The Bayly Prize

The Bayly Prize Applications and Nominations


We are sorry that the coronavirus pandemic has so badly disrupted procedures for the award. However, the adjudicating panel has now undertaken to complete its work by the end of the year and the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society has committed to publishing the short list and the winner as soon as the judges’ report is received. The Society is also scheduling a virtual celebration for the Prize in mid-January 2021.

On behalf of the Society I renew our apologies for the three-month delay caused by the pandemic, but we look forward to the publication of the results by the end of the year.

Dr. Alison Ohta


Due to the current health crisis The Royal Asiatic Society is postponing the award of the Bayly Prize for 2020 until we have a clearer idea of the eventualities of the current situation. The Bayly Prize will be awarded for 2020 for theses submitted to a British university in 2019 but the deadline for submission has been extended until April 17th and the announcement of the award will also be delayed. We will keep you informed of any developments by email and announcements on the website. Your submission and any references will remain valid and should your referees who have not yet submitted their references wish to do so, these will be welcomed. Thank you for your submissions and I send you our best wishes and hope that you all remain virus free. If you have any questions, please contact Alison Ohta


£2500 award for a distinguished thesis in an Asian subject falling within the scope of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society or of Modern Asian Studies. The thesis must have been examined and approved for the PhD degree at a British University in 2019. The date of the final approval letter must fall between 1st January and 31st December 2019. 

How to apply:

Please complete the application form BAYLY-PRIZE-APPLICATION-FORM-2020, and return by email with a PDF of your thesis to The Director, Alison Ohta,, and The Events Officer Amy Riach by Friday 17th April 2020.

Supervisors may nominate by name alone, but this must be followed by a direct application by the graduate by the closing date of Friday 17th April 2020, and two references will still be required by the same date.

Application details required:
PDF of thesis, Name, contact details, University, Certificate of the award of the PhD degree in 2019, title of thesis, short synopsis (500 words), chapter headings, name of supervisor and/or examiners and contact details for two referees.
Please note that references are also due by 17th April 2020 and should be sent to Alison Ohta and Amy Riach Examiners and supervisors can be referees. 

The panel of adjudicators is composed of: Dr Taylor Sherman (London School of Economics), Professor Naoko Shimazu (Yale-National University of Singapore), Professor Sunil Amrith (Harvard), Professor Susanne Brandtstädter (University of Cologne) and Professor Carole McGrahanan (Colorado University). Subject suitability enquiries may be sent to The Director by emailing

A shortlist will be published in September. The prizewinner will be announced at a special meeting of the RAS in October, and publication as a Royal Asiatic Society monograph will be offered. Other finalists will be eligible for consideration for an award of the Royal Asiatic Society’s Universities’ Prize Essay, and their work may be considered for publication by the RAS.

The Bayly Prize Poster

The Prize is established by friends and colleagues to mark the outstanding contribution of Professor Sir Christopher Bayly FBA to the study of world history and that of Asia in particular. Further details, contained in the letter appealing for funds, can be found at