The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) has established the Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Overseas) since 2021. This is a complementary new program to the prestigious Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Domestic), which was established back to 2012 and is only open to domestic applicants working in Chinese institutions.


Program Positioning

The Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Overseas) aims to support outstanding young scholars from overseas (including non-Chinese international applicants) who have made important achievements in natural science, engineering & technology. This grant aims to support them carrying out innovative research in Chinese affiliations (e.g., universities, research institutions, etc.), to push scientific and technological frontiers for the human-being.


Funding Details

  1. Funding amount: RMB from 1 to 3 million
  2. Funding period: 3 years

Supporting Institutions

Each applicant should have a supporting institution in China which is willing to support the application and offer appropriate working conditions in carrying out research activities once the research proposal gets funded. The NSFC application system will be opened after February 22, 2021.


Required Conditions

Applicants of Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Overseas) should meet the following conditions:

  1. Should abide by the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China;
  2. Should be born AFTER September 1, 1980;
  3. Should hold a doctorate degree;
  4. Research directions should be within the broad areas of natural science, engineering technology, etc.;
  5. Before April 30, 2021, applicant should have worked outside China for more than 36 months continuously, including holding official positions in universities, research institutions, industrial research agencies, etc. For those who have obtained a doctorate degree overseas and have exceptional academic performance, the requirements of work experience may be appropriately relaxed;
  6. Applicants shall have experts providing strong recommendation letters in recognizing their research achievements and identifying their strong potentials in innovative research.
  7. Applications CAN be fully considered for applicants who are NOT working in China. Also, applications CAN be fully considered if applicants started working in China AFTER September 1, 2019. Once the research proposal gets approved, each applicant outside China MUST resign from their current working positions or remain unemployed, and then join a Chinese affiliation (such as their Supporting Institutions mentioned before) to hold a full-time position for at least 3 years in carrying out this granted research project.


  1. The Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Overseas) should abide by the regulations that applicants should NOT hold funded projects more than the maximum limit, according to the National Natural Science Fund Guide (the Year of 2021).
  2. Applicants who already submitted applications this year for the Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Domestic) should NOT submit applications for the Program (Overseas). Applicants who are undertaking the Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Domestic) in the current year are NOT allowed to apply for the Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Overseas).

Application Instructions

Notes for applicants

  1. Eligible applicants is encouraged to sign a work contract or an agreement of intent with supporting institutions according to the requirements of the program guidelines, and log in the information system after March 22, 2021 to fill out the Application for Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Overseas). Applicants are responsible for the authenticity of the submitted application materials.
  2. Applicants should complete the Application in simplified Chinese or English and upload attachments and other materials in accordance with the instructions and outline of the Application.
  3. The Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Overseas) only accepts paperless applications. Applicants should submit online for the electronic Application and attachments, the commitment of impartiality, etc. to the supporting institutions, and the supporting institutions review and submit online for the Application to the NSFC.

Notes for supporting institutions

  1. Supporting institutions should carefully organize the application process and ensure the authenticity, completeness and compliance of the application materials.
  2. Supporting institutions should submit their electronic Applications and attachments before the specified program application deadline (April 30, 2021).
  3. Supporting institutions should submit their electronic applications to the NSFC with item-by-item confirmation through the information system after signing commitment.

Contact Information

  • Contact: Ms. Ma
  • Email:

Related Links

  1. The link to the System for Supporting Institutions of Science Fund Program for Distinguished Young Scholars (Overseas),
  2. Link to the information system of program application,
  3. Guidelines in Chinese,

Huzhou Institute of Zhejiang University (HI of ZJU)

Huzhou Institute (HI) of Zhejiang University (ZJU) was established in 2020, which is a research & development intensive institution. It is located in the City of Huzhou, Zhejiang Province. The R & D emphasis includes industrial automation, robotics, sensing, industrial internet and smart cities. The Institute mission is Innovation & Connection, which builds a strong bridge between ZJU and industrial technology applications. A fully new ZJU-Huzhou Distinguished Fellow program will be announced soon, which builds a channel to shift smoothly between professors, entrepreneurs and research scientists. An exciting introduction of the Institute in English is now available at Welcome to join HI of ZJU!

Zhejiang University (ZJU, is one of China’s top higher education institutions, as well as one of its oldest; its roots can be traced back to 1897 and the founding of the TRUTH (the similar pronunciation as Qiushi in Chinese) Academy. Located in Hangzhou – one of China’s most picturesque cities – the University is organized across seven faculties and 37 schools. It is home to 3,941 full-time faculty members, including 50 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. ZJU has 62,122 students (including part-time students), over 54% of whom are postgraduate students. Laying claim to several areas of research strength, ZJU currently ranks among the top 3 on Chinese mainland and within the top 100 in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings and QS World University Rankings (No. 54 in 2020). ZJU has partnerships in place with more than 190 institutions from more than 30 countries worldwide.