USAID Research and Innovation Fellowship Information Session

USAID Research and Innovation Fellowship Information Session


Laura Ahearn: It is wonderful to be back in
Ann Arbor. It’s really, really great to be here. As Paula said, I am a Michigan Alumn
class of ’94, PhD. in Anthropology. I’m a linguist and cultural anthropologist. I did
my work in Nepal. I’ll tell you a little bit more about how
I got associated with this program in just a moment. But I want to know a little bit
more about you first. Give me a sense of disciplines and subjects so I can maybe orient my talk
a little bit more towards who you are and what you’re interested in. Biology or any version thereof? That’s close
enough. Chemistry? Good. Physics? Sort of. Engineering? and Health Sciences? OK, you
can double count yourself, triple count yourself, quadruple count is fine too. Social Sciences? Yah! What am I missing? Call
out some other things. Let me see other things. Political Science? Good. Urban Planning? We
talked a little bit earlier. Come on in. Still come in. Places up front. Always up front
are the last to fill, but they’re the most comfortable seats. They are, you should take
these. Great! All of these disciplines are going
to be suitable and there are opportunities for them. I’ll explain exactly how that works
during the talk. I think I have a clicker here. Hold on. How I got to be part of this program. I’m
an Anthropologist. I work in Nepal. I did my PhD. I wrote a couple of books. I’m a Professor
at Rutgers University. I am on leave this year as part of a different fellowship, that
actually you all might want to write down the name of. I’m happy to talk to you about
this later. It’s not what I’m talking about today. If you want to come up later, or email me,
I’m happy to talk to you about it. It’s also a wonderful opportunity after you finish your
degree. It’s called the triple AS. A-A-A-S. American Academy for the Advancement of Science.
They are the folks that published that journal Science. Triple AS, Science and Technology, Policy,
Fellow. It takes people who are PhD’s in Science, very broadly defined so Anthropology counts,
all the Social Sciences count and even things like Urban Planning and other sorts of things
count. Environmental Sciences and place them in a
Government Agency for a year to share their skills with government employees and then
vise versa to allow us to learn about policy. It’s a really great exchange. Anyways, that’s
why I’m working in this program this year. My placement with this fellowship is in the
agency called USAID, United States Agency of International Development. We had a couple of introductions. Now, in
addition to the pizza eating, I hope you all will be eating pizza while I talk. That’s
fine. I’m going to talk a little bit about the agency and then dive right into the specific
of the fellowship. I think it is a fantastic opportunity. It’s fairly new. It only started
last year. We’ve had one cohort of fellows, and now this
application season will launch us into the second year of the program. We’ll have plenty
of time for questions. If you have questions throughout, please just raise your hand, or
just shout out. I’m happy to answer them as we go along, but we’ll have plenty of time
at the end. I want to go through pretty quickly so that
I don’t drone on and on and on and you never get a chance to ask your questions. USAID, how many of you have heard of it before?
Most of you have heard of it before. It is the agency in the government, it’s independent.
It handles most, almost all of the foreign assistance that the government gives to countries
over seas. The goals, the types of programs that it manages
are very varied. This is just a list. I’m not going to read it, because I hate it when
people read power point slides verbatim. You all can read it if you’re interested.
But, the types of programs are extremely varied, and it’s been around for a long time. It’s
been around for over 50 years. There are more then 12,000 USAID employees around the world
in over 100 countries. It’s a lot of different things that are done.
Things that you probably would never thing of, and things that you probably would thing
of. Standard long standing types of relief. Disaster relief, bringing food and giving
food to people. But, also the types of activities that help
people become self-sufficient and have sustainable agricultural practices. Then now, increasingly using high-tech gadgets,
apps, and bringing technology into whatever they’re doing in their lives. All of this
is part of what USAID does now in a lot of different sectors. The unit within USAID that
this fellowship program is a part of is called the Global Development Lab. It is spear-heading a new way to approach
international development. It was only formed formally this April of this year. Global Development
Lab is brand new. Parts of it existed beforehand. Some of the programs existed, like our fellowship
program existed a little bit before the formation of the Global Development Lab. If you’re interested in international development,
the formation of the Global Development Lab is actually an interesting thing to be aware
of and to take note of. The idea is to use science, technology, innovation
and partnership, what they’ve coined a new term as STIP, Science, Technology, Innovation
and Partnership, to approach the intractable problems of development that have been around
for many decades, or millennia. The reason I like this, if not the acronym
STIP, but I really like the idea of it. The reason is because it’s not just science and
technology. Some of you may have heard of STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics. That’s another way of thinking about that whole area of research and enterprise,
but this is Science, Technology, Innovation and Partnership. The Global Development Lab really tries to
emphasize not just the first two, but also the last two, innovation in a lot of different
rooms, and partnership with the people that we’re working with because they have to be.
