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Office of Postsecondary Education; Overview Information: Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad (FRA) Fellowship Program; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.019A.

DATES:

Applications Available: October 22, 2008.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 3, 2008.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship Program offers opportunities to faculty of Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) to engage in research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies.

Priorities: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), this priority is from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 663.21(d)).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2009, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is:

A research project that focuses on one or more of the following geographic areas: Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, South Asia, the Near East, East Central Europe and Eurasia, and the Western Hemisphere (excluding the United States and its territories). Please note that applications that propose projects focused on Western Europe are not eligible.

Within this absolute priority, we give competitive preference to applications that address the following priority.

Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2009, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105 (c)(2)(i) and 34 CFR 663.21(d), we award an additional five (5) points to an application that meets this priority.

This priority is:

Projects that focus on any of the seventy-eight (78) languages deemed critical on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs).

The LCTL list includes the following languages: Akan (Twi-Fante), Albanian, Amharic, Arabic (all dialects), Armenian, Azeri (Azerbaijani), Balochi, Bamanakan (Bamana, Bambara, Mandikan, Mandingo, Maninka, Dyula), Belarusian, Bengali (Bangla), Berber (all languages), Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cebuano (Visayan), Chechen, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Gan), Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Min), Chinese (Wu), Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Georgian, Gujarati, Hausa, Hebrew (Modern), Hindi, Igbo, Indonesian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Khmer (Cambodian), Kirghiz, Korean, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Kurdish (Sorani), Lao, Malay (Bahasa Melayu or Malaysian), Malayalam, Marathi, Mongolian, Nepali, Oromo, Panjabi, Pashto, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (all varieties), Quechua, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala (Sinhalese), Somali, Swahili, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tigrigna, Turkish, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uyghur/Uigur, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba, and Zulu.

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Program Authority: 22 U.S.C. 2452(b)(6).

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Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 663.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants redistributed as fellowships to individual beneficiaries.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $13,372,000 for the International Education and Foreign Language Studies Overseas programs for FY 2009, of which we propose to allocate $1,395,000 for new awards for this program. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final Congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.

Estimated Range of Fellowship Awards: $25,000-$115,000.

Estimated Average Size of Fellowship Awards: $70,000.

Estimated Number of Fellowship Awards: 23.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

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Project Period: The institutional project period is 18 months beginning July 1, 2009. Faculty may request funding for a period of no less than three months and no more than twelve months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs. As part of the application process, faculty submit individual applications to the IHE. The IHE then officially submits all eligible individual faculty applications with its grant application to the Department.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: Both IHEs and faculty applicants can obtain an application package by contacting Carla White, International Education Programs Service, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 6000, Washington, DC 20006-8521. Telephone: (202) 502-7700; or by e-mail: carla.white@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this program.

Page Limit: The application narrative is where the faculty applicant addresses the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate the application. The faculty applicant must limit the application narrative to no more than 10 pages and the bibliography to no more than two (2) pages, using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative. However, faculty applicants may single space all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, titles, headings, footnotes, endnotes, quotations, bibliography, and captions.
  • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger, or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch). However, faculty applicants may use a 10 point font in charts, tables, figures, graphs, footnotes, and endnotes. However, these items are considered part of the narrative and counted within the 10 page limit.
  • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.

The page limit only applies to the application narrative and bibliography. The page limit does not apply to the Application for Federal Assistance face sheet (SF 424); the supplemental information form required by the Department of Education; and the assurances and certification. However, faculty applicants must include their complete responses to the selection criteria in the application narrative.

We will reject a faculty applicant's application if the faculty applicant exceeds the page limits.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: October 22, 2008.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 3, 2008.

Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) available through the Department's e-Grants system. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit an IHE's application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if an IHE qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to Section IV. 6. Other Submission Requirements in this notice.

We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in Section VII in this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section in this notice.

6. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically, unless an IHE qualifies for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

Applications for grants under the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship Program, CFDA Number 84.019A, must be submitted electronically using e-Application available through the Department's e-Grants system, accessible through the e-Grants portal page at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

We will reject an application if an IHE submits it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, the IHE qualifies for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that the IHE qualifies for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

While completing the electronic application, both the IHE and the faculty applicant will be entering data online that will be saved into a database. Neither the IHE nor the faculty applicant may e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

Please note the following:

