IDEAS Grant Competition

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is pleased to announce the 44 winners of its IDEAS grant competition for accredited U.S. colleges and universities. These institutions have been awarded up to $35,000 to create, expand, and diversify their study abroad programs. Funded projects are supporting such activities as creating resources to engage diverse student groups in study abroad, training faculty and staff, developing curriculum, and creating virtual exchanges. Once international travel resumes in full, these IDEAS grant recipients will be better equipped to deliver impactful and inclusive study abroad programs around the globe.

For the 2022 grant competition, the IDEAS Program also debuted a new two-phase grant application. In administering this two-phase application process, the IDEAS Program aimed to make the grant competition more accessible and equitable, in particular for lower-resourced institutions who may not have extensive grant-writing experience. A summary of the 2022 application timeline is described below. The 2023 grant competition is anticipated to open in late 2022, pending funding from the U.S. Government.


Phase 1: Concept Phase (concluded)
(December 15, 2022 – February 20, 2022)

In the Concept Phase, applicants will briefly describe the concept and general components of their proposed projects, including alignment with U.S. foreign policy goals (listed below). Following a peer review, semi-finalists will be selected to submit a full application at the Proposal Phase.

For more details on Phase Once of the 2022 Grant Competition, please review the recording of the informational session held on January 11, 2022 here

Phase 2: Proposal Phase (concluded)
(late March 2022 – May 31, 2022)

Semi-finalists will provide additional details on the project idea, including a calendar of activities, monitoring and evaluation plan, and other components during the Proposal Phase. The IDEAS Program will hold several informational webinars for semi-finalists on best practices in drafting these technical pieces of their proposals. Proposal Phase application components can be found in the Phase Two Proposal Guidelines.

The information below provides an overview of the 2022 grant competition Request for Proposals. For full details, please review the 2022 RFP document. The next cycle of this competition is anticipated to open in late 2022, pending funding from the U.S. Government.

Apply

WHO CAN APPLY?

The 2022 IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) Grant Competition is open to accredited U.S. institutions of higher education physically based in the United States or its territories with a broad range of capacity to administer study abroad programs, including institutions that currently have limited or no experience administering study abroad programs as well as those with established programs.

For more details on the application and proposal requirements, please review the information below.

General Application Information

The information below provides an overview of the 2022 IDEAS Grant Competition Request for Proposals. For full details, please review the 2022 RFP document for Phase One and the Proposal Guidelines

Successful applications will demonstrate a strong initiative and plan for creating, expanding, and/or diversifying study abroad at their institution.
Please note the following:
  1. The grant competition is open to accredited U.S. colleges and universities physically based in the United States or its territories with a broad range of capacity to administer study abroad programs. This includes institutions that currently have limited or no experience administering study abroad programs as well as those with established programs;
  2. Proposals must support primarily U.S. undergraduate student mobility abroad, although graduate student participation in programs is allowed. Proposals do not need to support the creation or expansion of a specific study abroad program. The IDEAS Program welcomes innovative ideas for how to build (or rebuild) study abroad capacity on campus or nationally, for example, through the development of resources supporting underrepresented student groups or the development of virtual activities to complement in-person exchanges;
  3. Funding may not be used to support direct student costs, including but not limited to scholarships, travel, passports, tuition, or meals. Funds may be used to support U.S. faculty and/or staff travel overseas as well as travel for foreign faculty and/or staff to come to the United States to support program development; note that all travel must comply with the Fly America Act;
  4. While an institution as a whole may submit more than one proposal, individual units within an institution (i.e., schools, colleges, offices) may submit only one application each. If an institution is organized into a single school or college, it may only submit one proposal. Individual campuses within wider university systems will be considered separate institutions.
    1. Example 1: the School of Business of X University and the School of Nursing at the same X University may each submit separate proposals.
    2. Example 2: within the School of Business of X University, the Marketing Department and Finance Department may only submit one proposal total.
    3. Example 3: the School of Business of X University – City A and the School of Business of X University – City B may each submit separate proposals.
  5. IDEAS Grants can support the development of in-person study abroad programming in foreign locations with a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 1 or 2.
    1. Please note that if the location where an applicant proposes to develop an in-person study abroad program is at a Level 3 or 4 due to COVID-19 when Phase One closes, the IDEAS Program will still review the proposal. Proposals for developing in-person programs in countries with Level 3 and 4 Travel Advisories due to reasons other than COVID-19 will not be reviewed. In the event that a proposal is selected for an IDEAS Grant and the destination is still at a Level 3 or 4 due to COVID-19 when the subaward period begins, the recipient may be required to change their program location or other planned program activities to align with U.S. Department of State travel policies. Please consult the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/ for current updates.
      • Example 1: If the first line of the Travel Advisory for Country X states “Reconsider travel to Country X due to COVID-19” (Level 3) or “Do not travel to Country X due to COVID-19” (Level 4) and no other reason is listed, then proposals to develop in-country programs in Country X will be eligible and reviewed.
      • Example 2: If the first line of the Travel Advisory for Country Y states “Reconsider travel to Country Y” (Level 3) or “Do not travel to Country Y” (Level 4) for any reason other than COVID-19, including but not limited to reasons such as crime, terrorism, arbitrary enforcement of local laws, etc., then applications proposing to develop in-person programs in Country Y will be technically ineligible and not reviewed.
      • Example 3: Country Z is listed as Level 3 or 4 due to COVID-19 as a whole, but the travel advisory also lists specific areas within Country Z as Level 3 (Reconsider Travel To) or Level 4 (Do Not Travel To) for reasons other than COVID-19.  Proposals to develop in-country programs in Country Z will be eligible and reviewed, as long as they do not include travel to Level 3 or 4 areas within Country Z.
    2. The U.S. Department of State reserves the right to request program changes for specific countries or areas if deemed necessary during any stage of the application, selection process, or program period. Final awards are contingent upon the availability of funds and the security situation in-country. Furthermore, grant-funded overseas travel and in-person activities abroad may be suspended in consultation with the U.S. Embassy in-country during the course of the program.
  6. IDEAS Grants can support the development of virtual study abroad programming in all foreign locations, regardless of their U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory level.
2022 Foreign Policy Goals