They know all the solutions. They have to be part of the solutions too,
and partnership with private sector entities, universities, NGOs, all kinds of entities.
We all need to work together because we all live on this planet, and we have to figure
it out together. Partnership is important, innovation is important,
and we have now a lot more tools in science and technology that we can bring to bear on
these very difficult development challenges. That’s what the Global Development Lab does. This research and innovation fellowship that
I’m going to be talking about for the rest of the time falls under this umbrella. I guess
it’s a little bit of organizational situated ness. This is another slide about why USAID
has invested in this at this time, kind of obvious some of the things I’ve just said. At this point in, and this is largely from
President Obama’s own initiative, we need to bring all of these tools that we have in
all of our communities, our scientific communities, our international development communities,
and our international partners altogether to solve these problems, bringing the best
and brightest all around the world together. Networks are working together. What’s the
fellowship program about? How does it work? Who’s eligible? Then, get concrete and say,
“How do you apply?” The over arching goal is to create a network
of researchers, graduate students in the US and researchers as well as practitioners overseas,
and create that network in a way hopefully, so that it lasts not just for the duration
of the fellowship, but longer than that so that it outlasts the fellowship. You have your fellowship, maybe two months
long, maybe it’s 12 months long. That’s the minimum and maximum time period of the fellowship.
During that time, you’re establishing contact. You’re developing a deeper collaboration with
your partners and after you come home, hopefully you and your colleague in the country where
you’ve been working will continue to work together. The idea is, that eventually will lead to
a scientific/research/development community that’s richer, more diversified and eventually
everybody will benefit from that. Here’s the fellowship basics. We currently work in seven pilot countries
the first two years. We maybe expanding to other countries, but right now, we work in
these seven countries. We have fellowships from 2 to 12 months as I said. USAID funds the students, and the in kind
host provides some sort of support. The support varies depending on the capacity of the host.
If the host is a relativity small NGO, they’re not going to be able to provide that much
in kind support. But maybe they have a vehicle you can use
to drive to the field and back. Or maybe they’ll have a mentor, they all have mentors for you,
but maybe they have somebody who can train you in some particular kind of skill that
you want to learn. Maybe there is a way in which they can provide
housing for you. If it’s on a University, they’ll be able to provide a dorm room for
you, or something like that. There is some sort of in kind support that we require of
the host, so that they basically have invested in the experience in the fellowship. It can
be all kinds of organizations, NGOs, Universities, Private Sector Entities, even Government Ministries
at times. All kinds of hosts. This is a slide that we like to show, even
though it is from one of our sister organizations, or fellowship organizations at USAID called
Piere. It shows the world, you can’t really see because it’s bright, but here is North
America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia. It shows research linkages, Scientist collaborations
by publication. Then, the red dots and the red lines show
the USAID funded collaborations. I really, really want to have a map created for us,
by some graphic designed. Hopefully one of you know this, for our fellows. We had our first year as I said, 60 fellows
or so in our first court in seven countries. We have three in Asia, Indonesia, Philippines
and India. That would be a cluster here. Imagine if we had that kind of map. We would have US spaced graduate students,
then we would have a cluster here. We could have dots here. Then we would have the South
African cluster. The San Angolies here, then we would have, here you can barely see it,
I can’t even see it, South America I think is here. Brazil and Columbia. We would have expanded the research collaborations
and diversified that network, and that’s the idea of USAID in general and these kinds of
programs that are within global development labs in particular. Let’s talk about eligibility, because this
is a little bit complicated. How many of you have National Science Foundation Graduate
research fellowships, NSFGRF? You guys, that’s path one to this. There are
three pathways to these kinds of collaborations under what we call the RI fellowships. Research
Innovation fellowships. Path one is if you have an NSFGRF, you can
under the GROW program, sorry for the acronyms. This is the G-R-O-W, Graduate Research Opportunities
Worldwide. Under the GROW program, is you are a NSFGRF, you can go through their GROW
program and apply for our GROW with USAID track. That’s the Research Innovation Fellowship
Program. Track two of eligibility is if you are a student at a USAID partner University.