  • The process for submitting applications electronically under the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship Program has several parts. The following is a brief summary of the process; however, all applicants should review and follow the detailed description of the application process that is contained in the application package. In summary, the major parts are as follows: (1) IHEs must e-mail the following information to carla.white@ed.gov: Name of university, and full name and e-mail address of potential project director. We recommend that applicant IHEs submit this information as soon as possible to ensure that applicant IHEs obtain access to the e-Application system well before the application deadline date. We suggest that applicant IHEs send this information no later than 2 weeks prior to the application deadline date, in order to facilitate timely submission of their applications; (2) Faculty must complete their individual applications and submit them to their IHE's project director using e-Application; (3) Persons providing references for individual faculty must complete and submit Start Printed Page 62971reference forms for the faculty to the IHE's project director using e-Application; and (4) The IHE's project director must officially submit the IHE's application, which must include all eligible individual faculty applications, reference forms, and other required forms, using e-Application. Unless an IHE applicant qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement in accordance with the procedures in this section, all portions of the application must be submitted electronically.
  • The IHE must complete the electronic submission of the grant application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC, time on the application deadline date. The e-Application system will not accept an application for this program after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC, time on the application deadline date. Therefore, we strongly recommend that both the IHE and the faculty applicant not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process.
  • The regular hours of operation of the e-Grants Web site are 6:00 a.m. Monday until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday; and 6:00 a.m. Thursday until 8:00 p.m. Sunday Washington, DC, time. Please note that the system is unavailable between 8:00 p.m. on Sundays and 6:00 a.m. on Mondays, and between 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and 6:00 a.m. on Thursdays, Washington, DC, time for maintenance. Any modifications to these hours are posted on the e-Grants Web site.
  • Faculty applicants will not receive additional point value because the faculty applicant submits his or her application in electronic format, nor will we penalize the IHE or faculty applicant if the IHE or the faculty applicant qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submits an application in paper format.
  • IHEs must submit all documents electronically, including the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Supplement to the SF 424, and all necessary assurances and certifications. Both IHEs and faculty applicants must attach any narrative sections of the application as files in a .DOC (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format. If an IHE or a faculty applicant uploads a file type other than the three file types specified above or submits a password protected file, we will not review that material.
  • Both the IHE's and the faculty applicant's electronic application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • Prior to submitting your electronic application, you may wish to print a copy of it for your records.
  • After the individual faculty applicant electronically submits his or her application to the IHE, the faculty member will receive an automatic acknowledgment. In addition, the applicant IHE's project director will receive a copy of this acknowledgment by e-mail. After a person submits a reference electronically, he or she will receive an online confirmation. After the applicant IHE submits its application, including all eligible individual faculty applications, to the Department, the applicant IHE will receive an automatic acknowledgment, which will include a PR/Award Number (an identifying number unique to the IHE's application).
  • Within three working days after submitting the IHE's electronic application, the IHE must fax a signed copy of the SF 424 to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

(1) Print SF 424 from e-Application.

(2) The applicant IHE's Authorizing Representative must sign this form.

(3) Place the PR/Award Number in the upper right hand corner of the hard-copy signature page of the SF 424.

(4) Fax the signed SF 424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 245-6272.

  • We may request that you provide us original signatures on the SF 424 and other forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of e-Application System Unavailability: If an IHE is prevented from electronically submitting its application on the application deadline date because the e-Application system is unavailable, we will grant the IHE an extension of one business day to enable the IHE to transmit its application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery. We will grant this extension if—

(1) The IHE is a registered user of e-Application and the IHE has initiated an electronic application for this competition; and

(2)(a) The e-Application system is unavailable for 60 minutes or more between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date; or

(b) The e-Application system is unavailable for any period of time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

We must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting the IHE an extension. To request this extension or to confirm our acknowledgement of any system unavailability, an IHE may contact either (1) the person listed elsewhere in this notice under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT (Section VII. Agency Contact) or (2) the e-Grants help desk at 1-888-336-8930. If the e-Application system is unavailable due to technical problems with the system and, therefore, the application deadline is extended, an e-mail will be sent to all registered users who have initiated an e-Application. Extensions referred to in this section apply only to the unavailability of the Department's e-Application system.

Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: An IHE qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement and may submit its application in paper format if the IHE is unable to submit an application through the e-Application system because—

  • The IHE or a faculty applicant does not have access to the Internet; or
  • The IHE or a faculty applicant does not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Department's e-Application system; and
  • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days; or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), the IHE mails or faxes a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent the IHE from using the Internet to submit its application. If an IHE mails a written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If an IHE faxes its written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

Address and mail or fax this statement to: Carla White, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 6000, Washington, DC 20006-8521. FAX: (202) 502-7860.

