Note: Advice to Applicants should be read in conjunction with the 2019 New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program Guidelines.
Key changes in the 2019 round
Under the 2019 round, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is providing approximately $28.7 million for Australian universities and consortia to support 2019 student mobility projects. This includes single-term mobility projects and the first year of multi-year mobility projects through student grants and a contribution to applicants’ administration costs. Funding for the second and third years of any successful multi-year mobility projects will be additional to this.
A number of enhancements have been made to the Mobility Program for the 2019 round, including:
- the addition of Language Training Grants of $1,500 per student, in conjunction with Semester-based Mobility Projects, for in-country language training (refer to section 2.2.4).
This enhancement aims to encourage more students to seek language training opportunities in the region (see additional advice below).
Note: For the purposes of applying for a Language Training Grant in the NCP online application form (available through ISEO, the Department of Education and Training’s online system for managing NCP Mobility Grants), applicants should use the ‘Language Grant’ field.
- prioritisation to projects that align to the greatest extent with NCP’s strategic objectives as set out in section 1.3
- for the management of underperformance of Australian universities against the requirements of funding agreements for Mobility Projects, there is further provision to take into consideration applicants’ track records in meeting requirements and their history in refunding unallocated grants, in decisions to allocate funding in the 2019 round (refer to section 6.2).
Lessons learned from previous rounds to assist 2019 applicants
The following generic advice might also assist universities in preparing applications.
Criteria 1 and 2
Criteria 1 (student mobility) and 2 (institutional partnerships) together will continue to account for the majority (70 per cent) of possible marks to be allocated for 2019 mobility projects.
Criterion 1 has the highest weighting of all the selection criteria (40 per cent weighting). As the core objective of the NCP Mobility Program is to encourage increased student mobility to the Indo-Pacific region, stronger responses to this criterion in previous rounds have addressed both elements: (i) how the mobility project will increase student knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region and the host location; and also (ii) how the mobility project will increase student mobility.
Responses that have scored well against Criterion 1 in previous rounds have provided concrete examples of how this will be achieved. For example:
- increased knowledge of the region could take place through direct learning or engagement with local institutions and communities
- increased student mobility could occur by increasing the number of students able to participate or expanding program types or fields of study.
Responses that have scored poorly in the past against Criterion 1 have not addressed both elements, or did not provide examples of how increased mobility would occur through the project.
As stated in section 1.3, another core objective of the NCP Mobility Program is to encourage the development of new and ongoing institutional links between Australian and overseas universities, private sector organisations and other groups to facilitate study and work-based learning opportunities for Australian undergraduates in the region. Responses that have scored well against Criterion 2 in previous rounds have demonstrated both how the mobility project would support new partnerships or strengthen and build on existing ones as well as how the project partnership would be maintained in the future (e.g. through partnership agreements or other commitments). Applications for the 2019 round would benefit from clearly describing what steps are being taken by the applicant to ensure the project would continue to operate in future years.
For Criterion 3, strong responses in previous rounds have demonstrated how the project would be promoted in Australia and the host location to build awareness of the program, its objectives and the benefits of study and internships in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, specific examples have been provided regarding promotional activities in Australia and the host location, for example, proactive promotion of the project through the media, promotion of the NCP to relevant university staff and prospective participants, student outreach and acknowledging Australian Government funding throughout all these types of activities.
Criteria 4, 5, 6 and 7
Criteria 4, 5, 6 and 7 attract additional weighting, where the project involves semester-based study, language training, an internship or a Mobility Partnership.
Where any private sector partnership arrangements exist, under criterion 7, applicants must discuss the nature of the private sector support in some detail and show how it makes a substantial contribution to the project. Evidence in the form of a letter from the private sector organisation is no longer required.
In terms of the additional selection criteria, universities can apply for an Internship Grant as part of a semester-based mobility project. Stronger responses to this criterion in previous rounds have clearly described the proposed internship, including the potential host, benefits to participants, proposed duration and confirmation that all visa requirements have been considered.
For the 2019 round, there is an additional selection criterion for Language Training Grants as part of a semester-based mobility project (if sought).
In the 2018 round, strong responses to the additional selection criteria for multi-year funding (if sought) clearly described how the funding would support the applicant’s institutional strategy to increase and sustain student mobility to the Indo-Pacific, including how it would stimulate new opportunities to scale-up and sustain ongoing student mobility, and strengthen and enhance institutional links with the project partners.
Inclusion of a Project Summary or Description
While this is not a mandatory requirement, it is worth noting that it has been extremely helpful for assessors when applicants have provided a clear and thorough summary of the project in the ‘project description’ section in the application form. Although the summary does not contribute to the project’s weighted score, where the project description has been clear, it has enabled assessors to better understand the project and provide a more informed overall assessment.
In summary, strong mobility project applications in the past have been clear and concise, addressed all elements of each individual criterion and provided concrete examples to demonstrate how the criteria and NCP objectives will be achieved.
Thank you for your interest in the 2019 round of the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.