Announcement Type: New Cooperative Agreements.
Funding Opportunity Numbers:
(1) Study of the U.S. Institute on Religious Pluralism—ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-RP.
(2) Study of the U.S. Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy—ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-FP. Start Printed Page 64354
(3) Study of the U.S Institute on Contemporary American Literature—ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-AML.
(4) Study of the U.S. Institute on American Politics and Political Thought—ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-AP.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.418.
Application Deadline: January 10, 2005.
Executive Summary: The Branch for the Study of the U.S., Office of Academic Exchange Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, announces an open competition for public and private non-profit organizations to develop and implement the Study of the United States Institutes listed above. These institutes, for a multinational group of 18 experienced university faculty, are intended to provide participants with a deeper understanding of American life and institutions, past and present, in order to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States at universities abroad. The institutes should be designed as intensive, academically rigorous seminars for scholars from outside the United States and should have a strong central theme and focus. Each should also have a strong contemporary component.
The programs, which should be six weeks in length, will be conducted during the summer of 2005 and must include an academic residency segment of at least four weeks duration at a U.S. college or university campus (or other appropriate location) and a study tour segment of not more than two weeks that should complement the learning gained during the academic residency segment.
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is “to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries * * *; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation.
Purpose: The Bureau is seeking detailed proposals for four Study of the United States (U.S.) Institutes (listed at the beginning of this RFGP) from colleges, universities, consortia of colleges and universities, and other not-for-profit academic organizations that have an established reputation in one or more of the following fields: political science, international relations, law, history, sociology, literature, American studies, and/or other disciplines or sub-disciplines related to the program themes.
These Study of the U.S. Institutes should provide a multinational group of up to 18 experienced foreign university faculty with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present. Each institute should be organized around a central theme or themes in U.S. civilization and should have a strong contemporary component. Through a combination of traditional, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, program content should be imaginatively integrated in order to elucidate the history and evolution of U.S. institutions and values, broadly defined. The program should also serve to illuminate contemporary political, social, and economic debates in American society.
Institutes are intended to offer foreign scholars whose professional work focuses in whole or in substantial part on the United States the opportunity to deepen their understanding of American society, culture and institutions. Their ultimate goal is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the U.S. in institutions of higher learning abroad.
Programs should be six weeks in length and must include an academic residency segment of at least four weeks duration at a U.S. college or university campus (or other appropriate location). A study tour segment of not more than two weeks should also be planned and should not only directly complement but should also extend the learning gained during the academic residency segment; the study tour should include visits to one or two additional regions of the United States.
The project director or one of the key program staff responsible for the academic program must have an advanced degree in one of the following fields: political science, international relations, law, history, sociology, literature, American studies, and/or other disciplines or sub-disciplines related to the program themes. Staff escorts traveling under the cooperative agreement must have demonstrated qualifications for this service. Programs must conform with Bureau requirements and guidelines outlined in the Solicitation Package. Bureau programs are subject to the availability of funds.
All institutes should be designed as intensive, academically rigorous seminars intended for an experienced group of fellow scholars from outside the United States. The institutes should be organized through an integrated series of lectures, readings, seminar discussions, regional travel and site visits, and they should also include some opportunity for limited but well-directed independent research. Applicants are encouraged to design thematically coherent programs in ways that draw upon the particular strengths, faculty and resources of their institutions as well as upon the nationally recognized expertise of scholars and other experts throughout the United States. All Study of the United States Institute programs, regardless of their particular thematic focus, should seek to:
1. Provide participants with a survey of contemporary scholarship within the institutes governing academic discipline(s), delineating the current scholarly debate within the field. In this regard the seminar should indicate how prevailing academic practice in the discipline represents both a continuation of and a departure from past scholarly trends and practices. It is expected that presenters from other institutions will be brought in, as appropriate. Please note that the ways these alternative schools of thought will be presented should be clearly described in the proposal;
2. Bring an interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary focus to bear on the program content;
3. Give participants a multi-dimensional examination of U.S. society and institutions that reflects a broad and balanced range of perspectives and responsible views. Programs should include the views not only of scholars, cultural critics and public intellectuals, but also those of other professionals such as government officials, journalists and others who can substantively contribute to the topics at issue; and,
4. Ensure access to library and material resources that will enable grantees to continue their research, study and curriculum development upon returning to their home institutions. Start Printed Page 64355
(1) Study of the U.S. Institute on Religious Pluralism in the United States
This Institute should provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty with an opportunity to increase their understanding of American civilization and institutions through an examination of the American religious experience and its intersection with democracy. Employing a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on fields such as history, political science, sociology, anthropology, law and others where appropriate, the program should explore both the historical and contemporary relationship between church and state in the United States; examine the ways in which religious thought and practice have influenced and been influenced by the development of American democracy; examine the intersections of religion and politics in the United States in such areas as elections, public policy, and foreign policy; and explore the sociology and demography of religion in the United States today, including a survey of the varieties of contemporary religious belief and their impact on American politics.
