students walking along the library aisle students walking along the library aisle

Undergraduate Research Library Fellowship 

We offer competitive undergraduate research fellowship opportunities for students to pursue research with a Southeast Asia focus, involving source materials in our main and special collections. This opportunity has been made available with the support of the Wan family and is open to all NUS undergraduate students regardless of their disciplinary backgrounds.

Congratulations to our inaugural batch of fellowship winners for their outstanding project submissions. Their research projects are selected for their significance in addressing scholarly gaps in Southeast Asia, potential in utilising/contribution to NUS Libraries’ collections, project innovation, and feasibility.

Damien Kee Wei Hao

Damien is a 5th year student of Law and History with a deep interest in the social history of Southeast and East Asian interaction with entities that promoted alternative and ultimately unsuccessful world orders, Pan-Asianism, and Singapore’s military and legal institutions. For leisure, he wanders around Singapore whenever he can.


The Practice, Permeation, and Perception of Law by Local Residents of Japanese Occupied Singapore, Syonan-to

Damien's project firstly examines the efforts of Japanese (civilian and military) authorities to cultivate and portray the existence of the rule of law in Syonan. This includes their support or opposition of legal institutions and local participation within them, the codification of newly promulgated laws, and efforts to adopt a principles-based approach to legislation. Secondly, his project considers how residents of Syonan experienced law. Specifically, the research will consider the extent to which law permeated their lives, and was perceived as an institution that could be relied upon to attain justice and mitigate the arbitrariness of life in Syonan. This project will ultimately help develop our shared understanding of Syonan’s legal history, which hitherto has received relatively lesser attention in academia as compared to her political, economic, and social aspects.



Shaun Lee

Shaun is a 3rd year History Major. He is interested in the history of Southeast Asia and its relationship with China, especially from the perspective of ordinary individuals and the underprivileged. In his spare time, he plays football and represents NUS English Debate in regional and international competitions.


The Songs We Sang with Asia: The Xinyao Movement and the Sinosphere

In the 1980s, students in Singapore schools produced self-written Chinese folk songs, culminating in the Xinyao movement, short for Xin Jia Po Nian Qing Ren Chuang Zuo de Ge Yao (Songs written by Singaporean Youth). The grassroots nature of Xinyao has led to it being celebrated as part of Singapore's homegrown Chinese culture. Moving away from existing literature that focuses on Xinyao songs and practitioners, this essay studies public and media reactions to Xinyao in its formative years and then analyses the evolution of Xinyao as it commercialised, both in its activity within Singapore and attempts at enter overseas markets. In so doing, Shaun argues that Xinyao was not just a domestic music movement, but instead operated as a part of a cultural Sinosphere, interacting with the international Chinese music market.



Rica Teo

Rica is a final year undergraduate pursuing Project and Facilities Management at the College of Design and Engineering. She is a BCA-Industry iBuildSG Scholar and is extremely passionate about sustainability advocacy in her field. As an NUS Student Ambassador, Rica also enjoys connecting with new people and guiding her juniors. 


Legalising the Path to Net-Zero Carbon Buildings: The Case for the Singapore Net-Zero Carbon Building Act 2023

Governments and organisations worldwide are stepping up efforts to combat the negative impacts of climate change which are intensifying and becoming more prevalent in recent years. Evidently, Singapore has also joined the race to net-zero and introduced many initiatives to promote environmental sustainability, with decarbonisation as a key focus area under the five-year research masterplan. Unfortunately, carbon emissions in Singapore still remain high within the built environment. The absence of a standardised legal compliance framework, targeting carbon management and reduction, is an identified gap in the industry which should be addressed. Through this project, Rica will analyse current measures in Singapore and international best practices, as well as interview industry professionals to develop the proposed Net-Zero Carbon Building Act (“the Act”) for Singapore. The Act will legalise the pathway for developers to undertake to transition their buildings towards net-zero carbon.



Shawn Wongosari

Shawn is a 3rd year Southeast Asian Studies Major with a Double Minor in Philosophy and Sociology. His interests include Food Anthropology, Nationalism and Social Constructionism in Southeast Asia. He is also a foodie who loves trying new cuisines, collects Batik shirts, consumes (lots of) Matcha, and plays the Javanese Gamelan.


