2021 Fulbright Specialist Program

The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi is pleased to announce the annual Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) competition for local host institutions for the 2021 fiscal year (FY 21).

Program Description:

The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) provides highly qualified U.S. academics and U.S. professionals whose credentials and experience are at the faculty or full professional level with an opportunity to share their expertise by carrying out projects requested by host institutions abroad. Specialists are frequently academics, however, professionals such as attorneys, journalists, scientists, economists, security experts, and experts in eligible fields (such as business, communications, public health, and public administration) frequently take part in the program as well. Specialists exchange knowledge, build capacity, and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities both in the United States and overseas.

FSP provides U.S. expertise and leadership to overseas hosts and promotes long-term collaboration between U.S. and host country institutions through projects that align with the Department of State goals and the priorities of foreign host institutions. This Fulbright opportunity offers an on-demand, rapid response exchange resource in a wide variety of fields.
Eligible Disciplines:

Projects designed by prospective host institutions should focus on one of the below eligible disciplines:

  • Agriculture
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Archeology
  • Biology Education
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry Education
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Science and Information Technology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering Education
  • Environmental Science
  • Law
  • Library Science
  • Math Education
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies
  • Physics Education
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Public/Global Health
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Urban Planning

U.S. Embassy Tbilisi invites local host institutions to propose and submit FSP projects. Through FSP projects, hosts invite U.S. academics and professionals to apply their knowledge and expertise to a number of activities designed by a host university, local nonprofit, government office, or other eligible institutions. Project activities may include, but are not limited to: teaching or training; developing curricula or teaching/educational materials; institutional planning; building capacity of faculty, administrators, or staff; delivering seminars or academic courses; and conducting needs assessments for programs or institutions. While not required, recipients are encouraged to provide opportunities for Specialists to engage with the general public through activities such as public lectures or events sponsored by the host institution, or the U.S Embassy.

Implementing Partner:

World Learning is the cooperating organization that will implement the FY 2021 FSP. World Learning maintains a web-based portal for project submission, review, and implementation. It also manages a public FSP website that provides information for host institutions and U.S. Specialist applicants, program history, an overview of FSP processes, and blogs that provide program highlights.

Eligible Host Institutions:

Foreign Host Institutions eligible to request Fulbright Specialists include, but are not limited to:

⦁ Institutions of Higher Education;
⦁ Government Institutions (ministries or agencies, courts, parliament);
⦁ Cultural Institutions (conservatories, museums, etc.);
⦁ Non-Governmental Organizations including issue-centered institutions and think tanks;
⦁ Medical Institutions (public health organizations, teaching hospitals, etc.)

Ineligible Institutions, Fields, and Activities:

U.S. or U.S.-based institutions and profit-making companies and organizations such as businesses and corporations are ineligible to host Fulbright Specialists. Projects with activities focused on the English language such as designing curriculum, conducting needs assessments, teacher training, or high-level educational consultations, are not eligible for the FSP. Specialists may not carry out personal research projects—they must carry out projects proposed by host institutions and approved by the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Clinical medical research or projects involving patient contact are ineligible under Fulbright policy.

Program Cycle:

FSP operates on the fiscal year cycle and not on the academic or calendar year cycle.
The earliest that 2021 projects may be scheduled to begin is January 1, 2021, if the host country is able to safely host Specialists at that time. Projects should be submitted at least three months prior to the start date, and, in order to ensure qualified and available candidates for open projects, six to nine months is recommended.

Traditional Cost Share Project:

Under this funding model, ECA funds the Specialists’ roundtrip international travel costs and a daily honorarium. Host institutions must provide cost-share for in-country meals, lodging, and local transportation expenses (to and from lodging to the location of the project as well as additional local transportation to conduct personal errands and attend or participate in local cultural activities). These funds must be provided in-kind or upon arrival, not on a reimbursable basis. All costs, including costs covered by host institutions and in-kind contributions, must be quantified and reported in the program management system prior to the approval of the project. Specialists are prohibited from self-funding programmatic costs.

One Country per Project:

Fulbright Specialist projects are restricted to one country. All project activities must take place in the country requesting the project. If the project requests the Specialist to be in multiple locations, all locations must fall in the same country.

The number of Specialists and Time between Projects:

A project is restricted to one Specialist grantee, but multiple projects and specialists can be sent to the same country at the same time. Per FFSB Policy, a Specialist will not be approved for a second Fulbright grant unless two years have passed from the date of the completion of the previous Fulbright Specialist grant.

Project Timeframe:

The length of a Fulbright Specialist project must be a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 42 days, including travel days and weekends.

Multi-Visit (Serial) Projects:

A Multi-Visit project is one in which a Specialist conducts more than one visit to the host institution for the purpose of the necessary program evaluation or follow-up. If a project is approved to be Multi-Visit, all visits must occur within a one-year period, which is calculated by adding 12 months from the initial start date of the first visit through the end date of the final visit. A Multi-Visit project cannot include more than three visits in total where each visit is a minimum of 14 days and all visits combined do not exceed 42 days.

Instructions for Project Submission:

For Named projects, the FSP rolling timeline and compressed review process for project requests allow for a three to four-month response to U.S. Embassy requests from submission to Specialist arrival. Open projects require additional lead time.