(2) Study of the U.S. Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy
The “Study of the United States Institute on American Foreign Policy” should provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty with a deeper understanding of how U.S. foreign policy is conceptualized and enacted with emphasis on the post cold war era. This institute should examine the intersection of ideas and structures in the development of U.S. foreign policy. While the program should review the domestic institutional foundations for U.S. foreign policy, the primary focus should be on the main philosophical traditions that have girded U.S. foreign policy; the grand strategies and frameworks that have been developed out of these philosophical trends; and, what actors—both governmental and non-governmental—shape U.S. foreign policy at various stages from its conceptualization to its enactment. An overarching goal of the program is to illuminate the relationship between U.S. policies and the political, social and economic forces in the United States that constitute the domestic context in which such policies are debated, formulated and executed. A thematic approach that examines how U.S. foreign policy has dealt with specific areas of concern over time, for example nuclear proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, democratization and humanitarian crises would be one way for an applicant to illuminate the continuities and changes in U.S. foreign policy. Ideally, the program should be structured in such a way as to give attention to U.S. policy both globally and in particular geographic areas and to examine the role of U.S. foreign policy within the context of international relations and international institutions.
(3) Study of the U.S. Institute on Contemporary American Literature
This program, designed for a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty, should focus on recent American literature and criticism. Its purpose is twofold: First, to explore contemporary American writers and writing in a variety of genres; second, to suggest how the themes explored in those works reflect larger currents within contemporary American society and culture. The program should explore the diversity of the American literary landscape, examining how major contemporary writers, schools and movements reflect the traditions of the American literary canon and, at the same time, represent a departure from that tradition, establishing new directions for American literature.
(4) Study of the U.S. Institute on American Politics and Political Thought
The “Study of the United States Institute on American Politics and Political Thought” should provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty with a deeper understanding of U.S. political institutions and major currents in American political thought by focusing on the interplay between ideas and institutions in shaping the contemporary American polity. The institute should provide an overview of the origins (constitutional foundations), development and current functioning of the American presidency, Congress and the federal judiciary, however examination of political institutions might be expanded to include for example the two-party system, the civil service system, interest groups, or the welfare/regulatory state. The institute should also and simultaneously survey important currents in the history of American political thought, including but not limited to the political thought of the Founding period. In this context, the Branch for the Study of the U.S. is particularly interested in providing the foreign participants insight into competing strains in modern American political thought/culture, such as liberalism, republicanism (with a small “r”), libertarianism, communitarianism, conservatism, neo-conservatism, etc. The institute should review the provenance and trajectory of these different intellectual strands or movements, and highlight how they have intersected with American political institutions to shape public discourse and public policy formulation in the contemporary United States.
Participants: As specified in the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) guidelines in the solicitation package, programs should be designed for highly-motivated and experienced multinational groups of 18 post-secondary educators, and, in some cases, government officials. Participants will be interested in taking part in an intensive seminar on aspects of U.S. civilization as a means to develop or improve courses and teaching about the United States at their home institutions and school systems.
Participants will be diverse in terms of age, professional position, and travel experience abroad. Participants can be expected to come from educational institutions where the study of the U.S. is relatively well-developed as well as from institutions that are just beginning to introduce courses and programs focusing on the United States. While participants may not have in-depth knowledge of the particular institute program theme, they will likely have had exposure to the relevant discipline and some experience teaching about the United States.
Participants will be drawn from all regions of the world and will be fluent in the English language.
