The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad announces an open competition for a cooperative agreement to establish a University Partnership between an accredited four-year U.S. college or university and the University of Gujrat in Mass Communication and Media Studies. The support of higher education in Pakistan is a compelling need and is one example of the U.S. government’s long-term commitment to the education of Pakistanis and to increasing mutual understanding between both countries. Overall authority for this cooperative 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 other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION For additional information on the University of Gujrat (UOG) and other topics related to this proposal, please see the UOG Background document posted at grants.gov. Click “Full Application” to access these documents.
For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.
To request a hard copy of the Solicitation Package (the full electronic package is available on Grants.gov), or for assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, contact Ellen Delage in the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA/PPD), U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520, telephone: 202-647-9503, email: DelageEM@state.gov. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number SCAPPD-12-CA-101-SCA-061512 located at the top of this announcement when making your request.
CONTENTS Executive Summary…………………………………………………................ 4
Eligibility Requirements………………………………………………….…… 10
Application and Submission Information……………………………..………. 12
Award Selection Criteria……………………………………………….…….. 16
Award Administration………………………………………………………… 17
I. Executive Summary The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad announces an open competition for a cooperative agreement to establish a University Partnership between a four-year college or university in the U.S. and the University of Gujrat in the area of Mass Communication and Media Studies. Accredited U.S. four-year colleges and universities meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to pursue institutional or departmental objectives in partnership with the University of Gujrat. Objectives detailed as priorities for UOG include the development and implementation of faculty and/or student exchange programs; academic collaboration including: curriculum development, long distance teaching via internet/DVC, exchange of resource materials and publications of mutual interest, collaborative research, professional development for faculty and other collaborative programs. The means of achieving these objectives is purposefully left broad to encourage the submission of innovative proposals tailored to the international education and research goals of both institutions. But, note that this RFP does not support the creation of new degree programs or academic degree programs for faculty, staff or students. The timeframe for achieving the objectives must be clearly outlined in the proposal funding request. The project implementation period should be 3 years.
The U.S. Government, through the Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy Islamabad, is providing resources to promote increased, long-term people-to-people ties through a wide range of public diplomacy programs. These resources promote cultural, educational, and professional relations between the people of Pakistan and the United States. University partnerships focused on the liberal arts and humanities is one of several programs implemented by the Embassy. The U.S. Mission in Pakistan also provides funding for and administrative support to the bi-national Fulbright Commission, established in 1950 as the U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan.
One conference call will be scheduled while the RFP is open so that interested parties can consult with cultural affairs staff at U.S. Embassy Islamabad. Consultations must be an open forum so that all applicants will hear the same questions and answers and have access to the same information in preparing their proposals.
It is incumbent upon the applicant to discuss their project ideas with the University of Gujrat before submitting a proposal. Contact information for the partner institution may be obtained from Ellen Delage. See page 13 below for her contact information.
Discussions with the University of Gujrat must take place before the submission of the applicant’s proposal and a summary of the discussions must be submitted with the proposal. If applicants have any difficulties in communicating with UOG, they should notify Ellen Delage so that she can assist.
II. BACKGROUND The University of Gujrat (UOG) is eager to partner with a U.S. institution to share knowledge, research and capacity building of faculty, staff and students. UOG places particular emphasis on 1) the intellectual, social and economic development of Pakistani society through the pursuit of education, learning, research and enterprise; 2) creating a student-centered learning environment for promoting students' intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding for meaningful and productive lives; and 3) achieving excellence in research and teaching in pure, applied, technical and professional fields.
Project Objectives The purpose of this program is to assist UOG to increase its capacity in maintaining and enhancing the academic, research and knowledge exchange environment for faculty, staff and students. This program will contribute to the learning and teaching of mass communications and media in Pakistan and enhance the community and economic impact of UOG. The program will also assist in strengthening mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Pakistan.
The Partnership might include, but is not limited to: the development and implementation of faculty and/or student exchange programs; academic collaboration including: curriculum development, long distance teaching via internet/DVC, exchange of resource materials and publications of mutual interest, collaborative research, professional development for faculty and other collaborative programs. Note that this RFP does not support the creation of new degree programs or academic degree programs for faculty, staff or students.
