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Notice of Funding Opportunity SUSI Environmental Issues 2023 
42 MINUTE READ
October 19, 2022

Overview

Funding Opportunity Title:  Selection of Potential Spanish Nominees for the 2023 Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) on Environmental Issues
Funding Opportunity Number:  NOFO SUSI ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 2023
Application Deadline:  November 22, 2022  

Please refer to detailed review schedules in section IV.  
Award Ceiling: $3,000 USD

* NOTE: Cost-share is not required, however, if provided, please detail whether the cost-share is through in-cash or in-kind contribution and approximate dollar amount. Cost-share will not be included in the criteria for evaluation.   

CFDA Number:  19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
References:  Standard Department Terms & Conditions (English PDF)
Eligibility Category: Spain-based non-governmental organizations, foundations, business organizations, academic institutions, think tanks, government agencies, public institutions with a non-profit status, or similar U.S.-based organizations with a partner organization based in Spain.

Electronic Requirement:  Proposals must be submitted by email to SpainPDGrants@state.gov.

Funding Opportunity Description

The Public Diplomacy Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona (referred to collectively as “PD Spain”) announce an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out the process to select 5 rank-ordered candidates from Spain to participate in the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders for Environmental Issues.

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has established Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders as intensive short-term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.  Each Institute has 20 participants.  The Institutes consist of a four-week academic residency with a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures.  Site visits, leadership development, cultural activities, and community service complement the coursework and academic sessions.  If conditions allow, the Institutes will include a one-week integrated regional study tour in the United States.  Note that if the program must take place virtually, participants will engage in similar activities, but online from their home countries.

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Environmental Issues will provide participants with an overview of climate change along with its impact on communities in the American west, natural resources, and the local economy.  Academic sessions will explore clean energy, sustainable development, the risks of natural disasters, and the intersection of climate justice and community activism.  In order to enhance the academic experience, the Institute will focus on specific themes and sub-topics such as strategic communication, social justice, emergency response, water rights, and energy efficiency and sustainability.  Academic activities will be supplemented by opportunities to engage with the local community, including a weekend homestay and meeting with local environmental non-profits.  The host institution will be identified at the time of participant selection.

The chosen organization will manage the initial application process to identify a rank-ordered list of 5 Spanish students as potential participants in the summer 2023 SUSI program for Civic Engagement. From that rank-ordered list, the Public Diplomacy office of the U.S. diplomatic mission to Spain (“PD Spain”) will then select up to two primary and two alternate nominees for the program to submit to the U.S. State Department for final decision.

Applications must follow the instructions outlined below.

Program Objectives:   

The ideal organization will have contacts from all over Spain, with the capability to reach a wide and diverse pool of qualified youth, with special attention paid to reaching audiences of excellent potential candidates from outside Madrid and Barcelona.

The organization should have an extensive, demonstrated commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) values that it will embody throughout the campaign and selection process.

Responsibilities of the Awardee:  

The awardee will be responsible for the following:

  1. The design, publication, and promotion of the call for applications through traditional and/or social media platforms and organizational networks that will maximize the number of qualified applicants .
  2. Collect and review all applications (in English) keeping in mind DEIA values.
  3. Carry out preliminary interviews (in English).
  4. Provide a rank-ordered top 5 candidates and video recordings of their interviews to PD Spain .
  5. Collect necessary biodata indicated by PD Spain from the final selected nominees.
  6. Prepare a final report including data and demographics on all applicants and a justification of the selection of the top 5 candidates.

Participants:    

SUSI participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.  Their fields of study will be varied and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.  Emphasis should be made on recruiting participants from historically underserved groups, including women, minority communities, and individuals with disabilities, and who have little or no international experience.  When possible, the SUSI team requests that posts/Fulbright commissions nominate candidates from a diverse group of universities and higher education institutions.  These students are considered by PD Spain to be “Emerging Voices” leaders who can use experiences such as the SUSI to bring awareness to salient, pressing, world-wide issues.

Candidates nominated for this program should:

  •  demonstrate English language proficiency (speaking, reading, writing, listening);
  •  have an interest in the Institute topic;
  •  be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  •  have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and be committed to returning to their home universities following completion of the program;
  •  demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
  •  indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  •  have sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  •  demonstrate commitment to community service and extracurricular university activities;
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of Europe;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel; and be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.

OTHER ESSENTIAL PROGRAM INFORMATION THAT GRANTEE MUST RELAY TO SUSI APPLICANTS 

Program Funding: The Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) bureau will cover all student participant costs, including program administration; international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing, and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.  If the program is conducted virtually, ECA will work to provide a technology stipend to all participants.

Program Requirements and Restrictions: Student candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive and rigorous academic institute and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program.  Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments.  Due to the intensive nature of the program, participants should not expect to fulfill professional or academic obligations, including remote work for jobs or internships, classwork, or examinations for their home university, while in the United States.  Doing so will count as an unexcused absence from program activities.  Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.  Please make these requirements clear to all nominees.

English Language Ability: English Language proficiency is required to participate in this program.  All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Therefore, candidate interviews must be conducted in English.  Host institutions will consider the varying levels of participants’ comprehension and speaking ability and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities.  Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters.  In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.  It is important that nominees are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.