Participants will be nominated by Fulbright Commissions and by U.S. Embassies abroad. A final list of participants will be sent to the host institution. Host institutions do not participate in the selection of participants.
Program Dates: Ideally, the programs should be 44 days in length (including participant arrival and departure days) and should begin in late June or early July 2005.
Program Guidelines: It is critically important that proposals provide a full, detailed and comprehensive narrative describing the objectives of the institute; the title, scope and content of each session; and, how each session relates to the overall institute theme. A syllabus must therefore indicate the subject matter for each lecture or panel discussion, confirm or provisionally identify proposed lecturers and discussants, and clearly show how assigned readings will support each session. A calendar of all activities for Start Printed Page 64356the program must also be included. Overall, proposals will be reviewed on the basis of their fullness, coherence, clarity, and attention to detail.
In a cooperative agreement, ECA/A/E/USS is substantially involved in program activities above and beyond routine grant monitoring. ECA/A/E/USS activities and responsibilities for this program are as follows: ECA/A/E/USS will participate in the selection of participants, will exercise oversight with one or more site visits and will debrief participants. ECA/A/E/USS may also require changes in the content of the program as well as the activities proposed either before or after the grant is awarded.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement. ECA's level of involvement in this program is listed under number I above.
Fiscal Year Funds: FY-05.
Approximate Total Funding: $1,040,000.
Approximate Number of Awards: 1 award per Institute (topic) for a total of four (4) awards.
Approximate Average Award: $260,000.
Floor of Award Range: $220,000.
Ceiling of Award Range: $260,000.
Anticipated Award Date: Pending availability of funds, March 15, 2005.
Anticipated Project Completion Date: October 30, 2005.
Additional Information: Pending successful implementation of these programs and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA's intent to renew each of these grants for two additional fiscal years, before openly competing each one again.
III. Eligibility Information
III.1. Eligible Applicants
Applications may be submitted by public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).
III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching Funds
There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.
When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved grant agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110, (Revised), Subpart C.23—Cost Sharing and Matching. In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, ECA's contribution will be reduced in like proportion.
III.3. Other Eligibility Requirements
(a) Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates awarding one grant per institute, each in an amount up to approximately $260,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement this exchange program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.
(b) Technical Eligibility: All proposals must comply with the following: The project director or one of the key program staff responsible for the academic program must have an advanced degree in one of the following fields: political science, international relations, law, history, sociology, literature, American studies, and/or other disciplines or sub-disciplines related to the program themes.
Failure to meet this criteria will result in your proposal being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.
IV. Application and Submission Information
Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.
IV.1. Contact Information To Request an Application Package
Please contact the Branch for the Study of the U.S., ECA/A/E/USS, Room Number 252, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone number (202) 619-4557 and fax number (202) 619-6790, e-mail either Meyersnl@state.gov for funding numbers ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-RP, ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-FP, ECA/A/E/USS-05-03AML or Bendapm@state.gov for funding number ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-AP to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the correct Funding Opportunity Numbers located on the first page of this announcement and cited above when making your request.
The Solicitation Package contains the Proposal Submission Instruction (PSI) document which consists of required application forms, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation.
It also contains the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document, which provides specific information, award criteria and budget instructions tailored to this competition.
Please specify Program Officer Nancy L. Meyers at firstname.lastname@example.org for Funding Opportunity Numbers ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-RP, ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-FP, ECA/A/E/USS-05-03AML or specify Program Officer Peter Benda at Bendapm@state.gov for funding number ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-AP on all other inquiries and correspondence.
IV.2. To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet
The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's Web site at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/rfgps/menu.htm. Please read all information before downloading.
IV.3. Content and Form of Submission
Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and thirteen (13) copies of the application should be sent per the instructions under IV.3e. “Submission Dates and Times section” below.
You are required to have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to apply for a grant or cooperative agreement from the U.S. Government. This number is a nine-digit identification number, which uniquely identifies business entities. Obtaining a DUNS number is easy and there is no charge. To obtain a DUNS number, access http://www.dunandbradstreet.com or call 1-866-705-5711. Please ensure that your DUNS number is included in the appropriate box of the SF-424 which is part of the formal application package.
All proposals must contain an executive summary, proposal narrative and budget.
