American Overseas Research Centers

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the purpose of the American Overseas Research Centers (AORC) program?
  2. Who is eligible to apply for grants under this program?
  3. Is it permissible for the applicant consortium to include institutions in the United States and institutions overseas?
  4. What kinds of activities can be supported with grant funds?
  5. What are concrete examples of allowable activities?
  6. How often is the AORC program competitions generally held?
  7. What is the duration (project period) for grants awarded under this program?
  8. What is the average annual grant amount?
  9. Is there a cost-sharing or matching requirement?
  10. What are the reporting requirements for grantees?
  11. Who reviews submitted applications, and how are applications evaluated?
  12. How are applicants notified about the outcome of their applications?

1. What is the purpose of the American Overseas Research Centers (AORC) program?

The AORC program awards grants to any American overseas research center to establish or operate an overseas center to promote postgraduate research, exchanges, and area studies.

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2. Who is eligible to apply for grants under this program?

Any American overseas research center that is a consortium of institutions of higher education that receives more than 50 percent of funding from public or private United States sources, has a permanent presence in the country in which the center is located, and is a tax exempt organization.

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3. Is it permissible for the applicant consortium to include institutions in the United States and institutions overseas?

No. The eligible consortium (center) is comprised of institutions in the United States only.

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4. What kinds of activities can be supported with grant funds?

AORC grants may be used to pay all or a portion of the cost of establishing or operating a center or program, including—

  • Cost of operation and maintenance of overseas facilities
  • Cost of organizing and managing conferences
  • Cost of teaching and research materials
  • Cost of acquisition, maintenance, and preservation of library collections
  • Cost of bringing visiting scholars and faculty to the center to teach or to conduct research
  • Cost of faculty and staff stipends and salaries
  • Cost of faculty, staff, and student travel
  • Cost of publication and dissemination of materials for the scholarly and general public

In conducting these kinds of activities and more, the centers contribute to the generation of knowledge about a country or world region and they promote a greater understanding about the cultures in which the centers are located.

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5. What are concrete examples of allowable activities?

The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) has operated intensive summer and academic-year language programs in India for decades and has provided language training to nearly 4,000 students. The number of language programs has expanded in recent years; in addition to offering regular programs in Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu, the Institute will operate summer programs in lesser-taught Indian languages upon demand, even for one student. The Institute’s intensive language programs provide invaluable training to students who need the language training in order to conduct their research projects or pursue their other career goals. AIIS provides practically the only opportunity for students to obtain this intensive training in these languages.

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6. How often is the AORC program competitions generally held?

The AORC program competition is generally held every four years.

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7. What is the duration (project period) for grants awarded under this program?

The duration for AORC grants is up to 48 months.

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8. What is the average annual grant amount?

The estimated average annual grant amount is $65,000.

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9. Is there a cost-sharing or matching requirement?

No. This program does not have a cost-sharing or matching requirement.

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10. What are the reporting requirements for grantees?

Grant recipients are required to submit an interim report in the fall and an annual performance report in the spring through the International Resource Information System (IRIS). Grantees are expected to report on the following categories:

  • Objectives and Accomplishments
  • Collaboration Activities
  • Adjustments to Project
  • Exemplary Activities
  • Priorities
  • International Travel
  • Center Information
  • Center Contacts
  • Researcher Profiles
  • Center Activities/Services
  • Publications
  • Sources of U.S. Funding
  • Budget – Use of Funds and Expected Use
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11. Who reviews submitted applications, and how are applications evaluated?

Applications are reviewed by panels of peers with area studies expertise, overseas research experience, and foreign language specialization. Reviewers are selected from the Office of Postsecondary Education Field Reader System. Review panels evaluate applications using the selection criteria in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations as well as the extent to which the applicant meets any announced priorities.

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12. How are applicants notified about the outcome of their applications?

If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators first and subsequently send you a Grant Award Notification document. If your application is not selected for funding, we will notify you.

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Last Modified: 10/10/2012