The IHE's paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If an IHE qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, the IHE may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) its application to the Department. The IHE must mail the original and two copies of the application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Start Printed Page 62972Department at the applicable following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.019A), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark,

(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service,

(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier, or

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

If the IHE mails its application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark, or

(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

If the IHE's application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider its application.

Note:

The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, the IHE should check with its local post office.

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.

If an IHE qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, the IHE (or a courier service) may deliver its paper application to the Department by hand. The IHE must deliver the original and two copies of the application, by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.019A) 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

If an IHE mails or hand delivers its application to the Department—

(1) The IHE must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA Number, and suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which the IHE is submitting its application; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail a grant application receipt acknowledgment to the IHE. If the IHE does not receive the grant application receipt acknowledgment within 15 business days from the application deadline date, the IHE should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

1. General: Faculty applications are divided into seven categories based on the world area focus of their research projects, as described in the absolute priority listed in this notice. Language and area studies experts in seven discrete world area-based panels will review the faculty applications. Each panel reviews, scores, and ranks its applications separately from the applications assigned to the other world area panels. However, all fellowship applications will be ranked together from the highest to lowest score for funding purposes.

2. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 663.21 and are listed in the following paragraphs. The maximum score for all of the criteria, including the competitive preference priority, is 105 points. The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses.

Quality of proposed project (60 points): In determining the quality of the research project proposed by the applicant, the Secretary considers (1) The statement of the major hypotheses to be tested or questions to be examined, and the description and justification of the research methods to be used (10 points); (2) The relationship of the research to the literature on the topic and to major theoretical issues in the field, and the project's originality and importance in terms of the concerns of the discipline (10 points); (3) The preliminary research already completed or plans for research prior to going overseas, and the kinds, quality and availability of data for the research in the host country or countries (10 points); (4) The justification for overseas field research and preparations to establish appropriate and sufficient research contacts and affiliations abroad (10 points); (5) The applicant's plans to share the results of the research in progress with scholars and officials of the host country or countries and the American scholarly community (10 points); and (6) The objectives of the project regarding the sponsoring institution's plans for developing or strengthening, or both, curricula in modern foreign languages and area studies (10 points).

Qualifications of the applicant (40 points): In determining the qualifications of the applicant, the Secretary considers (1) The overall strength of the applicant's academic record (teaching, research, contributions, professional association activities) (10 points); (2) The applicant's excellence as a teacher or researcher, or both, in his or her area or areas of specialization (10 points); (3) The applicant's proficiency in one or more of the languages (other than English and the applicant's native language) of the country or countries of research, and the specific measures to be taken to overcome any anticipated language barriers (15 points); and (4) The applicant's ability to conduct research in a foreign cultural context, as evidenced by the applicant's previous overseas experience, or documentation provided by the sponsoring institution, or both (5 points).

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If a faculty application is successful, we notify the IHE's U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send the IHE a Grant Award Notice (GAN). We may notify the IHE informally, also.

If a faculty application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify the IHE.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section in this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section in this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates its approved application as part of its binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting: At the end of the project period, the IHE must submit a final performance report, including the final reports of all of the IHE's fellows, and financial information, as directed by the Secretary. The IHE and fellows are required to use the electronic reporting International Resource Information System (IRIS) to complete the final report.

4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the objective of the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad (FRA) Fellowship Program is to provide grants to institutions of higher education to fund faculty to maintain and improve their area studies and language skills by conducting research abroad for periods of 3-to-12 months.

The Department will use the following FRA measures to evaluate its success in meeting this objective.

Performance Measure 1: The average language competency score of Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad program recipients at the end of their period of Start Printed Page 62973research minus their average language competency at the beginning of the period.

Performance Measure 2: Percentage of projects judged successful by program officers, based on information provided in annual performance reports.

Efficiency measure: Cost per fellow increasing language competency by at least one level in one (or all three) area.

The information provided by grantees in their performance report submitted via IRIS will be the source of data for this measure. Reporting screens for institutions and fellows may be viewed at: http://www.ieps-iris.org/​iris/​pdfs/​FRA_​fellow.pdf, http://www.ieps-iris.org/​iris/​pdfs/​FRA_​director.pdf.

VII. Agency Contact

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carla White, International Education Programs Service, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 6000, Washington, DC 20006-8521. Telephone: (202) 502-7631 or by e-mail: carla.white@ed.gov.

If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll-free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Alternative Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact person under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in Section VII in this notice.

Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​fedregister/​/.

To use PDF, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

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Dated: October 17, 2008.

Cheryl A. Oldham,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

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[FR Doc. E8-25184 Filed 10-21-08; 8:45 am]

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