Please Refer to the Solicitation Package. It contains the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) Start Printed Page 64357document and the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document for additional formatting and technical requirements.
You must have nonprofit status with the IRS at the time of application. If your organization is a private nonprofit which has not received a grant or cooperative agreement from ECA in the past three years, or if your organization received nonprofit status from the IRS within the past four years, you must submit the necessary documentation to verify nonprofit status as directed in the PSI document. Failure to do so will cause your proposal to be declared technically ineligible.
Please take into consideration the following information when preparing your proposal narrative:
IV.3d.1 Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is placing renewed emphasis on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J visa) Programs and adherence by grantees and sponsors to all regulations governing the J visa. Therefore, proposals should demonstrate the applicant's capacity to meet all requirements governing the administration of the Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR part 62, including the oversight of Responsible Officers and Alternate Responsible Officers, screening and selection of program participants, provision of pre-arrival information and orientation to participants, monitoring of participants, proper maintenance and security of forms, record-keeping, reporting and other requirements. ECA will be responsible for issuing DS-2019 forms to participants in this program.
A copy of the complete regulations governing the administration of Exchange Visitor (J) programs is available at http://exchanges.state.gov or from: United States Department of State, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, ECA/EC/ECD—SA-44, Room 734, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547. Telephone: (202) 401-9810. FAX: (202) 401-9809.
Please refer to Solicitation Package for further information.
IV.3d.2 Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines
Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. “Diversity” should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and disabilities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the ‘Support for Diversity’ section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into your proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that “in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy,” the Bureau “shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.” Public Law 106-113 requires that the governments of the countries described above do not have inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.
IV.3d.3 Program Monitoring and Evaluation
Proposals must include a plan to monitor and evaluate the project's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The Bureau recommends that your proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. The Bureau expects that the grantee will track participants or partners and be able to respond to key evaluation questions, including satisfaction with the program, learning as a result of the program, changes in behavior as a result of the program, and effects of the program on institutions (institutions in which participants work or partner institutions). The evaluation plan should include indicators that measure gains in mutual understanding as well as substantive knowledge.
Successful monitoring and evaluation depend heavily on setting clear goals and outcomes at the outset of a program. Your evaluation plan should include a description of your project's objectives, your anticipated project outcomes, and how and when you intend to measure these outcomes (performance indicators). The more that outcomes are “smart” (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and placed in a reasonable time frame), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. You should also show how your project objectives link to the goals of the program described in this RFGP.
Your monitoring and evaluation plan should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are products and services delivered, often stated as an amount. Output information is important to show the scope or size of project activities, but it cannot substitute for information about progress towards outcomes or the results achieved. Examples of outputs include the number of people trained or the number of seminars conducted. Outcomes, in contrast, represent specific results a project is intended to achieve and is usually measured as an extent of change. Findings on outputs and outcomes should both be reported, but the focus should be on outcomes.
We encourage you to assess the following four levels of outcomes, as they relate to the program goals set out in the RFGP (listed here in increasing order of importance):
1. Participant satisfaction with the program and exchange experience.
2. Participant learning, such as increased knowledge, aptitude, skills, and changed understanding and attitude. Learning includes both substantive (subject-specific) learning and mutual understanding.
3. Participant behavior, concrete actions to apply knowledge in work or community; greater participation and responsibility in civic organizations; interpretation and explanation of experiences and new knowledge gained; continued contacts between participants, community members, and others.
4. Institutional changes, such as increased collaboration and partnerships, policy reforms, new programming, and organizational improvements.
Please note: Consideration should be given to the appropriate timing of data collection for each level of outcome. For example, satisfaction is usually captured as a short-term outcome, whereas behavior and institutional changes are normally considered longer-term outcomes.
Overall, the quality of your monitoring and evaluation plan will be judged on how well it (1) specifies intended outcomes; (2) gives clear descriptions of how each outcome will be measured; (3) identifies when particular outcomes will be measured; and (4) provides a clear description of the data collection strategies for each outcome (i.e., surveys, interviews, or focus groups).