All institutions applying for an IDEAS Grant must substantively address one or more of the following U.S. foreign policy goals through their program activities. Competitive proposals will consider these goals in the context of travel and activities abroad as well as potential impact on U.S. communities and students’ career readiness. Examples of potential program themes are provided, but applicant institutions will want to demonstrate creativity in selecting topics that are authentic to their institutional mission and goals. Further examples of project ideas categorized by foreign policy goals can be found in Appendix C: Foreign Policy Goals in Action of the RFP.

  • Civil Society, Journalism, and Education
    • Example programming could focus on the role civil society, journalism, and/or education play in shaping public knowledge, social movements, and governance.
  • Climate, Energy, and the Environment
    • Example programming could focus on climate change, food security, natural resources management, ocean and polar affairs, renewable energy, rural development, and sustainable agriculture.
  • Democracy and Human Rights
    • Example programming could focus on governance, human trafficking, immigration, refugees, and women’s empowerment.
  • Economic Development and Entrepreneurship
    • Example programming could focus on business, closing skills gaps in local communities, human resources, infrastructure, manufacturing, resource development, and trade.
  • Global Health
    • Example programming could focus on contagious and infectious diseases, COVID-19 recovery, nursing, and public health policy and management.
  • Technology and Innovation
    • Example programming could focus on cybersecurity, critical and emerging technologies, digital engagement and policies, engineering, and other STEM areas.

NOTE: In both phases of the grant proposal, applicants will be asked to indicate which U.S. foreign policy goal(s) their proposed projects plan to address and how they will seek to address it. For an overview of the Foreign Policy Goals and examples of how current IDEAS Grantees have addressed them, please review the “Aligning Your Proposal with U.S. Department of State Foreign Policy Goals” session recording (slides here).

TIP: Proposals that request funding to support the development of resources targeting specific student groups, or to create an institution’s first study abroad program, may fit best under the Economic Development and Entrepreneurship foreign policy goal. The proposal may then detail how the international experience related to the proposed program activities will help students to develop global career skills that they can use to support their future careers or economic development in their local community.

2022 Phase One Proposal Components

A complete Phase One application should not exceed 750 words and should include all information described below and in the RFP. All information will be entered directly into the IDEAS Grant Competition Application Portal. No documentation will be uploaded, and no additional information should be submitted as it will not be considered by the scoring panel. A full copy of the Phase One application is included in Appendix B of the RFP for reference to assist applicants in developing their Phase One application.

  1. Institutional Description/ Statement of Need (150 words)
  2. Proposed IDEAS Project (300 words)
  3. Foreign Policy Goal Alignment (150 words)
  4. Budget Estimate (total amount of funding requested + 150-word summary)
2022 Phase Two Proposal Components

Open only to selected semi-finalists, Phase Two is the “proposal phase” of the competition. Semi-finalists will provide full proposal documents as outlined below and in this document.