Michigan, I’m very sad to say, is not one, yet. Maybe next year, this is what I would love
to see. We don’t know which Universities will be expanding. There are only six this year
that are our partners. They are UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Notre Dame, Chicago, Rutgers
and one other. I knew I would do that. It’s always inevitable when you do a list like
that by memory. We will be reopening this solicitation. The
Universities can apply to have their students be apart of the program. Then that second
track, if you’re in a University that’s a partner, then you would apply for that second
track. There is a third track. The third is if you’re
an independent student. You’re not an NSFGRF and you’re not a University partner student.
That would be those of you that didn’t raise your hand for the NSFGRF question. For those of you who are in that category,
if you want to participate, look through the catalog and I’ll explain what the catalog
is in a moment, and you’re very welcome to find collaborations and participate become
a part of this network, but USAID will not be able to fund you. That is the sad thing. But you can, we hope you can, we will hope
to be able to facilitate you’re finding other kinds of funding somewhere else. Maybe your
department has summer funds for you. Maybe you have a small grant you can apply
for through rackem or something like that. If you can get yourself to one of these places,
and you go through this process I’m going to show you in a moment, we would love for
you to collaborate with some of these hosts. One per person, not some. One at a time. Sometimes Universities have
specific requirements, maybe you’re advisor has issues, yes, you have a question. Audience Member: [inaudible 18:26] if you
go and establish a collaboration, you have to somehow notify USAID that you’ve done that? Laura: Yes, you’ll see how in a moment. It’ll
become a little bit clearer in a moment. Any other questions? I should stop and ask. Yes. Audience Member: Is it after graduating, or
you have to still be a student? Laura: No. That’s a good question. You can’t.
You have to be a student in good standing. You have to do your application process and
finish the fellowship while you’re still a grad student. You could, maybe not quite graduate.
Sometimes, I don’t know how your adviser would feel about this, but defend your dissertation
and not actually file. I don’t know whether that would be wise or
unwise for you. You would have to talk about that with your adviser, maybe with the dean.
It would be a good thing for you, job wise, maybe it would be not so good depends on your
particular situation, but you have to be enrolled in graduate school to take advantage of the
fellowship. Audience Member: This follows up to her question.
Are there possibilities for [inaudible 19:43] fellowships are related fellowships for those
of us who have not graduated and even continue our post off field work? Laura: Probably you and I should talk about
your play as fellowships, the fellowship that I have because AAAS Science and Technology
policy fellowships are four PhDs, people who finished already. Within USAID, once you and
I talk about that, we’ll talk about it afterwards and you can email me, and I’ll send you some
links and things. Let me go on a little bit and some of the
questions that are probably percolating up will be answered. If not, certainly continue
to ask, OK? Let me make sure I did this. Let’s see, PhD or master’s degree, yes. Here’s the
pathway. There’s a hand up back there that shows this process. It’s a little bit complicated,
but this applies to any of the paths. No matter how you get to it, it will be a
little bit different depending on which path you’re on, but it is roughly the same. This
dotted red line will be the student’s path through the process. The solid blue line is
the host’s path. The first thing that will happen is host will create an opportunity.