Rethinking Singapore's Nation-Building Narratives: A Case Study from Pulau Semakau's Heritage

Many know Pulau Semakau today as a landfill to dispose of Singapore's incinerated waste and a success story of the government's sustainable development efforts. However, beneath the island's greenwashed narrative lies a deeper, richer history. Before its conversion into a landfill, Pulau Semakau was home to the native Orang Laut people, whose presence in the region predated Raffles' arrival in 1819. Additionally, many artefacts have been found on the island, including pottery dating back to possibly as far as the 12th century. These findings potentially open up new chapters in Singapore's history. Therefore, his research aims to construct this forgotten historico-cultural heritage of Pulau Semakau, and to provide a more inclusive way of perceiving Singaporean identity in our nation-building narratives through the inclusion of the Orang Laut people’s stories.



Yap Yu Liang

Yu Liang is a final year History undergraduate with Minors in Religious Studies and Southeast Asian Studies. His interests lie in studying religion, and culture in Southeast Asia, especially Buddhism and Chinese religions in Singapore. In his spare time, he plays international chess and engages youths through the Scouting Movement.


Religious Philanthropy in a Global City-State: A History of the Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic, 1969-2019

Yu Liang's honours thesis traces the institutional history of the Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic (SBFC) from 1969 to 2019. By studying the evolution of the SBFC against the wider context surrounding the government’s social-welfare policies and developments in the healthcare sector, the thesis argues that the key to the success of the SBFC rested on its ability to function as an organisation that identified and actively responded to the gaps in the government social and healthcare policies while using Buddhist principles of compassion as their moral and spiritual backing to raise financial and social support for the organisation. Overall, his thesis hopes to provide a foundation for future studies of Buddhist and religious philanthropy in Singapore.

This fellowship supports undergraduate students currently enrolled at the National University of Singapore, who are pursuing/interested to pursue research projects with a Southeast Asia focus.


All undergraduate students who are working on research projects under UROP, honours thesis, final year projects, etc are also encouraged to apply.

  • Successful applicants will be offered a stipend of S$4,000 over a year.
  • Fellows will be assigned a mentor from NUS Libraries who will provide guidance on the collections.
  • Fellows should complete their project within one academic year.
  • Upon notification of their award, fellows will work on and submit a workplan to indicate the schedule when they will be working on their projects. Stipends will be arranged according to this schedule.
  • Fellows may also request for access to a reading room/pod at NUS Libraries over the course of his/her fellowship. All bookings are non-transferable.
  • Fellows may also request to acquire source materials that are not available in NUS Libraries’ collections. This should be identified and submitted together with the workplan to allow sufficient time for acquisitions.
  • Fellows are expected to work with their assigned mentor at NUS Libraries and participate in relevant activities.
  • As spaces are limited, fellows are expected to inform the library if they are unable to utilise their booking of the reading room/pod.
  • Fellows will be expected to present their work at an annual symposium at the end of each academic year.
  • Fellows will be asked to share their experiences via questionnaires or interviews, and provide a reflection on the outcomes or impacts of the fellowship.
  • Fellows will be featured in collaterals and communication about the Undergraduate Research Fellowship and are expected to provide information and experiences in a timely manner.
  • Fellows are also expected to acknowledge NUS Libraries Undergraduate Research Fellowship in all publications and presentations associated with research conducted under the fellowship.

Applications for 2022 have closed. Please look out for updates on the 2023 application.


10 Jul 2022Applications deadline 
21 Jul 2022All applicants notified of decisions
30 Jul 2022Submission of workplan by Undergraduate Research Library Fellows
5 Aug 2022Approval of workplan by NUS Libraries Undergraduate Research Library Fellowship Committee
8 Aug 2022Start of fellowship
30 Jun 2023 (TBC)Annual Symposium (all projects to conclude by this point)


This site uses cookies

By clicking accept or continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. For more details about cookies and how to manage them, please see our Privacy Notice.