Applicants are invited to propose institutional objectives that support these purposes. Proposals should explain in detail how project activities will enable participants to achieve specific changes at the cooperating departments or institutions. Proposals should outline well-reasoned strategies designed to meet specific objectives at each participating U.S. and foreign department or institution as a whole. In most cases, a proposal to pursue a limited number of related thematic objectives at each institution will be stronger and more coherent than a proposal addressing a large number of unrelated objectives. For example, proposals may outline new teaching specializations or methodologies; new or revised curricula; and new programs for outreach to educators, professional groups, or the general public. Proposals should explain in substantial detail strategies to promote curriculum, faculty and staff development at UOG.
Projects focusing on curriculum reform should describe the existing curriculum, the courses targeted for revision, and how the current content will be restructured to incorporate the new academic themes. The proposal should additionally describe the topics and content of any new courses or educational materials that will be developed and introduced.
This RFP does not support the creation of new degree programs, but rather encourages the use of UOG’s strong, existing academic framework to support interdisciplinary academic and research goals shared by both partner institutions. This RFP does not support academic degree programs for faculty, staff or students.
In addition to demonstrating how the applicant institution can assist its partner to meet institutional goals, proposals should also explain how this cooperation will enable the U.S. institution to address its own needs. Accordingly, applicants are encouraged to describe the needs and deficiencies as well as the capabilities and strengths of the U.S. department and institution, and how each institution will contribute to, and benefit from, the achievement of project objectives. Proposals must realistically assess institutional capacities and contain compelling objectives that address institutional needs and justify a request for support.
To be competitive, proposals should demonstrate that the participating institutions are committed to long-term mutual support and cooperation in project implementation. Ideally, this RFP will serve to seed a lasting relationship between the U.S. partner institution and UOG.
Projects may include soundly planned distance learning activities. These activities should be directly linked to stated project goals and objectives. Proposals with distance learning components should describe pertinent course delivery methods, audiences, and technical requirements in detail. Proposals should discuss not only the infrastructure at the partner institution, but also the level of access among the target population. Proposals that discuss distance-learning elements must address the technological access and capacity of UOG.
Monitoring & Evaluation Institutions receiving university partnership awards will be expected to submit at minimum quarterly reports on the results of program activities. The embassy strongly encourages recipient institutions to keep embassy staff engaged on partnership progress. Proposals should describe and budget for a methodology for project monitoring and evaluation. The monitoring and evaluation plan should include: an assessment of the current status of the participating department’s and institution's needs at the time of program inception (with specific reference to project objectives); formative evaluation to allow for mid-course revisions in the implementation strategy; and, at the conclusion of the project, summative evaluation of the degree to which the project's objectives have been achieved. The final evaluation should include indicators of the project's influence on the participating institutions and their surrounding communities or societies. The final evaluation should also include recommendations about how to build upon project achievements. Evaluative observations by external consultants with appropriate subject and regional expertise are especially encouraged. This monitoring and evaluation plan must include:
1) how baseline data from either primary or secondary sources will be collected;
2) clear, defined, objectively verifiable performance indicators to be used to track and predict progress towards achievement of project objectives and results;
3) the sources, methods (quantitative and qualitative), and timeline for data collection;
4) the team or individuals responsible for ensuring data are available on schedule;
7) a monitoring and evaluation budget aligned to support the previous requirements.
Knowledge of working conditions in Pakistan can be important for a successful proposal and project. U.S. universities that do not have experience in Pakistan are encouraged to discuss or partner with universities that have.
Institutional Commitment An accredited four-year U.S. college or university must submit the proposal and must be prepared to serve as the funding recipient with responsibility for project coordination. Proposals must include letters of commitment from all institutional partners, including the institution submitting the proposal. Each letter must be signed by an official who is authorized to commit institutional resources to the project. Proposals should not include a letter of commitment from the University of Gujrat.
Costs The commitment of all partner institutions to the proposed project should be reflected through cost-sharing, which they offer in the context of their respective institutional capacities. Although the contributions offered by institutions with relatively few resources may be less than those offered by applicants with greater resources, all participating institutions should identify appropriate contributions. GU contributions may be done in kind. U.S. institutions are strongly encouraged to contribute to the international travel expenses for U.S. participants as part of their institutional cost-share. Proposed cost-sharing will be considered an important indicator of the applicant institution’s interest in the project and potential to benefit from it.
Funds awarded may be used to assist with the costs of the exchange visits as well as the costs of the administration of the project by the U.S. grantee institution. U.S. administrative costs that may be covered from the funds awarded include administrative salaries, faculty replacement costs, other direct administrative costs as well as limited indirect costs. Although the award will be given to a single U.S. institutional partner, adequate provision in the proposal for the administrative costs of the project at the University of Gujrat must be included.