We’ll decide, and we’ve talked starting last year, talked to a number of hosts we’ve had. The USAID missions out talking to organizations
in these countries, and where the host determines there’s a need, the host writes up or the
head of the organization writes up a piece of paper, describes the project, describes
the expertise that’s required. It’s almost like a position description. It’s not very
long. It’s not very honorous, but that application gets submitted to USAID. We then, vet that application according to
three criteria. We make sure that it has intellectual or scientific merit, so that there’s something
intellectually valuable there in terms of the experience that the student will have. We also make sure that it has potential development
impact that it’s not basic science, abstract science, maybe just in a bench science in
a lab that it doesn’t have any direct application to. Anything you would maybe called development,
and I realize that the definitions are contested. There’s no real world application. That would
not be the kind of project that we would necessarily support. It has to be a real world application. The
third thing is that we make sure that our in-country USAID folks vet the organization
to make sure that it’s legitimate, that it really exists, if it’s a university, or an
NGO, or whatever. We make sure that it’s a relatively safe place for students that’ll
be good for them. That happens. Those host opportunities, if they pass or
acceptable on those three criteria, get placed on a catalogue. We have over 400 opportunities
in the catalogue. How many of you have looked in our catalogue? A few of you, good. You
can go online anytime, rifellowships.org. That’s where the catalogue is right now. Let’s
see if it’s down here. These links down here don’t show the direct
link to the catalogue. Although, you can get there by that link. The direct link is rifellowships.org,
and there’ll be a screen shot in a moment. The hosts create other opportunities. They
go into the catalogue. Students look at the catalogue. They see the links. They contact
the hosts. It’s like match.com, I’m told. I did research on courtship practices, but
I’ve never done match.com myself. I’m too old. They make a match. If you find, you can
basically date around. You can contact as many host as you want. Express interest, carry
on a conversation. Sometimes, the host will say, “We want to a fellow for 12 months.” You only have two months because you can only
go during the summer. That’s fine. You express an interest and you say, “I’m really interested
in coming over to work with you. However, I only have two months because of my school
schedule. Would it be possible to come during the summer months?” There’s a conversation
often that’s OK. Yes? Audience Member: Sorry, [inaudible 25:02]
. I’m just curios. How much of the middlemen does USAIDs play on that? [crosstalk] Laura: None. Other than putting the catalogue
online and you contact directly. Let me move on to this. You get your match made, and then
everything happens and is happy. But there is a better, this is the vetting, these are
some…I’m coming directly to that. These are some really neat examples of the
kind of opportunities you could, if you’re a computer science person, you could make
apps to help tourism in Columbia. These are real examples. If you’re a soil scientist, you might use
your skills to help agriculture practice in Senegal. You might, if you do social science,
you might do a survey or help an NGO fight human trafficking in India. Or, you might, if you do Environmental Science
or you do GIS mapping, you might help preserve the coral reefs in the pacific. You could
do all those things. This is what the catalog looks like. You get to this front page, there are three
pathways. It goes one, two, three, below this, but I couldn’t fit it on the page. At the
bottom of the page, it says, click on the catalog here. This is what the catalog looks like. You can
search by any keyword you want, by the discipline. This is a drop down list. It tends to be rather
broad, but like social sciences are all lumped together, unfortunately, but if gives you
some options there. You can search by country, by the length of
time and by the type of in kind support they offer. I recommend that you search in a lot
of different ways, because sometimes the host as you know probably from all your lit reviews,
sometimes what you’re looking for is not phrased in the right way, or whatever. But, the hosts, some of them don’t put a discipline,
or they define their disciplines differently then you do. You’re a Bio Chemist, but what
they’re doing is bio chemistry, they just don’t call it that. Search. If you find one you like, you click
on the read more. Or if you find one that’s interesting, so you read more, and it comes
all the way down. It goes much further down the page, you get a full page worth. Usually it varies in length, but you get more
details. Most of them are in English, despite that second one being in French. Almost all
of them are in English, even the ones for Senegal. If you’re interested in applying, this is
what you click on. That means, or if you’re interested in “applying” you don’t apply yet.
You’re interested in the opportunity. It means you start the conversation with the host. This is directly between you and the host.
