The US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange (SEE) is pleased to announce the Round 11 launch of its Independent Professionals Initiative. Russian and American professionals seeking to collaborate with international partner(s) in joint pursuit of solutions to issues in one of the four following socially-oriented themes are invited to apply:
- Social inclusion
- Technology and innovation for social good
- Social entrepreneurship
- Youth engagement
Details on specific eligibility criteria, fellowship requirements, and submission instructions are specified in the official Request for Applications (RFA), which is detailed below.
To participate in the competition, all individual applicants must submit their full applications no later than 11:59 pm EST on January 31, 2020 via EF’s online application form HERE.
Through this Request for Applications (RFA), EF invites project applications from professionals in the U.S. and Russia seeking to establish collaboration with international partner(s) in joint pursuit of solutions to social issues of importance to both countries.
Successful applicants will travel to their counterpart country for a period of up to 21 days. While abroad, participants will be exposed to new skills, methods, and professional networks. After travel, independent professionals will implement activities to convey or apply their new knowledge and expertise for the benefit of their colleagues and community. These activities must be credibly shown to provide a clear and measurable benefit to at least 250 individuals. Activities may include, but are not limited to, leading training sessions on newly-learned skills, presenting about activities conducted during travel, practically applying a skill learned during travel, or distributing a product developed in collaboration with overseas partners.
EF is accepting applications for projects that have a broad bilateral impact in the following thematic areas: Social Inclusion, Technology and Innovation for Social Good, Social Entrepreneurship, and Youth Engagement. Projects should avoid topics related to political activism or activity, public policy reform, or the influence of public opinion.
EF will fund innovative ideas that leverage U.S.-Russian cooperation to implement unique solutions to pressing social problems in the above thematic areas. Projects may focus on various topics, including but not limited to increasing involvement of youth in the social sphere and cultivating their participation in international dialogue; increasing involvement of people with disabilities in social life, employment, and sports; and creating initiatives to encourage social entrepreneurship and technological innovation.
All applications should be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2020, to be considered for funding.
Candidates must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- Be a citizen or permanent resident of the Russian Federation or the United States.
- Have a proven academic and/or professional track-record in one or more of SEE’s thematic areas (Social Inclusion, Technology and Innovation for Social Good, Social Entrepreneurship, and Youth Engagement).
- Be actively affiliated with organizations or institutions that relate to one or more of SEE’s thematic areas.
- Must not have a project that directly engages in political activism, public policy reform, or the influence of public opinion.
- Demonstrate professional proficiency in both the English and Russian languages or provide a plan to overcome linguistic barriers while traveling and communicating with host organization counterparts.*
- Have not previously participated as a SEE Invited Professional, Independent Professional, Special Exchange Participant, Emerging Professional, or Advanced Practitioner Fellow.
- Must not be affiliated with federal, regional, state, and local government bodies or federal academic and research institutions (except for full-time students).
*Stipends may not be used to provide linguistic assistance. For more information, consult EF’s Description of Language Proficiency levels.
USE OF FUNDS
Applicants may request a stipend of up to $1,200 for implementation of activities connected to their proposed project. Stipends may be used to procure goods and services in the U.S. and/or Russia between February 15, 2020 and July 15, 2020. Use of stipend funds must be consistent with the applicant’s proposed budget.
In addition to the $1,200 stipend, EF will also organize and fund travel and logistics for SEE Independent Professionals, including international and domestic transportation (economy class), visas, lodging, and health insurance. EF will also provide a per diem living allowance.
Independent professionals may supplement EF funds with additional resources (i.e. cost-share) to implement projects. All non-EF supplemental funding must be reflected in the applicant’s proposed budget.
While abroad, independent professionals must be affiliated with a thematically-relevant host organization** that will serve as a venue for in-person professional collaboration. Host organizations are expected to provide organizational support in connection with the participants’ planned project activities. These support duties may include, but are not limited to, facilitating activities and site visits, arranging workspace and relevant materials, and providing professional networking opportunities.
In developing their project, candidates are expected to establish their own connections with appropriate host organization(s)*** and conceptualize how they will be incorporated into the proposed project. Application materials must include a letter of support from each host organization that reflects their willingness to serve as a base for the duration of the candidate’s stay abroad. Candidates must also demonstrate how their involvement with this particular organization will contribute to the realization of their proposed projects and to development of new skills and knowledge. Independent professionals will be expected to continue relations with their host organization(s) upon return to their home countries.
**Independent professionals may be associated with multiple host organizations during their time in the host country, depending on approved project components and the needs of host organizations.
***Candidates are encouraged to view our webinar on establishing connections with a host organization in Russia.
Independent professionals will organize at least one activity that will focus on social engagement in community development projects. As part of this activity (e.g. online or in-person workshop, presentation or community event etc.), independent professionals will share their expertise and success stories in engaging local communities in socially oriented initiatives.
Independent professionals will be expected to submit periodic reports that capture the practical benefits achieved as a result of the collaborative activities conducted through their project. These reports will include one report upon return home, providing a summary and analysis of activities and learning in the host country. They will also be required to submit a final report that will describe the activities they have undertaken in their local communities since returning from abroad and how these activities furthered the desired objective(s) of their projects. Photos and videos demonstrating this impact should also be submitted. Detailed reporting guidelines, including required formats and word counts, will be communicated to participants upon selection.
Applicants should submit a comprehensive online application form, including a budget form, resume, and letter(s) of support. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on January 31, 2020 (7:59 a.m. Moscow Time on February 1, 2020).
The application can be accessed using EF’s grant management system. If this is the first time that an applicant has applied to an EF funding opportunity using the online grant management system, the applicant must create an account on the grant management system by following the instructions on the right of the login page linked above. If an applicant already has an account, they may simply log in without creating a new account.
Applicants will receive notification by email upon successful submission of the application. If you encounter difficulty in completing the application process, please contact [email protected] immediately for assistance. Before proceeding with this application, candidates are strongly encouraged to read the Independent Professionals section of the SEE website and the Frequently Asked Questions for Independent Professionals.
All materials and documents submitted in conjunction with this competition will be retained in confidence by Eurasia Foundation during the review process and will not be returned to the applicant. Eurasia Foundation does not use the information presented by applicants for purposes other than review and does not provide this information to any outside persons or institutions, except in such cases where it is required by U.S. or Russian law, or by donor agreements with Eurasia Foundation.
PROJECT EVALUATION AND SELECTION
Successful applications should demonstrate the following:
- Clear connection the one or more thematic area(s)
- Clear need for project and impactful project goals
- Relevant activities for achieving project goals
- Clear approach to project monitoring, evaluation and reporting
- Reasonable timeline and budget for accomplishing project activities
- 250 (or more) people impacted by project
- High quality, deep engagement by participants and beneficiaries
- Demonstration of collaboration across both Russia and the US
- Impact in both the Russian Federation and the United States
- Strategy for sustaining the project’s impact beyond funding period