The 2020 New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program Guidelines provide information about the 2020 round including eligibility requirements, how applications will be assessed and how funding will be allocated to successful applicants.
Key changes in the 2020 round
For the 2020 Mobility round, the Guidelines have been migrated to a different template to comply with new Australian Government grant requirements. Additionally, a number of enhancements have been made to the Mobility Program for the 2020 round including:
- strengthened language to encourage Australian university applicants to support the participation of a diverse range of students (sections 2.2 and 4.3)
- advice that third party providers (external assessors) will be involved in the selection processes (section 2.4)
- removal as eligible NCP Host Locations those destinations listed in Smartraveller as 'Reconsider Your Need to Travel' (in addition to existing restrictions on 'Do Not Travel' destinations) (sections 2.5 and 5.5)
- expanded provisions in relation to mobility project recipients' responsibilities to adhere to child protection policies; requirements that all Mobility Program students travel on an Australian passport, are given the NCP Mobility Program information letter provided by DFAT and are strongly encouraged to attend pre-departure briefings (Section 2.5).
- clarification that the minimum NCP Mobility project period must be for a minimum period of 14 continuous days (section 3.2)
- further clarification of Mobility Partnerships objectives and parameters, including that engaging service providers (paid a fee for service) to support a Mobility Project does not constitute a Mobility Partnership (section 5.3)
- changes to the selection criteria assessment as follows (section 6):
- introduction of a sliding scale for assessment of selection criteria to encourage applicants to provide additional evidence in support of their claims against those criteria; and
- addition of a requirement for written evidence of a Mobility Partnership (if relevant) with a Private Sector Organisation.
- further clarification of what actions the Australian Government may take to remedy underperformance against the requirements of the Project Schedule for a Mobility Project (section 12.4).
Lessons learned from previous rounds
The following generic feedback might assist universities in preparing applications.
For applications that were unsuccessful in previous rounds, there were a number of common areas where responses to the selection criteria could have been strengthened, including:
Criterion 1 has the highest weighting (40 per cent) because the core objective of the NCP Mobility Program is to increase student mobility to the Indo-Pacific region. In previous rounds, good responses have:
- addressed how the project will increase student knowledge of the region and the host location
- addressed how the mobility project will increase student mobility, and
- provided concrete examples of how this will be achieved.
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.
Applications for the 2020 round would benefit from outlining how the institution will ensure that a diverse range of students will participate in the Mobility project.
Developing new and ongoing institutional links between Australian and overseas universities, private sector organisations and other groups in the region is another core objective. In previous rounds, good responses demonstrated:
- how the mobility project would support new partnerships or strengthen and build on existing ones, and
- how the project partnership would be maintained in the future (e.g. through partnership agreements or other commitments).
Applications for the 2020 round would benefit from clearly describing what steps are being (or will be) taken to ensure the project can continue to operate in future years (subsequent to any Funding).
Strong responses in previous rounds have described and provided specific examples of activities, of how the project would be promoted both in Australia and the host location to build awareness of the NCP program, its objectives and the benefits of study and internships in the Indo-Pacific.
Examples of promotion activities could include: 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 and 6
Criteria 4, 5 and 6 attract additional weighting, where the project involves semester-based study, language training and/or an internship.
Criterion 7 also attracts additional weighting. Where any private sector partnership arrangements exist, applicants must discuss the nature of the private sector support in some detail and show how it makes a substantial contribution to the project. Written evidence of a Mobility Partnership with the Private Sector Organisation will be required.
Criteria 8 and 9
Universities can apply for an Internship Grant and/or Language Training Grant as part of a semester-based mobility project. If sought, additional selection criteria will apply.
Stronger responses for the additional criterion for Internship Grants 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.
Stronger responses for the additional criterion for Language Training Grants in previous rounds clearly described the proposed language training program, including information on the potential Language Training host and the duration of the training) and benefits to the participants.
In previous rounds, strong responses to the additional selection criterion for multi-term 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
Although the summary does not contribute to the project's weighted score, a clear and concise project description enables assessors to better understand the project and provide a more informed assessment.
Mobility project applications that have scored well in the past have:
- been clear and concise
- addressed all elements of each individual criterion
- provided concrete examples to demonstrate how it meets the criteria and will achieve the NCP objectives.
Thank you for your interest in the 2020 round of the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.