We do not play middle man, woman, child. We are not match makers except that we put the
opportunity out there. I really think that’s important because you’re going to have a relationship
with these people, a collaboration. It starts from the moment that you contact
them. Many of these opportunities are pretty general. Some are specific. They want someone
to do this exact kind of type of experiment. Or produce this sort of product. That’s what
they want and that’s only what they want. If you have that skill and that’s what you
want to do, that’s what you express an interest in. Other, are pretty general. Many of them
are very open to negotiation or suggestion, conversation. I think this is the time for
you to say what would fit you. What’s your need. That’s the beauty of this part of the process,
is that it really is up to you to express your needs in this. You say, ”I pretended
to be a student here.” All you have to do is create a profile. This is it. This is the
profile. It really doesn’t ask for much more. You do
have to post eventually a CV. Just a two page CV. One or two, very short. If any of you
have these academic 10 to 15 CVs, don’t post them. Just very short. Then, this is what it looks like, actually
I mistakenly applied for this opportunity. But it was fun. This is what it looks like
when you express an interest. You click on it where it says who it from. Here is my CV,
because then it gives the host something to look at, and it gives you optional message
here. This is the name of the Organization, Dear
[inaudible 30:31] Colleagues. I would be very interested in learning more about your fellowship
opportunity. That’s what you would do. You click on, “Contact this host” and within seven
days, the host contacts you back. That’s what they’re supposed to do anyways. Then you create a dialogue. Maybe they’ll
ask you to do a Skype interview. Maybe you’ll have a phone conversation. Maybe you’ll do
something by email. Maybe they’ll say, “You look fantastic.” Eventually, and you can do this with as many
host as you want, when you find one that you like, and when you’re ready and the host is
ready, and there is a match. The host will generate a letter of invitation. If you accept that letter of invitation. That’s
it. Basically we’re monogamous. One marriage goes on here per season. That time period.
That’s when you have a letter of invitation generated from the host, that letter of invitation
goes with your official materials of application. At that point, then the pathways deverge a
little bit again. At that point if you’re an NSFGRF, you have to go through NSF and
upload your stuff through fast lane. I will show you a little bit of that, just
to give you a start of where that is, but I guarantee you, you’re going to need a little
more guidance, so I’m happy to help you later on if that happens, because that’s fast line. I was a program officer for a year at NSF
and it definitely is the kind of thing you need some help with. Also, Dr. Tnagersley,
here he helped us by providing these slides, these screen shots. That is somebody else you can contact. Just
GROW, which is the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide at NSF.gov. [email protected] there is
more information. These are the things you need for the NSF
pathway application. After you get that invitation and you’ve decided on a place, you’ve got
a letter of invitation, you need a cover sheet that is NSF specific project summary, project
description. These are not long. Don’t be deterred by this bureaucratic stuff.
Budget and budget desification. That can be very general. The budget is quite generous
in that it covers your travel and it covers your living expenses while you’re over seas. It varies depending on the country a little
bit, but basically it’s about $1,500 a month living expenses. Then about $5,000 to get
you there and back. Even though it’s roughly that, you need to come up with a budget. We’ll
help you, or NSF will help you. If you’re going through other tracks, we’ll
help you and those other things too. The main thing about NSF that I want you to remember.
You can forget all this other stuff, because you can ask when you get there. Right when
you get to that point, you can ask somebody and they’ll help you. But this is the most important part of the
NSF information is that unlike other NSF applications, including those of you who are NSFGRF right
now, unlike other fast line applications, this one is not electronic, except for the
fact that it’s a one time uploading of a PDF. You need basically a hard copy of all of your
materials. Your letter of invitation, this thing called the AOR, the Authorize Organizational
Representative, all of it signed. All of it basically in your hands. You scan it, then
you’ve got your PDF and you upload it. This shows you a couple of slides of where
this happens. It happens right here. Submit GRFP additional funding request. Right there,
graduate research worldwide. It falls under the GROW program. You can look at the NSF website, those of
you to whom this applies for more information in general about the GROW program. This is
what that looks like. You fill out these fields and you’re done. Now, why should you do all this? Here is where
I give you my final spill. I think some of it is obvious that I’m not going to read these
because these are four very good reasons. I’m sure you can come up with more reasons
in these increasingly globalized world, going over seas, using your skills. Looks great on your resume’, gives you additional
skills, you build collaborations and research connections that help you, help your advisor,
help your future career potentially. All that’s very true and very savvy to do really good. I want to take this in a different direction.
A million more reasons you could probably come up with, and two different directions.