Proposal Development:

Host institutions must create a proposal for U.S. Embassy review. The components of the project request include: Host Institution Contacts; Project Description; Project Objectives; Project Length and Logistical Information; and Cost Share Commitments.

U.S. Embassy Reviews Proposal:

The host institution must submit the application to the U.S. Embassy via the online project portal (https://worldlearning-community.force.com/FSPHost/). If the host institution does not have the technical capabilities for submission into the online system, it may contact World Learning to request a Word document version of the online form that must ultimately be uploaded by the U.S. Embassy into the portal for review. Host institutions may email Fulbrightspecialist@worldlearning.org for assistance with the online portal.

Submit a Proposal to ECA:

Please note that approval by the U.S. Embassy does not guarantee that a project will take place. Following U.S. Embassy approval, the relevant country-specific Fulbright Program Officer will review the project request and, if approved, will submit to the FSP Program Officer for final ECA approval. Incomplete proposals or proposals that lack sufficient detail will be “returned” through the system with a request for clarification. This clarification is to be made through the system by either the host institution or the U.S. Embassy.

Matching a Specialist with a Project:

Specialists can be matched with projects through an open process or they may be named by the host institution or the U.S. Embassy. In order to be eligible to carry out an FSP project, Specialists must first be named to the Fulbright Specialist Roster (Roster). Admission to the Roster requires review by a peer review committee, an independent panel of scholars and professionals, which reviews applications approximately six times per year. Approval by the peer review places individuals on the Specialist Roster, which makes them eligible to be matched with Specialist projects. Final approval of candidates’ eligibility to receive an FSP grant is carried out by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) following a candidate’s match with a specific project. Full eligibility information and requirements can be found at https://fulbrightspecialist.worldlearning.org/eligibility-specialists/. Projects can be requested to be matched with Specialists through three methods, listed below.

Open Requests (Preferred method):

The host institution does not identify a specific individual to serve as the Specialist. Rather, after the proposed project is approved by the U.S. Embassy and by ECA, World Learning reviews the Fulbright Specialist Roster for candidates with the required experience for a successful implementation of the host institution’s project. Qualified candidates are identified and shared with the U.S. Embassy, which should then work with the host institution to identify the best fit and confirm that the recommended candidate has the requisite skills needed to carry out the project. If it is not possible to identify an individual from the current Roster, World Learning will conduct targeted recruitment for the project.

Named Roster Requests:

The host institution or U.S. Embassy may identify in its project proposal the Specialist candidate from the Roster that they wish to carry out the project prior to submission of the project through the online management system. The host institution and the Specialist candidates may be in contact and collaborate on project development, including activities, and should agree on potential project dates prior to submission. If the named individual is unable to carry out the project (for example, not interested or ineligible due to the recent completion of another project), World Learning will identify alternative candidates to carry out the project.

Named Recruitment Requests:

The host institution or U.S. Embassy may identify in its project proposal a preferred individual to serve as the Fulbright Specialist but who is not currently on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. In this case, the individual must complete the full process (application and peer review) to join the Roster. In order to expedite the process for the host institution, the project can be submitted to the Embassy and, if approved, to ECA for review and approval while the individual is completing the application process to the Roster. If the individual is not found to be qualified to join the Roster, World Learning will identify alternative candidates to carry out the project.

Please note:

While project approval follows one process, the identification of a Specialist candidate to be matched with a project may be carried out in a number of ways. As candidates have been approved for the Roster at some point within the past three years based on their academic qualifications, it is important that the Embassy and the host carry out due diligence on the review of the applicant to ensure that the applicant has the skills and qualifications to carry out the project.

For more information, please visit: https://fulbrightspecialist.worldlearning.org/program-timeline/

Host Institution Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Universities, government ministries, NGOs, think tanks or other not-for-profit institutions are requested to:
  • Follow country-specific processes or competition requirements and develop a project that fits the parameters of FSP.
  • While Open Projects are preferred, if submitting a Named Project, work with the U.S. Embassy to identify a Specialist and review Specialist candidates.
  • Provide in-country cost share.
  • Provide secure, safe and comfortable housing for the Specialist. Typical accommodations are hotels, university housing, and, (if organized in consultation with the Specialist candidate and approved by them) approved home-stays with host institution staff or faculty.
  • Provide funding or in-kind assistance for pick-up/drop-off at the airport.
  • Provide funding or in-kind assistance for all meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Typical options include stipends to provide opportunities for
  • Specialists to go to local cafes or shop for groceries, university cafeterias, meals at a homestay, etc. The funding must be calculated in USD and should not exceed USG per diem rates.
  • Notify the U.S. Embassy of any problems or concerns while the Specialist is carrying out his or her project.
  • Complete the final report survey.

Report back to the U.S. Embassy and/or World Learning with significant impact or media coverage.

Website and Contact Information:

For additional information please visit the Fulbright Specialist website for a general program overview and highlights: https://fulbrightspecialist.worldlearning.org/

Fulbright Specialist Program Portal for host organizations –  https://worldlearning-community.force.com/FSPHost