Please note: Because the cooperative agreement prospectively to be awarded Start Printed Page 64358under the terms of the present RFGP is likely to be of less than one year's duration, host institutions will not be expected to be able to demonstrate significant specific results in terms of participant behavior or institutional changes during the agreement period. Applicant institutions' monitoring and evaluation plans should, therefore, focus primarily on the first and more particularly the second level of outcomes (learning). ECA/A/E/USS will assume principal responsibility for developing performance indicators and conducting post-institute evaluations to measure changes in participant behavior as a result of the program(s), and effect of the program(s) on institutions, over time.
Grantees will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.
IV.3d.4 Describe Your Plans for Overall Program Management, Staffing, and Coordination with ECA/A/E/USS
ECA/A/E/USS considers program management, staffing and coordination with the Department of State essential elements of your program. Please be sure to give sufficient attention to these elements in your proposal. Please refer to the Technical Eligibility Requirements and the POGI in the Solicitation package for specific guidelines.
IV.3e. Please Take the Following Information Into Consideration When Preparing Your Budget
Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. Awards should be up to approximately $260,000. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.
Based on a group of 18 participants, the total Bureau-funded budget (program and administrative) for this program should be up to approximately $260,000, and Bureau-funded administrative costs as defined in the budget details section of the solicitation package may be up to approximately $110,000.
Justifications for any costs above these amounts must be clearly indicated in the proposal submission. Proposals should try to maximize cost-sharing in all facets of the program and to stimulate U.S. private sector, including foundation and corporate, support. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program, and availability of U.S. government funding.
Please refer to the “POGI” in the Solicitation Package for complete institute budget guidelines and formatting instructions.
IV.3e.2. Allowable Costs for the Program Include the Following
(1) Institute staff salary and benefits.
(2) Honoraria for Guest speakers.
(3) Participant per diem.
Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.
IV.3f. Submission Dates and Times
Application Deadline Date: Monday, January 10, 2005.
Explanation of Deadlines: In light of recent events and heightened security measures, proposal submissions must be sent via a nationally recognized overnight delivery service (i.e., DHL, Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, or U.S. Postal Service Express Overnight Mail, etc.) and be shipped no later than the above deadline. The delivery services used by applicants must have in-place, centralized shipping identification and tracking systems that may be accessed via the Internet and delivery people who are identifiable by commonly recognized uniforms and delivery vehicles. Proposals shipped on or before the above deadline but received at ECA more than seven days after the deadline will be ineligible for further consideration under this competition. Proposals shipped after the established deadlines are ineligible for consideration under this competition. It is each applicant's responsibility to ensure that each package is marked with a legible tracking number and to monitor/confirm delivery to ECA via the Internet. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of application. Delivery of proposal packages may not be made via local courier service or in person for this competition. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Only proposals submitted as stated above will be considered. Applications may not be submitted electronically at this time.
Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package.
Important note: When preparing your submission please make sure to include one extra copy of the completed SF-424 form and place it in an envelope addressed to “ECA/EX/PM''.
The original and thirteen (13) copies of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A/E/USS-05-03-[RP/FP/AML/AP], Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
Along with the Project Title, all applicants must enter the above Reference Number in Box 11 on the SF-424 contained in the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) of the solicitation document.
IV.3g. Intergovernmental Review of Applications
Executive Order 12372 does not apply to this program.
Applicants are also requested to submit the “Executive Summary” and “Proposal Narrative” sections of the proposal in text (.txt) format on a PC-formatted disk.
V. Application Review Information
V.1. Review Process
The Bureau will review all proposals for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Diplomacy section overseas, where appropriate. The Branch for the Study of the U.S. may also retain outside independent consultants to review proposals in their particular field(s) of expertise. The feedback or input of any such consultants will be advisory only. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance awards (cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.
Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:
1. Quality of Program Idea/Plan: The proposal narrative and appendices should demonstrate the complete integration of the two program modules Start Printed Page 64359(academic and experiential) into a single program. Applicants should clearly explain how/why site visits, consultations, reading lists etc. were chosen and how they compliment the academic module and the program as a whole. The program should offer a balanced presentation of the subjects/issues covered, reflecting both the continuity of the American experience as well its diversity and dynamism inherent in it.