First, I want to put out a challenge. Last year we had as I said 60 fellows. The largest number I think were at UC Berkeley,
something like seven of them were from Berkeley. Six were from Stanford. I challenge you, my
Alma Mater to exceed that number. I think we can do better at Michigan. I think we can
have more this year, then that. We have one at Michigan. Her name is Laura Segal, she would have been
here today, except she’s in Columbia. Her fellowship is continuing, and she’s there
right now. I think we can exceed seven. I think we can do 10, 12, let’s see how many
we can get from Michigan. That’s my first challenge. Second is, Michigan was the place where President
John F. Kennedy first announced his plan to start the Peace Corp. Now, this is something
that’s not part of the official. This is my take on this program. I was a Peace Corp volunteer in Nepal, and
I’ve also had a Fulbright, a very different kind of program. Peace Corp, it’s a service,
it’s a volunteer service. It’s an opportunity to go over seas and work in development, work
in another country and serve. Fulbright is…there’s a lot of different
kind of Fulbright. It funds you to do your research in a different country. These fellowship
combines those two. It gives you the opportunity to work in your
field and enhance your skills at the same time, serve. Why wouldn’t you do something
like that? If I have been available to music graduates student, I would definitely have
done something like this. This is an ideal opportunity to benefit yourself
and we hope, benefit others and create a network of researchers around the world who can…we
hope, approach some of the problems that are so intractable in new ways that can make the
world a little bit less scary. That’s my spiel about why you should join.
If you have other ideas about why you should join or apply, I’m happy to hear them. I’m
also opening it up now for questions. Yes? Audience Member: I would go under the independent
students. Laura: OK Audience Member: If I were on the catalogue
and I have the opportunity, I would have to pay for my travel there? Laura: Or you would find other funding. There
are grants that fund. In Rockholm you could ask every member. When I was here, there was
some little pots of money every once in a while. You should talk to see their adviser
or somebody here at Rockholm. See if there are ways to get your travel and experience
funded. Audience Member: Is there an in kind from
the host to the [inaudible 39:13] ? I’d like to accept that. It’s between the… Laura: It’s between you and the host. Yes.
Look at the opportunity. Talk to the host. We’re working on this. We’ve got our web designer
working on this right now. It may very soon be by the time you express
interest that you need to actually indicate which of the three categories you’d be fallen
to, which of the pathways. You should actually tell the host, are you NSF? Are you university
partner? Or are you an independent category? If the university or NSF funded…to the host,
it may or may not make a difference. It depends on what the host is looking for and needs,
the resources, the capacity. You should have a conversation. You should start conversation. You should
figure out what your resources are, what the host’s resources are. We would love to facilitate
the collaborations. We hope that you could find a way to get there if you find a good
match. Yes? Audience Member: Will a match like that be
leverage in applications like NSF saying I’d accept this contract with them… [crosstalk] Laura: Like TDIRG application? Audience Member: Would it just become a student
under NSF? Laura: That’s a good idea. [crosstalk] Laura: Doing it in reverse. It could work.
I don’t know. That’s an interesting way. Audience Member: Thank you. Audience Member: If there is no host that
you’re relying with, would you know someone else that has the research [inaudible 41:19]
? Laura: Excellent question. Audience Member: I mentioned you can readjust
them and try a little thing. How long is the process between… Laura: We’ve been very quick. It depends on
the host to some degree. First, it has to be within one of those seven countries. The
turnaround time can be very quick. It can be about two weeks. As little as two weeks.
We have to vet it. The opportunity has to be vetted. They have to write up that sheet. It’s not
very long. They have to describe the position. Say what their resources are, what their contributions
is going to be, indicate several things, how long they want you for, et cetera. They submitted it to us. We will see it as
soon as it comes in. We get notifications immediately as soon as it comes in. We will
have it reviewed. Sometimes the bottom neck is getting the USAID missions person to review
it, because they’ve got a lot going on. They’re not in Washington. But we will try. If you have something like
that, why don’t you email me, or somebody else in our program to alert us, and tell
us about it, and we can add it to the catalog, you can be in touch with them. Audience Member: [inaudible 42:56] . Laura: It depends on who they are. You’d have
to start now. Audience Member: Yeah, I’d like to know the
case [inaudible 43:04] . Laura: International students it’s complicated.
