Global Innovation Initiative | FAQ


Do you have questions about GII?
IIE held two online informational webinars to assist applicants as they begin the U.S. grant competition proposal process. IIE grant administrators provided a brief overview of the initiative, addressed several frequently asked questions, and took questions from the audience.

Recordings of both webinars are available for viewing:

November 13, 2013 Informational Webinar

November 15, 2013 Informational Webinar (recommended)

Q: Who can apply?

A: Accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institutions meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501c(3) are invited to submit proposals together with at least one UK higher education institution partner and one higher education institution partner in a designated other country (Brazil, China, India, and/or Indonesia). All partner institutions must be accredited in their own countries. In order to apply to the U.S. grant competition administered by IIE, the partnership must be led by a U.S. institution. For information about the UK grant competition, please visit the British Council grant competition webpage.


Q: May an eligible partnership be comprised of more than three universities?

A: Partnerships of more than three post-secondary educational institutions from eligible countries can apply, however the partnership must meet the minimum requirement of having at least one U.S., one UK and one designated other country institution from Brazil, China, India, and/or Indonesia.


Q: What are the designated other countries?

A: The designated countries for the Global Innovation Initiative are Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia. A partnership must include at least one of these countries in order to be eligible.


Q: What makes a lead institution?

A: For the U.S. grant competition, the lead U.S. institution is responsible for: submitting the partnership’s proposal, overall program coordination, grant reporting, and the fiduciary responsibilities for the two year duration of the grant.  The lead U.S. institution will be the main point of administrative contact for IIE.


Q: What type of research is allowed under this grant competition?

A: The Global Innovation Initiative provides support for multilateral research collaboration on STEM-related issues of global issue of significance. The following STEM-related issues are priority areas for the competitions:

  • Energy, climate change and the environment
  • Agriculture, food security and water
  • Public health and wellbeing
  • Urbanization

Interdisciplinary research is eligible as long as its foundation lies in the STEM disciplines.


Q: What types of activities are allowed under this grant competition?

A: Proposed activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Joint research
  • Exchange of students and scholars for research purposes
  • Convening research panel discussions or symposia
  • Team teaching
  • Curriculum development
  • Joint program development
  • Other activities that advance the proposed research objectives

Group activities are strongly encouraged to take place in the U.S. or the other designated partner country (Brazil, China, India, and/or Indonesia).


Q: What areas of research are allowed with China?

A: Grants for U.S.-UK-China partnerships with a U.S. lead institution are restricted to research issues broadly addressing the environment.


Q: How much funding is available?

A: Applicants may submit proposals requesting funding between $150,000 and $250,000. Proposals requesting less than $150,000 and greater than $250,000 will be considered ineligible and will not be included in the selection process. The U.S. and UK grant competitions anticipate awarding approximately 10 grants each.


Q: What is the duration of the grant? Can we apply for shorter than two years?

A: The grants are for the duration of no more and no less than 2 years. The period of performance is April 1, 2014 – April 1, 2016.


Q: What are the cost share requirements? What types? Are indirect costs allowed?

A: Cost-share is expected and will be prioritized in selection decisions. Cost-share can either be direct or in-kind, and is to be shared among the partner institutions with respect to their institutional capacity. Examples of cost share include direct funds contribution, donated staff time, support for travel and accommodations, donated materials and/or facilities. Additional cost-share from the private sector and other organizations may be included. Cost share contributions of indirect costs are allowed based on the U.S. institution’s individual Negotiated Indirect Cost Recovery Agreement (NICRA) rate only. Institutions are strongly encouraged to maximize the funds towards direct costs. Those institutions that apply the majority of the grant funds to the research project will be viewed favorably in selection. A copy of the lead institution’s NICRA agreement should be included in the proposal.


Q: Who is responsible for visa sponsorship?

A: U.S. institutions are responsible for procuring U.S. visas necessary for travel to the U.S. IIE and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs place critically important emphases on the security and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J visa) Programs. Grant recipients and sponsors must adhere to all regulations governing the J visa. Proposals should demonstrate the applicant's capacity to meet all requirements governing the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR 62. The grant recipient will be responsible for issuing DS-2019 forms to participants in this program. Where necessary, IIE will work with institutions without J-1 visa sponsorship capacity.

For travel to countries other than the U.S., partner universities are responsible for working together to arrange any necessary visas.


Q: Do you expect students to participate?

A: Student participation is permitted and encouraged within the auspices of research activities.


Q: Must the partner institutions be institutions of higher education?

A: The partnership must include at least one accredited higher education institution from each of the U.S., UK and a designated other country. Other institutions such as research councils, private sector companies, nonprofit organizations or other similar organizations, may provide additional support.


Q: How will funds be disbursed?

A: All funds awarded in the U.S. competition will be disbursed directly to the U.S. lead institution and will cover a period of two years. Funding may be transferred to partner institutions for activities that support the mission of the proposal and the overall initiative; however, the partnership is strongly encouraged to hold the majority of activities in the U.S. and the other partner country (Brazil, China, Indonesia, and/or India).


Q: What will the reporting requirements be?

A: The lead U.S. institution will be required to submit quarterly reports to IIE.  Final narrative and financial reports will be due upon conclusion of the grant. While all partners are expected to contribute to the reporting requirements, the responsibility of submitting the report is with the lead U.S. institutions.


Q: What must be included in the proposal?

A: The following components should be included in a GII grant proposal:

  • Application form
  • Proposal narrative (10 pages double-spaced)
  • Budget & budget narrative
  • NICRA agreement
  • Letters of commitment
  • Resumes


Q: How do I submit a proposal?

A: All contents of the proposal should be submitted in PDF format by email to Please note that attachments larger than 10MB cannot be accepted and should be sent in multiple email messages if attachments exceed this size.


Q: Can a partnership submit two proposals?

A: IIE will only accept one proposal per U.S.-UK-designated country (Brazil, China, India, and/or Indonesia) partnership. Partnerships that submit similar proposals to both the U.S. and the UK grant competitions will be ruled ineligible. However, institutions may be involved in multiple, distinct proposals.


Q: When will the final decisions be announced?

A: The selected Global Innovation Initiative grant recipients will be announced in spring 2014.


Q: Are existing partnerships eligible?

A: Existing partnerships are eligible to apply for a GII grant, providing that they meet the eligibility requirements.


Q: What is required as proof of partnership?

A: Each partner institution is required to submit a letter from an official of the institution who is authorized to make commitments, detailing its commitment to undertaking the project.


Q: Who are the funders of the grant?

A: The Global Innovation Initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of State and the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills and the British Council. The U.S. Department of State will provide the funding for the U.S. grant competition and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the British Council will provide funding for the UK grant competition.

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