Special Accommodations:  Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible.  Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions may be covered up to $100,000, subject to policy exclusions and limitations.  ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States.  COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE health benefits plan.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online at http://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.

Travel Policy: Participants are not allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the SUSI or remain in the United States after the end date.  Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the SUSI to visit relatives or friends while in the United States.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit a participant, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.  Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.

Grounds for Program Dismissal: Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.  It is important that these requirements and restrictions be made clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.

Virtual Program Contingency: Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the SUSI will pivot to a virtual format.  The virtual program would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  To the extent possible, the virtual programming will include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities.  Participants will be required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their locations.

Connectivity: Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and stable internet connection.  If a participant does not have access to these two items, ECA will work with the participant and post to facilitate access.  Participants would be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should immediately notify the host institution and post of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.

Federal Award Information

Number of organizations to be chosen: 1 (one) Award amount: not to exceed $3,000.
Type of Funding: FY2023 Public Diplomacy . 7 Funds.
Anticipated program start date: November 2022.

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:Fixed-Amount Award (FAA).

Program Performance Period: November 2022 – February 2023.

Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations registered in Spain are eligible to apply:

  • Registered public or private non-profit organizations, such as business associations, foundations, and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience.
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions; and
  • Governmental institutions.

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.

U.S. or third-country organizations are not eligible for a grant under this program unless in partnership with a Spanish or Andorran entity.

Applicants must have organizational representation (i.e. an existing office) in Spain .

Organizations with extensive experience working with students and/or program recruitment, and with an established network of contacts in Spain will have priority among applicants.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching.  Although cost share is not required, it is strongly encouraged.  When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal.

3. Other Eligibility Requirements.  In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier and valid registration on www.SAM.gov, as well as a NCAGE code. Please see the grants section of the website for more detailed instructions.

4. Only organizations having valid SAM.gov registration will be considered as eligible applicants.

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

Applications are accepted in English only, and final grant agreements will be concluded in English.

Application and Submission Information

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

1. Application Submission Deadline:  All applications must be received by November 22, 2022. This deadline is firm and if an organization fails to meet the deadline noted above their application will be considered ineligible and will not be considered for funding.

2. Application Submission Process: Proposals should be submitted to PD Spain at the following email address: SpainPDGrants@state.gov. Applicants must include the Funding Opportunity Title and Funding Opportunity Number in the subject line of their email. Applications must be submitted in English. Applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail from the Embassy and/or Consulate to indicate that we have received your proposal.

The following requirements must be met for all submissions:

  • Budgets can be listed in USD or EUR.
  • All documents must be in Microsoft Office file formats.
  • All documents must be single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
  • All pages must be numbered.

3. The application package should include:

  • Cover Letter (optional): Applicants are encouraged to submit a cover letter on the organization’s letterhead containing the proposal’s submission date, project title, project performance period, and primary purpose of the project.
  • Proposal Summary: Brief narrative that outlines the proposed project, including its objectives and how it advances the Embassy’s policy goals.  Project summary should be one page maximum and clearly indicate the organization SAM.gov UEI number.
  • Proposal: The proposal should contain sufficient information so that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do.  Applicants must submit a complete proposal that includes the items listed below. (The proposal should not exceed 10 pages total.)
  • Introduction to the Organization: A description of past and present operations.  Please include information on previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement: Clear, concise, and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed project is needed.
  • Project Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the project intends to achieve at its completion.  How will the project further the relationship between the United States and Spain?  The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments that lead to the achievement of the goals.  The goals should be measurable.
  • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and indicate how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the project is expected to work and how it will solve or address the stated problem.
  • Proposed Project Schedule: The proposed timeline for undertaking and completing the specific project activities. Dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events should be included.
  • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles of the key personnel to be involved in the project. Who will work on the project?  What responsibilities will they have? What qualifications do they have?  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this project (e.g. total monthly/yearly salary at 5%)?  Please indicate if any of the key personnel are alumni of a U.S. government-funded exchange program.
  • Project Monitoring and Evaluation: This is an important part of successful applications. Throughout the timeframe of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the project?  Include indicators the award will track to report on the program’s progress. At minimum, a monitoring and evaluation plan for the SUSI Environmental Issues award must include the following:  the number of applicants, demographic information of those applicants, summary/overview of overall outreach and demonstration of commitment to DEIA values throughout the process.
  • Potential for Multiplier Effect/Longer-term Impact/Sustainability: The proposal should include a discussion of the follow-on impact of the project, if outreach lessons can be gleaned for PD Spain to learn more about Emerging Voices.
  • Media/Communications Plan: How will the applicant use traditional and social media to raise awareness about this project and its results?
  • Proposed Budget: Listing of all project expenses, consistent with the proposal narrative, project activities and USG-wide budget categories. Types and amounts of funding your organization has received for the current project from other partners should be included. Include a budget narrative to explain any costs that are not self-explanatory.  Please see point 7 Guidelines for Budget Submission below for further information.
  • Other Attachments:
    • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program.
    • Letters of support from program partners, if applicable, describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner. The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), 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 one page in length.
    • If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
    • Official permission letters, if required for program activities.
    • If you have completed the SAM.gov process, a screenshot showing your active SAM.gov status, or if you have still have not completed the SAM.gov registration, a screenshot from SAM.gov reflecting that you have started the process.

4. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

All organizations applying for grants must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:

Step 1: Request for a NCAGE

Application page here, clicking on the REQUEST CODE button: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/CageTool/request-new-cage.
For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call +1-888-227-2423.
For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call +1-269-961-7766.
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.
System for Award Management Non-Federal User Guide is available here.
Please note that your registration in www.sam.gov must be renewed annually.
To finalize your registration or if you need further assistance in connection with registration in www.sam.gov, you may contact the Federal Service Desk at https://www.fsd.gov/fsd-gov/home.do.

5. This Notice of Funding Opportunity and the related project contest cannot finance any of the following:

  • Long-term infrastructure needs and construction projects.
  • Materials and equipment (unless purchased for the purpose of providing training to the participants and contingent on a maintenance plan).
  • Partisan political activity.
  • Trade activities.
  • Fund-raising campaigns.
  • Commercial projects.
  • Scientific research.
  • Projects aiming only at primary institutional development of the organization.
  • Programs that support specific religious activities.
  • For profit endeavors.
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization.
  • Charitable activities.
  • Projects that duplicate existing projects.
  • International travel, unless specifically justified within the project and in line with the Fly America Act (see more at https://www.gsa.gov/policy-regulations/policy/travel-management-policy/fly-america-act).
  • Although on rare occasions PD Spain does fund the travel of U.S. experts who are participating in conferences in Spain, such programs must be part of wider public programming coordinated with the U.S. Embassy, rather than limited to the presentation of scientific or academic research or participation in a single conference or event.

Application Review Information 

Each application will be evaluated and rated based on the evaluation criteria outlined below:

  • Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea –The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
  • Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants –The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account. The project proposal demonstrates that the organization has sufficient expertise, skills, and human resources to implement the project. The organization demonstrates that it has a clear understanding of the underlying issue that the project will address. The organization demonstrates capacity for successful planning and responsible fiscal management. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.  Applicants who have received grant funds previously have been compliant with applicable rules and regulations. Where partners are described, the applicant details each partner’s respective role and provides curriculum vitae (CVs) for persons responsible for the project and financial administration. Proposed personnel, institutional resources, and partners are adequate and appropriate. Organizations with extensive experience in business or entrepreneurship and with  established network, all preferably in Spain or Andorra, will have priority among applicants.
  • Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – Goals and objectives are clearly stated, and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
  • Budget –The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.
  • Monitoring and evaluation plan – Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured.
  • Media/Communications Plan – Applicant explains how traditional and social media will be used to raise awareness about this project and its results.

A Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications. Successful applicants will receive official written notification by email and detailed information on finalizing grant awards.  Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.

Grant awards are contingent upon availability of U.S. Government funding and signing of official grant documents.  Verbal or other informal communications cannot be considered official notification of an award, and applicants may not incur expenses for a proposed project until all required administrative procedures have been completed.

Award Administration

Award Notices: The grant award shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer.  The Grants Officer is the U.S. government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants, fixed amount awards and cooperative agreements.  The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the recipient.  Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified in writing.

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.

Payment Method: The standard form SF-270 Request for Advance or Reimbursement Payments may be submitted in the amounts required by the recipient to carry out the purpose of this award. Payments will generally be made in one installment.

Reporting Requirements: All awards issued under this announcement will require both program and financial reports on a frequency specified in the award agreement.  The disbursement of funds may be tied to submission of these reports in a timely manner.

All other details related to award administration will be specified in the award agreement as well.  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.

Guidelines for Budget Submissions

  • Personnel:  Use this budget category for wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the project.
  • Travel: Use this budget category for the estimated costs of travel and per diem for this project. If the project involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel either in the Project Activities Description or as an attachment.
  • Equipment: Use this budget category for all tangible, non-expendable (non-disposable) machinery, furniture, and other personal property having a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the project), and a cost of $5,000 or more per unit.
  • Supplies: Use this category for building, conservation, and other materials that will be consumed (used up) during the project.  If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
  • Contractual: Use this budget category for goods and services that the applicant intends to acquire through a contract with a vendor, such as masonry repair and re-pointing services that include the costs of materials as part of a contract, or professional photographic services that include photographic prints as part of the contract.
  • Other Direct Costs: Use this budget category for other costs directly associated with the project, which do not fit any of the other categories. Examples include shipping costs for materials and equipment, and the costs of utilities (water, electricity, Internet) required for the project.  Applicable taxes, if any, should be included as part of your budget. “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions other than the U.S. Embassy Madrid grant being applied for. It includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time, donated venues, admin support, etc.

“Counterpart contributions” by the involved organizations are encouraged and funds or in-kind, such as staff time, space, etc., should be mentioned in the estimated value.

Inquiries

If you have any questions about the grants application process or would like a proposal template, please contact PD Madrid at SpainPDgrants@state.gov .