IDEAS Grant Competition

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) 2023 IDEAS grant competition assists U.S. colleges and universities in creating, diversifying, and/or expanding their study abroad programming in support of U.S. foreign policy goals.

The two-phase 2023 grant competition will award approximately 30 grants of up to $35,000 each to accredited colleges and universities. This cycle will also pilot an opportunity for consortia of U.S. colleges and universities to apply for additional funding for collaborative projects focused on building capacity at higher education institutions serving Indigenous peoples of the United States. Approximately one IDEAS consortium grant of up to $50,000 will be awarded in this category.

An overview of this competition can be found below and in the application portal. For full details, please review the Request for Proposals.

Phase One of the 2023 IDEAS grant competition is now closed. Phase Two will be open exclusively to selected semi-finalist applicants. The next public competition will open in late 2023, pending funding from the U.S. Government.

Phase 1: Concept Phase
(October 26 – December 16, 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.

Interested applicants are encouraged to view the following informational webinars hosted by the IDEAS Program. The purpose of these webinars is to provide an overview of the IDEAS grant competition and answer questions from interested applicants. Recordings of the webinars and related materials are linked below.

  1. Grant Competition Information Session
    View the recording:
  2. Foreign Policy Goals Webinar
    View the recording:
  3. Ask a Grantee Webinar
    View the recording:

Phase 2: Proposal Phase 
(Early February – mid-April 2023, approximately 9 weeks)

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.

The information below provides an overview of the 2023 IDEAS grant competition.
For full details, please review the 2023 Request for Proposals

General Application Information

Eligibility Criteria:
  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 outbound or inbound student costs, including but not limited to scholarships, travel, passports, tuition, or meals for U.S. or foreign students. 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 U.S. study abroad programming in foreign locations with a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 1, 2, or 3. Development of in-person programming in foreign locations with a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 4 is not permitted.
    1. In the event that a proposal is selected for an IDEAS grant and the destination changes to a Level 4, 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.
    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.
    3. Note: If selected for an IDEAS grant, institutions using funds to support travel to foreign locations will be required to share travel and safety information with the IDEAS Program, and those travelling to Level 3 locations will need to provide additional safety details. More information will be provided on this following award issuance.
  6. IDEAS grants can support the development of virtual U.S. study abroad programming in all foreign locations, regardless of their U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory level.
2023 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 addressing the climate crisis, conserving nature, economic promise of climate action, food security, ocean and polar affairs, renewable energy, 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, 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 artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, critical and emerging technologies, digital engagement and policies, engineering, and technology cooperation.

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. Applicants may address more than one foreign policy goal but should identify a primary foreign policy goal of focus.

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.

2023 Phase One Proposal Components

A complete Phase One application should not exceed 750 words and should include all information described below and in the Request for Proposals. 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 template 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)
IDEAS Consortium Grant, Indigenous-Serving Institutions

Approximately one grant of up to $50,000 under the 2023 IDEAS grant competition will be awarded to a consortium of at least two U.S colleges and/or universities to collaborate on building study abroad capacity, programs, and resources at institutions serving Indigenous peoples of the United States. Indigenous-serving institutions have a history of educating student groups historically underrepresented in study abroad, and through this consortium grant, the IDEAS Program aims to:

  1. Encourage collaboration and resource-sharing within U.S. higher education with the goal of increasing study abroad capacity and programs at Indigenous-serving institutions, and
  2. Share best practices from Indigenous-serving institutions on engaging diverse students with the wider U.S. higher education community.

Consortium grant activities under this initiative can engage and benefit all students, but applicants should detail how their proposed projects will be inclusive of and engage Indigenous groups in the United States, including Alaska Native, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and/or Pacific Islander communities, professors, and students.

At least one institution in the consortium must be officially recognized as one of the following MSI types:

  • Alaska Native-Serving Institution
  • Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution
  • Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution
  • Native Hawaiian-Serving Institution
  • Tribal College or University

As with all IDEAS grant applications, consortium grant applicants may propose a variety of project activities that aim at building study abroad capacity on their specific campuses or across Indigenous-serving institutions more broadly. Regardless of the programming proposed, all consortium grant applicants must allocate at least $5,000 of their budgets to developing and sharing resources with the wider U.S. higher education community. 