Projects focusing primarily on technology or physical infrastructure development are not eligible for consideration under this competition.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to propose other project activities not specifically mentioned in this solicitation so long as they reinforce the impact of the project.
In planning exchanges for Pakistani participants, U.S. institutions must allow four-six months from the date of the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to the date of travel. U.S. visas are not guaranteed for the purposes of this program.
Scope of Award The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and the award recipient would agree to participate jointly in the establishment of the University Partnership. Each party would have specific obligations and responsibilities under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement. These obligations and responsibilities are outlined below:
The recipient shall provide the following support:
Design and implement the University Partnership Program
Provide all work plans and schedules to U.S. Embassy Islamabad for approval.
Provide copies of curricula outlines and teaching materials developed to U.S. Embassy Islamabad.
Provide names and resumes of all Pakistan travelers to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad for the Embassy’s approval.
Manage all funds granted including those used by the University of Gujrat.
Provide programmatic and administrative oversight of the overall program and participants including activities and participants initiated by the University of Gujrat.
Coordinate logistical arrangements for all program travelers such as obtaining necessary visas, pre-departure information, airport pick-up and drop-off, lodging and meals, health insurance and medical treatment and the disbursement of program funds.
Provide health insurance for all Pakistanis visiting the U.S. under this program. Provide certification of health insurance for each Pakistani traveler four to six months before travel date so that the certification is available for the pre-visa interview documentation process.
Ensure that all documentation is prepared and that appointments are made so that the visa interview at U.S. Embassy Islamabad for all Pakistani travelers takes place at least four to six months before expected travel date.
Assemble quarterly and final, programmatic and financial reports from both the U.S. institution and UOG so that one single report is sent to the embassy.
Maintain regular contact with U.S. Embassy Islamabad and the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA/PPD) at the State Dept. in Washington, D.C. about overall program administration. Keep both the Embassy and SCA/PPD fully and currently informed about how the program and operations are administered, any problems or deficiencies, and the necessity for, and progress of, corrective action.
Monitor activities taking place at UOG and resolve problems in carrying out administrative and program responsibilities, in coordination with the Embassy and SCA/PPD.
The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section shall provide the following support:
Approve all work plans and schedules.
Approve all Pakistani travelers to the U.S.
Coordinate issuance of DS -2019 forms with the State Department in Washington, D.C.
Monitor and evaluate the program, including site visits.
Suggest program changes when necessary.
III. ELIGIBILITY Requirements
Eligibility for U.S. institutions is limited to not-for-profit organizations subject to 501 (c) (3) of the tax code.
The lead institution and funding recipient in the project must be an accredited four-year U.S college or university.
The Department encourages organizations that have not previously received international program funding from the U.S. Government to apply under this announcement. Applicants must have a demonstrated expertise in the liberal arts and humanities, specifically in the subject area defined by UOG for this proposed partnership.
The applicant must have the ability to provide security and secure housing and transport for U.S. exchange participants in Pakistan. Security needs may be included in the proposal budget.
The primary participant in Pakistan will be the University of Gujrat.
Secondary partners may include independent research institutes, relevant governmental organizations, and private non-profit organizations with project-related educational objectives.
Cost Sharing or Matching
This program requires cost sharing. The U.S. and/or Pakistan institution may make in-kind contributions towards cost-sharing.
U.S. INSTITUTION AND PARTICIPANT ELIGIBILITY:
The lead institution and funding recipient in the project must be an accredited four-year U.S. college or university. Expertise working in Pakistan and established relationships with Pakistan universities and/or local officials in Pakistan will be considered favorably but is not required. The lead U.S. organization in a consortium or other combination of cooperating institutions is responsible for submitting the application. Each application must document the lead organization's authority to represent all U.S. cooperating partners. With the exception of outside evaluators, participation is limited to administrators, faculty and students from the participating U.S. institution.
FOREIGN INSTITUTION AND PARTICIPANT ELIGIBILITY:
The University of Gujrat will be the primary foreign partner. Secondary partners may include independent research institutes, relevant governmental organizations, and private non-profit organizations with project-related educational objectives. With the exception of outside evaluators, participation is limited to administrators, faculty and students from the participating foreign institution. Foreign participants must be both qualified to receive U.S. J-1 visas and willing to travel to the U.S. under the provisions and restrictions of a J-1 visa during the exchange visits funded by this program. Foreign participants may not be U.S. citizens.
