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NMS Research Fellowship 2019




The National Museum of Singapore (NMSRF) Research Fellowship programme is intended to cultivate in young local scholars research capabilities and pride in Singapore’s history and material culture, particularly through the Museum’s rich artefact collections, as well as the use of archival documents available at public institutions in Singapore. It aims to contribute to the knowledge and understanding on Singapore’s social, political and cultural history.

The Fellowship programme is in line with the broader National Heritage Board framework of developing thought leadership in the heritage, cultural and museological sector.

Our Collections

The NMS collection contains over 120,000 artefacts and artworks reflecting Singapore’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. The collection dates from the early 14th century to our recent past, comprising a wide range of materials. Among others this includes archaeological remains, maps, historical portraits, paintings, drawings, folklife items, photographs, and garments.

Researchers are encouraged to utilise the NMS collection in the course of their research work. The collections are available for study online via or our catalogue database. If physical access to the collection is required, a written request and prior appointment has to be made.

Scope for Pilot Programme

The award of the pilot programme is for a period of up to six months.

The call for applications will close on 17 May 2019 and results of the award will be announced within two months.

The preferred research areas based on topic or collection for this pilot Fellowship cycle are:

  1. Singapore’s place in the Johor-Riau sultanate pre-1819
  2. The William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings
  3. Visual representations of Singapore from the 19th century to the 1970s
  4. Travel and trade in colonial Singapore
  5. Education in colonial & post-war Singapore
  6. The role of women in Singapore’s early nation-building, 1940s to 1970s
  7. Industrialisation in Singapore, 1960s to 1980s
  8. Singapore's public housing policies, 1950s to 1980s
  9. Healthcare, medicine and family planning in Singapore, 1950s to 1970s
  10. Urban planning, greening and water management in Singapore, 1950s to 1970s
  11. History of fashion, architecture and graphic design in Singapore
  12. History of museums and exhibition making in Singapore


The programme is opened to all Citizens and Permanent Residents of Singapore who are Masters’ and PHD holders, including PhD candidates.

Terms of the Award

Awarded Fellows must commence their Fellowship within a month of the award, unless otherwise agreed upon.

A stipend of between S$2,000 to $5000 per month will be provided to help cover all expenses such as living expenses, local transportation, photocopying expenses, copyright clearance, overseas travel and access to libraries.

The final rate of monthly stipend will be determined by the educational qualifications of the Fellow.

Requirements of the Fellowship

The selected candidate is required to sign a Fellowship and a non-disclosure agreement.

Fellows are to provide a monthly report of their research findings as well as to deliver the following at the end of their fellowship:

Complete a 10,000-word essay based on their research findings
Deliver a public lecture on their fellowship research
Deliver an internal sharing with NHB staff on their research findings
Fellows are to grant NMS the rights to publish their research on any other platforms and where required, to be edited for different purposes or audiences.

Fellows are to deposit with NMS a copy of any published work that was researched for and during the course of the fellowship. The published work must acknowledge the support of the National Museum of Singapore.

Use of Research

The final essay of their research will be considered for a planned museum journal to be published by NMS.

The contents of the research, can at NMS’ discretion, be used on several platforms including in exhibition galleries, publications and catalogues. The Fellow’s contributions will be appropriately acknowledged.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:
  • Applicant’s strengths as indicated by transcripts, past research experience, academic achievements and referees’ references.
  • Strength of applicant’s proposal to meaningfully engage the National Museum’s collections.
  • Applicant’s research, writing and analytical skills as evidenced in the proposal.

Instructions to Applicants

Each application must include:
  1. A completed application form. Please download form here.

  2. A Curriculum Vitae

  3. Proof of academic achievements

  4. A detailed research proposal stating the methodology, outcomes and significance of the proposed research. The proposal should be written in English and should not exceed 10 pages, excluding references.

  5. Two published or unpublished academic essays or articles 

Applicants are required to submit their applications in soft copy (the total no of files should not exceed 10MB) to and to submit two hard copies of the same to:

NMS Fellowship Grant
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road 
Singapore 178897

The submission deadline for all applications for this pilot programme is 17 May 2019. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

For further information about the Fellowship, please contact 

View our EDM for The National Museum of Singapore Research Fellowship programme here!


About National Museum of Singapore

Established as an institution dedicated to spurring intellectual inquiry in the region, the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) is the nation’s oldest museum tracing its inception to 1823. Since the early 20th century, the museum had acquired a scholarly reputation with its strong collection of books, zoological specimens and ethnological artefacts. From its early days as Raffles Library and Museum to its transformation into a socio-history and cultural museum after independence, the museum’s collection and focus has changed alongside the nation and audience. It is the pioneer museum in the history of Singapore and has existed continuously as a public museum throughout its history. Today its exhibitions and programmes present multiple perspectives of history and culture, redefining the museum experience through cutting edge technologies. In recent years, the museum has spearheaded scholarly discussions and research on the interrogation of narratives, methods of presentation, and the museum experience. The museum’s research focus has therefore expanded beyond historical and collection research to include museological research as it seeks to continually stay relevant and ahead of its time.


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