, Berkeley, United States
University of Arizona, United States
Northwestern University, United States
McMaster University, Canada
Leiden University, The Netherlands
University of Naples, Italy
University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
University of Sydney, Australia
The KF Academic Development Committee decided to allow universities to address their own unique needs in selecting their awardees. For example, two universities decided to offer all four years of support to two entering doctoral students, both international students and therefore ineligible for other support. Another university decided to offer one year of support for a student completing his dissertation. And a third university divided the award between two students who were doing dissertation research.
Moreover, this support can reach beyond the boundaries of an individual university. For example, Khenpo Yeshe, a brilliant Buddhist scholar monk and the grantee at UC Berkeley, comes from a remote village in Tibet. Two doctoral grant recipients at the University of Arizona are from China; the two shared the award for this year and are in their fourth and fifth years of PhD studies. Professor Johnathan Silk and his colleagues at Leiden University decided to give this award to a promising young scholar, Alex Meng, who just completed his MA at Fudan University. Alex was also a recipient of KF’s Award of Excellence in Buddhist Studies in 2018.
In addition to this institutional program directly arranged with select universities, Khyentse Foundation also offers a PhD Program and Research scholarship, which is open for application by individual students. The program accepts applications once a year, from June 15 to July 15.