For full details on the IDEAS consortium grant, please review section 2c of the Request for Proposals. Example of how IDEAS grantees are addressing this goal can be found here.

Applications for an IDEAS consortium grant may also be considered for a $35,000 IDEAS grant, pending availability of funding.

Application Timeline

October 26, 2022: Phase One opens
November 8, 2022: IDEAS Grant Competition Informational Webinar (View recording)
November 17, 2022: Foreign Policy Goals Webinar (View recording)
November 29, 2022: Ask A Grantee Webinar (View recording)
December 16, 2022: Phase One closes
January 2023: Applications reviewed by study abroad professionals
Early February 2023: Semi-finalist selection announced; Phase Two begins
March 2023: Semi-finalist applicant webinar trainings (dates TBA)
April 14, 2023: Phase Two closes; Semi-finalists submit full proposals
April-May 2023: Applications reviewed by study abroad professionals
June 2023: Finalists announced
August 1, 2023-July 31, 2025: Grant period of performance (up to 24 months)

Grant Competition Resources

TitleDescriptionResource LinkCategoryTyperesource_category_hfilterresource_tag_hfilter
2023 Grant Competition Webinar: Presentation Slides

Slides from November 2023 webinar on the 2023 IDEAS grant competition

Download PDF

2023 Grant Competition Webinar: Recording

Webinar recording of the intro to the 2023 IDEAS grant competition

View Recording

2023 IDEAS Grant Competition – Application Instructions

Please review this document for details on how to submit your grant competition application.

Download PDF

Instructions, Request for Proposalsinstructions rfp
2023 IDEAS Grant Competition – Application Template

Download this template to draft your Phase One IDEAS grant competition application.

Download Word Doc

Request for Proposals, Templatesrfp templates
2023 IDEAS Grant Competition – Frequently Asked Questions

Please review this document for frequently asked questions related to the IDEAS grant competition: updated November 21, 2022.

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
2023 IDEAS Grant Competition – Request for Proposals

Please review this document for details on Phase One of the 2023 IDEAS grant competition.

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
2023 IDEAS Grant Competition Ask an IDEAS Grantee Webinar: Recording

Webinar recording of the 2023 IDEAS grant competition Ask an IDEAS Grantee session

View Recording

Request for Proposalsrfp
2023 IDEAS Grant Competition FPG Webinar: Recording

Webinar recording of the 2023 IDEAS grant competition FPG Alignment session

View Recording

Request for Proposalsrfp
2023 IDEAS Grant Competition FPG Webinar: Slides

Slides from November 2023 webinar on the aligning your 2023 IDEAS grant competition application with U.S. Foreign Policy Goals.

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

Faculty-led Budget Development Template

Community Resource: Faculty-led Program Budget Template from January 2020 IDEAS Workshop at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Download XLSX

Faculty-Led Study Abroad, TemplatesTemplatefaculty-led-program templatestemplate
Foreign Policy Goal Alignment: Presentation Slides (2022)

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

Download PDF

Foreign Policy Goal Alignment: Webinar Recording (2022)

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

View Recording

Foreign Policy Goals in Action

Review this documents for examples of how IDEAS grantees have incorporated U.S. foreign policy goals into their grant projects.

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
IDEAS for Indigenous Inclusion

Click here to learn how IDEAS grantees are expanding study abroad access to Indigenous students.

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
IDEAS Grant Competition – Phase Two Proposal Guidelines (2022)

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

Download PDF

Request for Proposalsrfp
Intro to IDEAS Webinar

Webinar recording to introduce IDEAS from November 2019

View MP4

Logic Model Sample

An example of a completed logic model

Download PDF

Logic Model Template

Please use this template to develop your institutions logic model

Download Doc

Proposal Development Webinar

Recording of the proposal development webinar from March 14, 2019

View MP4

Proposal Development Webinar Slides

Slides from March 2019 webinar on proposal development

Download PPT


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