2. Academic Residency Program Planning and Administration: As a general proposition, proposals should demonstrate careful planning. The organization and structure of the academic residency component should be clearly delineated. A program syllabus, noting specific sessions and topical readings supporting each academic unit, should be included. The expectation is that these institutes be conducted as intensive graduate-level seminars. Plans for the academic residency segment should, therefore, avoid undue reliance on the “lecture followed by question-and-answer session” format, and incorporate panel presentations, working group assignments, group debates and other modalities designed to foster and encourage active learning and participation by all institute participants.
3. Study Tour Planning and Administration: The study tour travel component should not simply be a tour, but rather an integral and substantive part of the program, reinforcing and complementing the academic component. The proposal should explain how the site visits and presentations included in the study tour program relate to the Institute's learning objectives. Consideration should be given to assigning lighter readings during the study tour (e.g., short articles, newspaper selections, etc.) related to planned study tour travel sessions. While visits to cultural institutions may certainly be included, the emphasis should be on meetings with scholars and other relevant professionals such as (e.g.) government officials, journalists, and literary critics who can substantively contribute to deepening the participants' understanding of issues and topics pertinent to the Institute's theme(s).
4. Ability to Achieve Overall Program Objectives: Due to the academic nature of this program, overall objectives can only be met if proposals exhibit originality and substance consonant with the highest standards of American teaching and scholarship. Program design should reflect the main currents as well as the debates within the subject disciplines of each institute. A variety of presenters reflecting diverse backgrounds and viewpoints should be invited to discuss their specific areas of expertise with the participants. Assigned readings likewise should provide opportunities for participants to be exposed to diverse responsible perspectives on the topics and issues to be explored.
5. Support for Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. “Diversity” should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and disabilities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Applicant should highlight instances of diversity in their proposal.
6. Evaluation and Follow-Up: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives is recommended. Proposals should discuss provisions made for follow-up with returned grantees as a means of establishing longer-term individual and institutional linkages.
7. Cost-Effectiveness/Cost Sharing: The overhead and administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and appropriate.
8. Institutional Capacity: Proposals should provide evidence of continuous administrative and managerial capacity as well as the means by which program activities and logistical matters will be implemented. Proposed personnel, including faculty and administrative staff as well as outside presenters, should be fully qualified to achieve the project's goals. Library and meeting facilities, housing, meals, transportation and other logistical arrangements should fully meet the needs of participants.
9. Institutional Track Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange program activities, indicating the experience that the organization and its professional staff have had working with foreign educators. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.
VI. Award Administration Information
VI.1. Award Notices
Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures. Successful applicants will receive an Assistance Award Document (AAD) from the Bureau's Grants Office. The AAD and the original grant proposal with subsequent modifications (if applicable) shall be the only binding authorizing document between the recipient and the U.S. Government. The AAD will be signed by an authorized Grants Officer, and mailed to the recipient's responsible officer identified in the application.
Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification of the results of the application review from the ECA program office coordinating this competition.
VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions for the Administration of ECA agreements include the following:
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-122, “Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations.”
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.”
OMB Circular A-87, “Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Governments.”
OMB Circular No. A-110 (Revised), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Nonprofit Organizations.
OMB Circular No. A-102, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants-in-Aid to State and Local Governments.
OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Government, and Non-profit Organizations.
VI.3. Reporting Requirements
You must provide ECA with a hard copy original plus two copies of the following reports:
Mandatory: (1) A final program and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award; Grantees will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. (Please refer to IV. Start Printed Page 64360Application and Submission Instructions (IV.3.d.3) above for Program Monitoring and Evaluation information.
All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.
All reports must be sent to the ECA Grants Officer and ECA Program Officer listed in the final assistance award document.
VII. Agency Contacts
For questions about this announcement, contact: Branch for the Study of the U.S., ECA/A/E/USS, Room Number 252, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone number (202) 619-4557 and fax number (202) 619-6790, Bendapm@state.gov or MeyersNL@state.gov based on the funding opportunity number.
All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the appropriate Funding Opportunity Number given at the beginning of this RFGP and referenced again in section “IV.1 Contact Information to Request an Application Package” of this announcement.
Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.
VIII. Other Information
Notice: The terms and conditions published in this RFGP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding. Issuance of the RFGP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements per section VI.3 above.Start Signature
Dated: October 25, 2004.
C. Miller Crouch,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 04-24652 Filed 11-3-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P