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The Rajkumar Faculty Fellowships will fund travel to Asia for selected UNC-Chapel Hill faculty. Two awards will be made in 2023.

One award can be used to conduct faculty research, form institutional partnerships, or attend a conference specifically in Singapore. In addition, Raj and Mary Rajkumar have agreed to expand the scope of the fellowship, so the second award can be used to conduct faculty research, form institutional partnerships, or attend a conference in any country within the remit of the Carolina Asia Center (also still including Singapore).

The next deadline for applications for both awards is February 15, 2024.

Competition for the awards is open to all tenured and tenure-track faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Carolina Asia Center will award selected faculty up to $5,000; priority will be given to those colleagues who have never before received a grant from this fellowship. The travel can take place in Summer 2024 or Academic Year 2024-25. We will work with faculty to be flexible about adjustments to travel in line with UNC international travel policies.

To submit an application, please send a two-page project description, your curriculum vitae and a proposed budget to Kevin W. Fogg,


Past Recipients

Shu Wen Ng, Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition, UNC School of Medicine

Much of my research in the past 7 years have been focused around chronic disease prevention via improving the food supply, food choices and eating behaviors. All of my work seeks to link research to policy.  The Rajkumar Faculty Fellowship provided me with resources to make a trip to Singapore in August 2019 to meet with members of Singapore’s Health Promotion Board to share research based on experiences from other countries where I and my colleagues work to help inform them on some new policies they are considering as part of Singapore’s “War on Diabetes.”

Additionally, I met with a number of faculty members at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Saw See Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH) and the Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information (WKWSCI). I learned more about some existing studies to explore how these may be used to help inform on future policy evaluation and what collaborative efforts around these may exist. The Rajkumar Faculty Fellowship provided a sign of commitment from UNC that I brought up to show institutional backing around exploring future collaborations between UNC and these universities.


Patrick Conway, Professor, Department of Economics, UNC Chapel Hill

My research considers the impact of emerging-economy participation in international trade, and I was pleased to be able to visit Singapore with the Rajkumar Faculty Fellowship to investigate recent developments in Singapore’s trade policy.  I worked with economists at the National University of Singapore and spoke with trade-policy specialists in the Government of Singapore to evaluate the impact on Singapore and its neighbors of the US decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  Singapore is a traditional leader among the emerging economies in its free-trade policies, and my visit to Singapore was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the efforts of its government to preserve its free-trade agreements during a time of trade wars elsewhere in the world.

I have also been the coordinator of the collaboration that the UNC Economics Department has with the NUS Economics Department in encouraging our undergraduates to earn a joint degree from the two universities.  My visit gave me the opportunity to work intensively with the NUS administrators in coordinating that degree program



Lorraine Aragon, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, UNC Chapel Hill

I research Southeast .Asian societies and cultural practices. I regularly teach survey courses that cover all 11 nations of Southeast Asia. I am currently researching and writing about the expansion of intellectual and cultural property laws to regulate Indonesian regional arts practices.

I traveled to Singapore to present talks and collaborate with faculty at the National University of Singapore. While there, I gave presentations titled ‘Cultural Enclosures: Intellectual Property Law and Regional Arts in lndonesia’ and ‘Ritual Arts, Temporality and Intellectual Property Developments in Indonesia.’ I also had the opportunity to conduct anthropological fieldwork in Singapore and Laos in May and June of 2018. This related to my ongoing book research project on intellectual property law and indigenous creative productions.

Pamela Lothspeich, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, UNC Chapel Hill

l research and teach courses on the Hindu epics-the Mahabharata and the Ramayana-and am interested in how these ancient stories still have deep relevance to many people today. Since 2006, l have been traveling to India whenever I can to see Ramlila, a form of theater that tells the story of the Ramayana. Recently, I completed a book manuscript on this subject. This is a follow-up to my first book about modern literary adaptations of the Mahabharata. I enjoy sharing my Ramlila research at conferences and local events and even curated a semester-long Ramlila exhibit at UNC, which included some of my photos and materials (costumes, props, etc.) used in Ramlilas.

I was delighted to receive the Rajkumar Faculty Fellowship to travel to Singapore for several weeks in July 2018. I am excited to develop connections that I made with faculty at the National University of Singapore (NUS), especially Professor Miguel Escobar Varela in the department of theatre studies, with whom I have continued to communicate via email. Professor Varela does research on Wayang theater (the shadow puppetry tradition of Java), which draws heavily on stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and has developed much digital content related to this form of theater. I hope to keep learning from him about how he uses the internet to share his work. Thank you so much for supporting my research and helping me to forge relationships with NUS faculty!”

Roger J. Narayan, Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University

My research group examines the use of laser-based additive manufacturing techniques, including laser-direct writing and two-photon polymerization, to process materials with micrometer scale and sub-micrometer scale features for medical applications. In particular, we have received funding from several U.S. governmental agencies as well as major medical device companies to pursue pioneering work involving use of two-photon polymerization for creating many types of small-scale medical devices, including microneedle­based sensors, microneedle-based drug delivery devices, tissue engineering scaffolds, micostructured bone prostheses and microstructured barbs for tissue joining.

I want to thank the Rajkumar Faculty Fellowship and Mr. and Mrs. Raj Rajkumar for their support that enabled me to serve as an organizer and invited speaker at the 12th International Conference on Ceramic Materials and Components for Energy and Environmental Applications in Singapore as well as visit professors Chee Kai Chua and Raju Ramanujan of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and professor Seeram Ramakrishna of the National University of Singapore to discuss research collaborations and form institutional partnerships.