If you’re in a University partner Institution, the University can pay that part, and pay
for the International students. USAID, this year at least, we’re hoping this will change
next year, but this year we’ve been told, and we asked, that we can’t pay the dollars
for international students. We have to restrict it to either US Citizens
or permanent residents. Audience Member: In that case, what [inaudible
43:43] USAID would give to international students while they are funding to work in others countries? Laura: You know, if we’re not paying…I don’t
know, why don’t you email me and we’ll talk? If you’re in that third independent category
you mean? It’s not a matter of funding you, but mearly facilitating a collaboration, that
could work. But let’s talk about that. Email me, because that would be very interesting
to consider. Yes, sorry, you’ve had your hard up for a
while. Audience Member: [inaudible 44:30] . Laura: Yes. No we are hoping to expand the
number of countries and expand the Universities. We don’t know where yet. If you have any ideas
or suggestions. Where? Audience Member: Ecuador. Laura: Ecuador! Audience Member: Jamaica. Laura: Jamaica! Any others? Audience Member: Trinidad. Laura: Trinidad? The reason I’m told, this
happened before I started at the program, but the reason the seven that are there were
chosen, there are several reasons. But one is that the in country USAID personnel, not
in country folks, but in country personnel had to be receptive and enthusiastic and really
keen on working with the program. Not to busy with other things. It’s important
to have those sorts of partners as well, because we need them to review possible opportunities.
If we have fellows in the country and they need something, they need to be able to call
upon the USAID staff members who are there. We need to make sure that’s there in other
countries that we might expand to. We don’t want to spread ourselves to thin. The other
thing is, we want to make sure there are enough opportunities going on in a given country,
to provide some traditional stem based opportunities as well as maybe NGO or community organization
based opportunities for students. That still leaves plenty of countries probably
to expand to. If you have any suggestions, we’re happy to listen to them. We’re collecting
ideas and probably going to reach out to some countries in the next few months. Yes. Audience Member: [inaudible 46:25] . Laura: That’s a really good question. Anything
you create, whether it’s a publication, or an invention, or a new vaccine, or anything
like that is yours. Audience Member: [inaudible 46:44] . Laura: You need to make sure that you clarify
with the host, about intellectual property. But, we don’t want it. I won’t say we don’t
want it, that’s not the right attitude. We love the fact that we have facilitated and
catalyzed that intellectual property. I’m happy that you maybe acknowledge the fellowship
ps. But we’re not going to take royalties from your invention, when you cure a disease
or something like that. Audience Member: [inaudible 47:24] . Laura: There are. There is a fellowship meeting.
An alumni meeting, it’s not required but it’s strongly encouraged. We can’t drag you to
a meeting. It’s not going to be mandatory in that sense, but strongly encouraged, because
we think it’s beneficial for you. We’ll have other people there. Other colleagues,
Scientist and Scholars that you would probably want to meet. That will happen for the first
time, probably next November, probably out on the west coast somewhere. We’ve asked people who are applying in this
cycle, to build it into their budget. So that it’s not going to be out of your pocket. Yes,
in the back and then here. Audience Member: [inaudible 48:17] . Laura: The first cycle they all had to. Because
that was the only mechanism, that was the only pathway. We’re expanding and we’ve got
these different ways we’re running. Like at the Universities, all six of them, each one
runs it slightly differently. Those are like six different pilot programs.
The independent pathway is also new. We’re figuring out as the program grows how we should
go forward. We want to expand it to as many students as possible. But, we have to make sure we know how it’s
going to work, and how we can responsibility keep track of the students once they are in
field et cetera. That’s really important. Audience Member: How has the [inaudible 49:08]
? Laura: It’s been really, really enthusiastic.
Last year, in this past cycle, before I got on, it was all done very quickly. The solicitation
was put out and there wasn’t much time for either the word to get out, or the Universities
to put together their grant applications. It was a different mechanism called the Broad
Agency Agreement. It was a different thing. I don’t know if anybody here found out about
it. I’m not sure, but they know now, and they will know much more in the coming months,
I will make sure of that. Because once a University is a University
partner. I should say, it works differently at different Universities. Some Universities
limit the eligibility to particular student in particular schools or units. Other Universities, anybody at the University
is eligible. It would depend on how Michigan structured it’s participation. One requirement
of the University partners is that they have to put up a match to USAID funds. Michigan would have to find that. We’ll see.
