- What is the purpose of the International Research and Studies (IRS) program?
- What kinds of activities can be supported with grant funds?
- What are a few concrete examples of allowable activities?
- How often are competitions generally held?
- What is the duration of the average grant?
- What is the average annual grant amount?
- Is there a cost matching requirement? If so, are in-kind contributions acceptable as part of the grantee’s match?
- What are the reporting requirements for grantees? What kind of records and data should be maintained or collected in order to complete required reports?
- What are the requirements for the evaluation of funded projects?
- Are there program-wide performance measures?
- What is the indirect cost rate for the program?
- Does an applicant IHE have the option of using 8% (restricted rate for training grants) if they have a higher negotiated indirect rate?
- May the applicant IHE use a 10% de minimis indirect cost rate if their institution does not have a federally negotiated rate?
- How does an applicant entity chose which indirect cost rate to use?
- What indirect cost rate should an entity applying as an individual use?
1. What is the purpose of the International Research and Studies (IRS) program?
The purpose of the IRS program is to award grants that support research, surveys, studies, as well as the development of instructional materials to improve and strengthen instruction in modern foreign languages, area studies, and other international fields.TOP
2. What kinds of activities can be supported with grant funds?
Grant funds can support salaries, fringe benefits, travel related to the project, equipment, supplies, consultant costs, evaluation costs, production of the materials, etc. Funds awarded for IRS projects may not be used for the training of students and teachers.
A grantee under this competition may award subgrants to directly carry out project activities described in its application.TOP
3. What are a few concrete examples of allowable activities?
A few examples of allowable activities and associated expenses include the following:
- Domestic travel, in alignment with the Fly America Act and Open Skies Agreement and approved domestic GSA per diem rates, to conduct a survey or interviews with students.
- International travel, in alignment with the Fly America Act and Open Skies Agreement and approved U.S. Department of State international per diem rates, to conduct language research for specialized instructional materials in a less-commonly-taught language.
- Compensation (and fringe benefits, if applicable) for a data entry assistant, a data analyst, or a transcriber.
- Printing, digitization or website hosting of textbooks or workbooks for instructional materials.
- Attendance at a professional conference to present the results of a study.
- Compensation for an evaluation expert to perform the final evaluation for a completed project.
4. How often are competitions generally held?
The International Research and Studies program generally competes every three years.TOP
5. What is the duration of the average grant?
The IRS Program awards grants for a duration of 12-36 months. Most grants are awarded for a full three-year cycle.TOP
6. What is the average annual grant amount?
For the FY 2020 IRS competition cycle, the average annual grant amount was approximately $54,000. The maximum annual award was $77,000.TOP
7. Is there a cost matching requirement? If so, are in-kind contributions acceptable as part of the grantee’s match?
Cost matching is not required for this program.TOP
8. What are the reporting requirements for grantees? What kind of records and data should be maintained or collected in order to complete required reports?
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
- Adjustments to Project
- Exemplary Activities
- International Travel
- Projects Conducted
- Adoption of Outcomes
- Outreach Activities
- Sources of Funding
- Budget – Use of Funds and Expected Use
9. What are the requirements for the evaluation of funded projects?
All funded projects must have an evaluation plan for their grant and report on evaluation activities in accordance with that plan through the International Resource Information System (IRIS).
The evaluation plan should discuss goals, objectives, performance measures to monitor progress, data gathering techniques, funding, and personnel. Activities should focus on both formative and summative evaluations. The formative evaluation will provide feedback to the grantee on progress in meeting goals and objectives and reveal areas for improvement. The summative evaluation should focus on outcomes and should be completed by an independent evaluator that does not have a relationship with the project.TOP
10. Are there program-wide performance measures?
The Department uses the following measures to evaluate the success of the IRS program:
Percentage of IRS projects that are focused on improving or strengthening K-16 instruction in less commonly taught languages, area studies, or other international fields.
Percentage of IRS projects that are focused on the evaluation of the outcomes and effectiveness of Title VI programs in addressing national needs.
Percentage of IRS projects that result in information from IRS studies, surveys, or research on language, area, and international studies being made available and accessible to the public.
The cost per IRS project that is focused on improving or strengthening K-16 instruction in modern foreign languages, area studies, and other international fields.
11. What is the indirect cost rate for the program?
For institutions of higher education (IHE), please see eCFR :: 2 CFR 200.414 -- Indirect (F&A) costs and eCFR :: Appendix III to Part 200, Title 2 -- Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment, and Rate Determination for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) for additional details.
Entities applying as individuals are not eligible to request reimbursement for indirect costs.TOP
12. Does an applicant IHE have the option of using 8% (restricted rate for training grants) if they have a higher negotiated indirect rate?
The IRS program is not an educational training grant. Educational training grants provide funding for training or other educational services. Examples of the work supported by training grants are summer institutes, training programs for selected participants, the introduction of new or expanded courses, and similar instructional undertakings that are separately budgeted and accounted for by the sponsoring institution. These grants do not usually support activities involving research, development, and dissemination of new educational materials and methods.
Nonetheless, the applicant or subrecipient may budget the lower rate of 8% and annotate the voluntarily choice to waive indirect costs or charge less than the negotiated indirect cost rate.TOP
13. May the applicant IHE use a 10% de minimis indirect cost rate if their institution does not have a federally negotiated rate?
Yes, any non-Federal entity that has never received a negotiated indirect cost rate, except for those non-Federal entities described in Appendix VII to Part 200—States and Local Government and Indian Tribe Indirect Cost Proposals, paragraph D.1.b, may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely. As described in 2 CFR 200.403 -- Factors affecting allowability of costs, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both. If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time.TOP
14. How does an applicant entity chose which indirect cost rate to use?
An applicant may choose any of the above rates (or a different rate) for the calculation of indirect costs (IDC) in the application budget. When considering this, we strongly recommend that IHEs take into account how their choice of IDC rate aligns with the response to the “Budget and Cost Effectiveness” selection criteria. Specifically, direct costs for which funding is requested should allow for the completion of the proposed project activities, and all costs (including indirect costs) should be reasonable in relation to the objectives of the project.TOP
15. What indirect cost rate should an entity applying as an individual use?
Entities applying as individuals are not eligible to request reimbursement for indirect costs (IDC). Therefore, the budget line for IDC on the ED-524 Budget Summary form submitted by individuals should be $0.00.TOP