A proposal will be deemed technically ineligible for consideration if:
1) It does not fully adhere to the guidelines established in this document and in the Solicitation Package;
2) It is not received by the deadline;
3) It is not submitted by the U.S. partner;
4) One of the partner institutions is ineligible;
5) The primary foreign partner is not the University of Gujrat.
IV. AWARD INFORMATION Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year Funds: 2012
Approximate Total Funding: $1,000,000 pending availability of funds. The Federal share of requests may not exceed $1,000,000.
Project performance period should be proposed for 3 years. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION Application Submission Process: A pre-application teleconference will be offered prior to the closing date for this announcement. The purpose of the pre-application teleconference is to review the program announcement and discuss the project with U.S. Embassy Islamabad before submitting a proposal. The conference call will be held on Tuesday, June 26, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. Questions submitted in advance will have a better chance of complete answers on the call. Submit written questions to Ellen Delage at DelageEM@state.gov. The dial-in telephone number and any new details about the conference call will be shared by e-mail with those that contact Ellen Delage and will be posted to the RFP page on www.grants.com. The transcript of conference call discussions as well as all written questions and answers will be posted at www.grants.gov. Additional questions may be submitted at any time before July 27, 2012. Those questions and their answers will also be posted on grants. gov.
Applications must be submitted electronically using Grants.gov. Thorough instructions on the Grants.gov application process are available at http://www.grants.gov. For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.
For assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, contact Ellen Delage, Afghanistan/Pakistan Program Specialist in the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Room 4440, Washington, D.C. 20520, telephone: (202)647-9541, email: DelageEM@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number SCAPPD-12-CA-037-SCA-061512 located at the top of this announcement when making your request.
Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted on or before July 27, 2012, 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Applications submitted after 11:59 p.m. will be ineligible for consideration. Begin the application process early, as this will allow time to address any technical difficulties that may arise in advance of the deadline. There will be no exceptions to this application deadline.
All applicants must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting an application. Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, it could take as long as two weeks to have the registration validated and confirmed. Please begin the registration process immediately to ensure that the process is completed well in advance of the deadline for applications. Until that process is complete, you will not be issued a user password for Grants.gov, which is required for application submission. There are four steps that you must complete before you are able to register: (1) Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet (if your organization does not have one already) by calling 1-866-705-5711; (2) Register with Central Contractor Registry (CCR); (3) Register yourself as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (4) Be authorized as an AOR by your organization. For more information, go to www.grants.gov. Please note that your CCR registration must be annually renewed. Failure to renew your CCR registration may prohibit submission of an application through Grants.gov.
Application Content: Applicants must follow the RFP instructions and conditions contained herein and supply all information required. Failure to furnish all information or comply with stated requirements will result in disqualification from the competition. Applicants must set forth full, accurate, and complete information as required by this RFP. The penalty for making false statements in proposals to the USG is prescribed on 18 U.S.C.1001.
The complete proposal package must consist of the following: 1 - Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424):
This form can be found on-line at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/forms.html.
2 – Proposal Narrative
The proposal may not exceed 10 double-spaced pages in 12-point, Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins. This requirement excludes the allowable appendices, which are identified in Section 3 below.
The abstract is limited to 300 words in length. It must provide a summary of the identified need, proposed activities, and expected results. b) Problem Statement:
The problem statement must describe the need for the project, with regards to: location, local resources, and regional educational challenges.
c) Project Goals/Implementation Plan:
The applicant must specify the goals and objectives of the project, relative to the problem statement. The proposed activities should be described in sufficient detail to show how objectives and goals will be met. This section should also describe how success will be measured via performance indicators. Finally, this section must include a time-task plan that clearly identifies the objectives and major activities.
d) Organizational Capability:
Applications must include a clear description of the applicant’s management structure, and organizational experience and background in Pakistan as these relate to the proposed activities. The description should include information on the logistical strengths of the organization in Pakistan, i.e. offices, vehicles, infrastructure, security, etc. Besides information about the organization as a whole, this section must also identify the proposed management structure and staffing plan for the proposed project. The proposal should include a statement on how security would be provided for recipient personnel. While the award recipient is responsible for providing their own security, related expenses may be included in the proposal budget.
3 - Appendices:
The application submission must include the following five appendices. Only the appendices listed below may be included as part of the application:
Budget – the budget must identify the total amount of funding requested, with a breakdown of amounts to be spent in the following budget categories: personnel; travel; equipment; supplies; consultants/contracts; other direct costs; and indirect costs. The budget may not exceed 1 page in length, and may include an estimated cost for continuation activities, which will be considered for successful applicants to this RFP in future fiscal years based on performance and the availability of funds.
