Sylff PhD scholarship

Sylff Sussex PhD scholarship 2021 in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (2021)

This 3 year PhD fellowship for a UK PhD student is funded through the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) which supports students pursuing graduate studies in the humanities and social sciences. Sylff is a global fellowship program aimed at nurturing leaders who will initiate action to transcend differences and address issues confronting contemporary society. The aim is to promote peaceful, sustainable, and socially inclusive development.

Type of award

Postgraduate research

PhD project

The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) Program

The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund, or Sylff, is a fellowship program initiated in 1987 to support students pursuing graduate studies in the humanities and social sciences. To date, endowments of $1 million each have been presented to 69 universities and consortia in 44 countries.  Sussex is the only UK university to benefit from this investment and our Sussex values of Kindness, Integrity, Inclusion, collaboration and courage are very much in line with those of the Foundation. The Sylff program aims to identify and nurture leaders who will overcome differences in nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, and political systems to tackle global issues, and whose high integrity and drive to address issues unique to their respective countries can make a real difference. About 16,000 students have received fellowships since the program's launch, and many of these Sylff fellows have gone on to become leaders in a variety of fields following graduation.

The scholarship can fund research in any discipline in the arts, humnanities and social sciences,.You can see the type of projects undertaken by Sylff Fellows here.  The emphasis is on developing leadership skills to promote peaceful, sustainable, and socially inclusive development.



The full scholarship is £25,000 per year for 3 years and covers:

i)                  full tuition fee waiver for UK fees

ii)                 annual tax free living allowance at Research Council rates - currently £15,285 pa

iii)                annual amount for research expenses c£6,000

As a Sylff scholar you will be part of an international network of Sylff fellows and will be able to apply to the Sylff foundation for additional conference and networking funding and for a postdoctoral fellowship.


You are eligible to be considered for a Sylff fellowship if you are starting your PhD in September 2021 and if you are classed as a UK student for fee purposes - UK nationals and EU students liable for UK PhD fees.

Students liable for International fees are not eligible to apply

 In addition, research proposals will be in any area of  the social sciences or arts and  humanities fields.

  Assessment Criteria

In line with the ethos of the Sylff Foundation and with our Sussex 2025 Strategy , we are looking for doctoral researchers who are committed to:

  • Research with Impact -  research  which will create new agendas, contribute new knowledge and provide new ideas and solutions that will help to shape the world. We will challenge conventional thinking and discourses, offering inspiring and creative ways to understand and solve global issues.
  • Research which seeks to engage for change - interacting purposefully with people, organisations and communities at a local, regional, national or international level with the aim of bringing benefits to society at large, the economy and to the many individuals who are part of our world.
  • Academic excellence

We are interested in researchers who:

  • Have the ambition and drive to reach the stated goals
  • Have relevant work experience, or extra-curricular activity, in international affairs or community engagement

Number of scholarships available



1 March 2021 0:00 (GMT)

How to apply

Applicants will need to complete TWO applications in order to be considered for a Sylff scholarship:

  1. Applicants will need to apply online for a relevant PhD at Sussex      Deadline: Monday 1st March 2021
  2. Applicants must also complete the separate application for the scholarship which is attached at the foot of this page.

Deadline: Monday 1st March 2021

When completing the scholarship application applicants will also need to provide i) a Research Proposal Outline and ii) an academic CV

In addition, applicants will need to provide their University of Sussex application number when completing the scholarship application form (the application number will be provided once applicants have applied for a PhD).



The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) ( is a fellowship programme which supports students pursuing graduate studies in the humanities and social sciences.   The Sylff programme is a collaborative initiative of the Nippon Foundation, and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research.  Endowments at institutions of higher learning serve as sustainable sources of fellowships that support the education of outstanding students with high potential for leadership.


Contact us

Please email  if you have any queries



The deadline to apply for a PhD at the University of Sussex is:  Monday 1st March 2021

The deadline to submit a Sylff application is:  Monday 1st March 2021

All applicants will be informed of the outcome by:  30th April 2021


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
1 March 2021 0:00 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from the following country: