Purdue University

Frequently Asked Questions



Where can I download the program brochure?

Click here to download the CSSP Program Brochure (PDF).
If you cannot access the PDF files, please download the free Adobe Reader.


Who directs the Chinese Spirituality and Society Program?

Dr. Fenggang Yang, Director of Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University.


Who funds this program?

This program is generously supported by John Templeton Foundation.  John Templeton Foundation has supported initiatives of dialogue between science and religion and the “Beijing Summit on Chinese Spirituality and Society: A Symposium of the Social Scientific Study of Religion”, which was held at Peking University on October 8-10, 2008.  The conference was reported by The People’s Daily, the Guangming Daily, the Chinese Ethnic News, and Social Sciences Weekly.


What kinds of research and research methods will be funded by CSSP?

Either qualitative or quantitative methods are appropriate. The project may involve case studies, national or regional questionnaire surveys, interviews, participant observation, etc.  You may use more than one research method, but the use of each research method must be rigorous and appropriate.  Using multiple methods may not always be better than using a single method. 


Can I be a principal investigator for both a research center grant and an individual grant?

No. A single person may not be the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of two grant applications. A scholar may be the principal investigator of one project and participate in another project in some other manner, but not as a principal investigator.


Am I allowed to submit more than one LOI?

No. Each scholar may only submit one LOI for either Research Center Grant or Individual Grant.  Scholars may be listed as a researcher on multiple LOIs/projects, but again they may only submit one LOI as the principal investigator.  


Do I need to be affiliated with a university or research institution?

Yes, you need to be affiliated with a university or an institute to be eligible.


Can an award from this program be used to support on-going research that is also supported by other funds?

Yes.  You must list the source, amount and usage of the other award in the LOI and full proposal and explain how you are going to use this award if granted.


Are research projects of religion in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau eligible?

Projects only focusing on religion in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are not eligible.  However, comparative studies that include mainland China and Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau are allowed.


When do funded projects begin and end?

Grants will be awarded for research conducted over a two-year period, beginning January, 2011.


Who will serve as the judges of the LOI and the invited full proposals?

The judges are bilingual scholars who are experts of Chinese religion and society.  Scholars who are submitting proposals to the CSS Program may not serve as judges. 


What are the evaluation criteria used by the judges?

Please visit the following page for detail information:



I applied as one of a team of scholars. If awarded, will all members of my team be invited to attend the workshops and final conference?

Only the principal investigator will be invited to attend the workshops.  Other researchers may apply to participate in the workshops at their own expenses. These cases will be considered in accordance with their particular situation.


Can scholars who have submitted the full proposal but not awarded attend the workshops?

No.  However, we will invite them to attend the final conference and provide some subsidies for transportation and accommodation.


If I am awarded, am I obligated to attend the training workshops and final conference?

All principal investigators of funded projects are obligated to prepare for and participate in the training workshops and the final conference. This is an important prerequisite for the later installments of the funding.






Where can I download the information for the Research Center Grants?

Click here to download the information for Research Center Grants (PDF).


Who is eligible to apply?

The person in charge of a research center or institute is eligible to apply for the grant. The project may involve multiple researchers within the center and collaborators in other universities. The center/institute must have demonstrated institutional support from the university and/or other relevant authorities, such as release time for the principal investigator, staff support, office space, financial support to the research or its related conference, and so on.


Can Research Center Grants include scholars from other countries or cities?

Grants will be awarded to a single institution in mainland China, but a project may include scholars from other universities or institutions in other countries. For example, a center in mainland China might invite scholars from the USA as collaborators or advisors.


Can I use part of the Research Center Grant for general administrative cost for our center?

No. The funding from this program can only be used for the research project you have applied. The fund cannot be used for general administrative cost of the center.






Where can I download the information for Individual Grants?

Click here to download the information for Individual Grants (PDF).


Who is eligible to apply?

Scholars, Post-doctoral fellows and Doctoral students who are affiliated with universities, colleges, and research centers may apply for Individual Grants.


I am a student in a Master program. Am I eligible to apply?

No. We do not accept applications applied directly by the graduate students in a master's program. You may submit your application with your advisor but your advisor must serve as the principal investigator.