  1. Proposal Narrative (maximum 15 pages)
    1. Cover Page (1 page)
    2. Table of Contents (1 page)
    3. Executive Summary (1 page)
    4. Program Description (4-6 pages)
    5. Foreign Policy Goal Alignment (1 page)
    6. Sustainability Plan (1 page)
    7. Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (1 page)
    8. Budget Narrative (2-3 pages)
  2. Proposal Attachments
    1. Calendar of Activities (template provided)
    2. Logic Model (template provided)
    3. Key Staff Resumes (2 pages, one document)
    4. Budget Spreadsheet (1 document, 2 tabs)
Application Timeline

December 15, 2021: Phase One opened
January 11, 2022: IDEAS Grant Competition Informational Webinar (Recording)
January 26 – February 11, 2022: Call for Reviewers
February 3, 2022: Webinar: Aligning Your IDEAS Grant Proposal with U.S. Department of State Foreign Policy Goals (Recording)
February 20, 2022: Phase One closed
February – March, 2022: Applications reviewed by study abroad professionals
March 22, 2022: Semi-finalist notifications announced; Phase Two begins
April 2022: Semi-finalist trainings
May 31, 2022: Phase Two closes for semi-finalists
June 2022: Applications reviewed by study abroad professionals
July 28, 2022: Finalists announced
September 1, 2022 – August 31, 2024 Grant period of performance (up to 24 months)



Grant Competition Resources

TitleDescriptionResource LinkCategoryTyperesource_category_hfilterresource_tag_hfilter
2021 IDEAS Grant Competition – Request for Proposals

Please review this document for details on the 2021 IDEAS grant competition. The contents 2022 Phase Two application will appear similarly to this RFP.

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
2022 Foreign Policy Goal Alignment: Presentation Slides

Slides from February 2022 webinar on proposal alignment with 2022 Foreign Policy Goals

Download PDF

InstructionsSlidesinstructionsslides
2022 Foreign Policy Goal Alignment: Webinar Recording

Webinar recording addressing proposal alignment with the 2022 Foreign Policy Goals.

View Recording

InstructionsRecordinginstructionsrecording
2022 Foreign Policy Goals in Action

Examples of 2022 Foreign Policy Goal integration in IDEAS Grantees’ projects

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
2022 Grant Competition Webinar: Presentation Slides

Slides from January 2022 webinar on the 2022 IDEAS Grant Competition

Download PDF

InstructionsSlidesinstructionsslides
2022 Grant Competition Webinar: Recording

Webinar recording of the intro to the 2022 IDEAS Grant Competition

View Recording

InstructionsRecordinginstructionsrecording
2022 IDEAS Grant Competition – Application Instructions

Instructions for how to access the 2022 IDEAS grant competition application portal.

Download PDF

Instructionsinstructions
2022 IDEAS Grant Competition – Application Template

An editable template of the 2022 IDEAS grant competition application can be found here. Please use this template to draft your application. This document will not be uploaded to the application portal. All information will be entered directly into the application portal.

Download Word Doc

Templatestemplates
2022 IDEAS Grant Competition – Phase 2 FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding the 2022 IDEAS grant competition – updated March 8, 2022

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Instructionsinstructions
2022 IDEAS Grant Competition – Phase Two Proposal Guidelines

Please review this document for details on Phase Two of the 2022 IDEAS grant competition.

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
2022 IDEAS Grant Competition – Request for Proposals

Please review this document for details on the 2022 IDEAS grant competition.

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
Ask an IDEAS Grantee: Webinar Recording

Webinar Recording; February 3, 2021

View Video

Request for ProposalsRecordingrfprecording
Calendar of Activities Template

Template to develop your institution’s calendar of activities

Download XLSX

TemplatesTemplatetemplatestemplate
Intro to IDEAS Webinar

Webinar recording to introduce IDEAS from November 2019

View MP4

InstructionsRecordinginstructionsrecording
Logic Model Sample

An example of a completed logic model

Download PDF

TemplatesTemplatetemplatestemplate
Logic Model Template

Please use this template to develop your institutions logic model

Download Doc

TemplatesTemplatetemplatestemplate
Proposal Development Webinar

Recording of the proposal development webinar from March 14, 2019

View MP4

InstructionsRecordinginstructionsrecording
Proposal Development Webinar Slides

Slides from March 2019 webinar on proposal development

Download PPT

InstructionsSlidesinstructionsslides

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If you are interested in receiving updates on the IDEAS Program, including quarterly newsletters, grant competition announcements, free professional development opportunities, and resources, please provide your email address using the form below. Please note that your contact information will not be shared externally nor will it be used to spam you with emails. IDEAS will send emails 1-2 times/month with resources, professional development opportunities, and grant competition updates. You can opt out at any time.

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