I hope they do. Audience Member: Several weeks ago, I contacted
a couple of hosts, I never heard back, so… Laura: Have you contacted us? Audience Member: Was my picture not cute enough
on the profile? [inaudible 50:46] . Laura: You should immediately within seven
days, if you haven’t heard, you should contact the general email, which goes to all six of
us in the office and one of us will certainly email you back very quickly. That general email is [email protected]
I have cards. [email protected] I’m surprised to hear that, but you should definitely,
and for those to that you haven’t heard from, please afterwards, tell me who they are and
I’ll look into it. That’s terrible. Audience Member: The seven days thing wasn’t
very clear either when I contacted them. [inaudible 51:35] . Laura: We’ll make that clear to them. Audience Member: Even from my point of view,
I didn’t know what to expect. I sent out my thing and then… Laura: You know what we’ve done recently,
even in the past couple of days, so it might not have been up there, is that we had these
separates, and this is part of the growing pains of a new program, we had these separate
frequently asked questions, and step by step instructions that needed to be updated. Even more over, not only did they need to
be updated, they needed to be linked more integrally with that, so that people would
actually see them. We’ve done that now. Things like, “Within seven days,” that information
is now more readily. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect at all. The website
could be more user friendly, but everyday it gets a little bit better. Really, everyday
we work on it a little bit more. Audience Member: [inaudible 52:30] . Laura: Thank you for that feedback. We’ll
talk and it will get better. Audience Member: Perfect. Laura: Yes. Audience Member: [inaudible 52:55] . Laura: Very good questions. The acceptance
rate is very high. We are not looking to have a 10 percent acceptance rate. We’re looking
for a good match. We’re looking for whether you can demonstrate that you’ve had a conversation
that you and the host both know what you are getting into essentially, that you have talked
about and clarified the types of things, like the length of time, who’s going to provide
what, the project, what’s it going to be? Is it going to be exactly as described in
the catalogue in which case you can cut and paste it in your write up, or is it going
to be a little bit different? In that case, explain. Explain what you’ve agreed upon.
If you both explained that, and the letter of invitation for the host says that, there’s
not going to be much reason. I wasn’t part of it last year, but the biggest
reason for applications to be turned down was an incompletion, an incomplete application.
That’s why NSF, in particular NSF students that hand signed document. Apparently, nothing
these days needs to be hand signed. This needs to be hand signed. It’s a very different process than fast lane
users, than university fast lane specialists are used to. When you get to that point, do
it first of all the deadline, December 15th. Start way ahead of that for NSF and for anybody,
but way ahead of that. Start now with your contacts and finish as soon as possible. Be
aware that you don’t want to run up too close to that deadline. There may be an internal deadline as well.
If you’re fast lane NSF person, internally, might require you to give all the materials
to them a week in advance, or 10 days in advance. Find that out now. Call them now. If you know
you’re going to apply, or even might apply, find out what their internal deadline is.
Yes? Audience Member: [inaudible 55:31] any source
of funding or financial support [inaudible 55:35] ? Laura: Yes. I should have said this. NSFGRFs,
you can be on tenure or on reserve, either one, whatever is suitable for you during that
time period. In other words, you continue to get your false type in, and continue to
have the clock run, or you could be on reserve. It doesn’t matter. There is no prohibition
against other funding at the same time if you can find other funding. Maybe you get other funding to work on something
that is slightly different project, and that’s going to be one chapter of your dissertation.
You work on this project on the side as long as your host knows what you are doing, and
everybody is above board, everybody knows what everybody else is doing. Yes? Audience Member: When we apply for other NSF
[inaudible 56:35] ? Laura: Yes. If it’s GROW or GRIP, GROW is
other overseas opportunities. GRIP is an internship, brand new internship program that you also
might want to look up. I believe that you can apply. You should confirm this with the
program officer at NSF. I think you can apply for up to two different
GROW programs a year and one GRIP program. That makes a total of three. I’m not sure
about that. I’m not NSF official, but you should email that [email protected] Email if you
have any questions about that, but yes, you can apply to other. There’s like that there’s
an EEPC. Is that the one you’re thinking of? You can
apply to that as far as I know, but you should double check with the program officer in charge
of that program to make sure. Yes? OK, thank you so much. Individual questions, come on
up and talk to me. I have cards up here, but also if you want
to email me afterwards, just my name [email protected] No, @usaid.gov [laughs] , @usaid.gov, [email protected]
Take a card, and I’ll be happy to answer questions by email as well.

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