Are doctoral students eligible to apply for Individual Grants?

Yes. Doctoral students may submit their own proposal with the permission and recommendation from their Ph.D. advisor. Or, you may submit the proposal with your advisor, who will serve as the principal investigator.


I am a post-doctoral fellow. Do I need the permission and recommendation from my advisor to apply for the Individual Grant?

It is better to have the recommendation from your advisor. Under special circumstances, you may request recommendation by other well known scholars. This needs to be clearly explained in your application.


Can scholars reside outside of mainland China apply for Individual Grants?

Yes. Researchers of Individual Grants may reside in any country, but their research must focus on mainland China, or the project may be a comparative study including mainland China.


Can more than one scholar apply for an Individual Grant?

Yes. However, no more than two key researchers are allowed in the same project, and only one of the scholars can be listed as the principal investigator. The other scholars may serve as advisors or participating researchers. The principal investigator may invite one or more graduate students to participate as research assistants.





How can I apply for a Research Center Grant or Individual Grant?

Interested parties must begin the application process by submitting a letter of intent. Letters of intent should be no more than three pages. Please visit the following web page for detail information.


A panel of judges will select 30 applicants to be invited to submit full proposals.


What do I need to include along with my letter of intent?

Please visit the following page for the requirement:


Do I need to include a detailed, full budget?

An itemized budget is not mandatory for the LOI. However, it is expected that your LOI indicates a description of the prudent use for the requested funding.


Am I allowed to include money for course buyout as well as summer salary in my proposed budget?



Is there a cap on the salary that a principal investigator may claim as part of the direct costs of a proposed research budget?

There is no cap on the salary that a principal investigator may claim as part of the direct costs of a proposed research budget. However, you should be very prudent with regard to the degree to which your proposed research program can be justified if a substantial portion of the requested grant funds goes toward the direct salary support of the principal investigator.


Am I allowed to include travel expenses to attend other conferences and meetings?

Yes. The conferences or meetings must be directly related to your funded project from CSSP.


Our school collects administrative fees for research supported by a grant. What are the regulations for this item in your program?

The administrative fees incurred by the affiliated institutions and research administration cannot exceed 3% of your total award.


Can I submit a letter of intent via e-mail?

Yes. Please submit the LOI to crcs@purdue.edu. Letters and any accompanying documentation should be sent as attachments in Word or PDF.


Can I submit a full proposal without an invitation?

No. The first step is to submit a letter of intent. Based on this letter, a panel of judges will select 30 applicants and invite them to submit full proposals. Applicants who are invited to submit full proposals will be notified by March 1, 2010. Do not submit a full proposal unless invited.


Can I submit the LOI and full proposal in Chinese?

Yes, you may submit LOI and full proposal either in Chinese or English, which will be evaluated on an equal basis. However, if it is in Chinese, an English abstract (about 500 words) is required in the submission of LOI, and an executive summary (about 1000 words) is required in the submission of full proposal.


What is the deadline of the LOI?

Letters of Intent must be submitted by email to crcs@purdue.edu no later than December 15, 2009 (11:59 pm Eastern USA Time).


What is the deadline of the full proposal?

Full Proposals must be submitted no later than September 10, 2010 (11:59 pm Eastern USA Time).


I mailed in my LOI or proposal and then realized that my packet was incomplete or contained errors. What do I need to do to correct this?

As long as the correction is made before the published deadlines, you may withdraw your problematic submission and repeat the same application process to submit a revised version of your LOI or full proposal. If you need to do this, please contact the Project Manager crcs@purdue.edu to request that we remove your initial application. Once you have received an e-mail notification that your application has been formally removed from the pool, you may resubmit a revised version of your LOI or full proposal. Also, remember to re-submit all grant packet content, including the portions that did not need revisions. This way, the new version will arrive at CRCS in one complete package of finalized materials.





Who can I contact if I can’t find the answer to my questions?

Please contact:
CSSP Project Manager:
Dr. Lily Szeto
Phone: (765) 494-5801
Fax: (765) 494-6938

Email: crcs@purdue.edu



Stone Hall Room 347, 700 W. State Street, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 Phone: (765)494-5801 Fax: (765)494-6938 Email: CRCS@purdue.edu
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