Project Timeframe – the project timeframe must include a start date, end date and a breakdown of various stages of the project. The better detailed the milestones and target dates, the better the review committee can visualize the project.
Resume – a resume, not to exceed 1 page in length, must be included for the proposed key staff persons, such as the Project Director and any other staff in the decision-making positions.
Letters of Commitment –Proposals must include letters of commitment from all institutional partners, including the institution submitting the proposal, which will serve as the funding recipient with responsibility for project coordination. Each letter must be signed by an official who is authorized to commit institutional resources to the project. Letters of commitment should be included for those organizations that will play an active role in the project, including those that receive financial support through the project budget, and should define the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership. The individual letters cannot exceed 1 page in length, and applicants are limited to submitting up to 5 letters per application.
Monitoring & Evaluation Plan – The monitoring and evaluation plan should meet all the criteria detailed on pp. 7-8.
V. AWARD SELECTION CRITERIA Applicants should note that the following criteria (1) serve as a standard against which all proposals will be evaluated, and (2) serve to identify the significant matters that should be addressed in all proposals. The USG will award funding to the applicants whose offers represent the best value to the USG on the basis of technical merit and cost.
Each application will be evaluated by a peer review committee of Department of State and other experts, as deemed appropriate. The evaluation criteria have been tailored to the requirements of this RFP.
Problem Statement (25 points): This section should identify the importance and relevance of the applicant’s proposal to the broader U.S. Public Diplomacy policy objectives as well as relevance to the program objectives of the Department of State as described under the first two Sections of this solicitation. A compelling statement that shows an in-depth understanding of Gujrat University’s needs and strengths will be given great consideration by the review panel.
Implementation Plan (40 points): Applicants should describe what they propose to do and how they will do it. The proposed activities must directly relate to meeting the goals and objectives, and applicants should include information on how they will measure activities’ effectiveness. The review panel will be viewing the implementation plan in terms of how well it addresses the problem statement, relevance of the goals and objectives, feasibility of the proposed activities and their timeline for completion, and the extent to which the impact of the project will continue beyond the conclusion of the funding period.
Organizational Capability (20 points): Applicants must demonstrate how their resources, capabilities and experience will enable them to achieve the stated goals and objectives. In addition, applicants should describe how and with whom they will collaborate to meet project goals. The application must distinguish all key partners and organizations that will be involved in the project. The application should also thoroughly outline any experience in Pakistan on the part of the U.S. institution; such experience will greatly strengthen an application.
Appendices (15 points):
Budget: Costs shall be evaluated for realism, control practices and efficiency. The Department of State must determine that the costs paid for this award are reasonable, allowable and allocable to the proposed project activities. This will consist of a review of the Budget to determine if the overall costs are realistic for the work to be performed, if the costs reflect the applicant’s understanding of the allowable cost principles established by OMB Circular A-122, and if the costs are consistent with the program narrative.
Resume: The review panel will consider the appropriateness of the selected project director; in view of the role and responsibility that person will play in guiding the project through implementation to completion. Position descriptions submitted in lieu of the resume will be reviewed for the appropriateness of the qualifications and skills identified.
Letters of Intent: The review panel will consider the types and depth of relationships that the applicant has with local organizations. The panel will also review the letters to determine the willingness of local organizations to participate in the effort, and that all parties have an understanding of their unique roles and responsibilities in terms of the proposed project.
Monitoring & Evaluation Plan: The review panel will consider all the elements of the plan (the data collection, the performance indicators, the timeline, the implementers, the analysis, the application and use of the evaluation results) to determine if the plan appears to be fully integrated into the project and likely to produce accurate and useful results.
VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION Award Notices: The cooperative agreement shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The Grants Officer is the USG official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award and administer grants and cooperative agreements. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the Recipient through either U.S. mail, e-mail or facsimile transmission. Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified in writing.
Applicants should be aware that there will be a delay between the time that full applications are submitted and awards are made. Successful applicants can expect to receive their funding 2 - 4 months after the application is approved.
Issuance of this RFP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the USG, nor does it commit the USG to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the USG reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.
Reporting Requirements: Grantees are required to submit quarterly program progress and financial reports throughout the project period. Progress and financial reports are due 30 days after the reporting period. Final programmatic and financial reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period. Progress reports at a minimum should be submitted via electronic mail to an address to be provided in the award.
VII. Disclaimer If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with the award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of the Department of State.