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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What does INT support? (Overview)
  2. What about reciprocal (foreign) support?
  3. Who can INT support?
  4. Transportation and living expenses
  5. How much can INT Award?
  6. How are indirect costs handled?

1. Overview

INT awards range from a few thousand dollars (e.g., for a research planning visit) to hundreds of thousands of dollars (e.g., for international linkages for centers). Funding can support start-up and early developmental stages of international collaborative research and education activities, and participation of U.S. students and junior researchers in such activities. Support for international travel and subsistence is routinely provided. INT also supports other items to enable international collaboration, which may include stipends, minor equipment, materials and supplies, and communication and publication charges. Support must be strongly justified in terms of the international collaboration. Researchers seeking core support for their domestic research activities, or continuing support for long-standing international collaborations, should direct their proposals to NSF’s disciplinary programs.

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2. Reciprocal support

NSF supports U.S. participation in international collaborations; foreign participants are expected to secure their own funding. INT supports travel and living costs for research visits by U.S. participants to foreign laboratories, while NSF’s foreign counterpart agencies usually support their participants for U.S. visits. See the Regional Program pages for links to counterpart agencies. There are exceptions. For example, the typical arrangement for exchanges with China is for the sending side to cover international airfare and the receiving side to support living expenses. For activities with developing countries, INT may support travel and living expenses of foreign participants. Various approaches to cost-effective, reciprocal arrangements can be considered, and should be discussed with the INT staff member responsible for that country.

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3. Who can be supported?

NSF generally supports U.S. participation in international collaborations; foreign participants are expected to secure their own funding. INT funding can support the participation of U.S. principal investigators, contributing researchers, postdoctoral fellows, students and support staff, when specifically justified in terms of the international collaboration. INT support for students and postdoctoral researchers is generally limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Note that foreign students and researchers can be supported under regular NSF research grants (e.g., as graduate research assistants, postdoctoral researchers and visiting scientists).

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4. Transportation and living expenses

Discount airfares on U.S. flag carriers should be used whenever possible. For living expenses abroad, applicants are encouraged to work with their foreign counterparts to develop realistic budget requests. For example, access to university guest housing or similar facilities should be explored. It is expected that cost-effective arrangements will be made for individuals residing at the foreign site for extended periods and for projects involving on-going exchanges of short-term visitors. In no case should the amount for lodging and meals and incidental expenses (MI&E) exceed the authorized U.S. Government per diem rates, calculated at the authorized daily rate for the first 30 days of a single project visit, and 50 percent of that rate for all time after that.

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5. Award size

INT awards range from a few thousand dollars (e.g., for a research planning visit) to hundreds of thousands of dollars (e.g., for international linkages for centers). Using Award Search will allow you to see the size of previous INT awards. The INT staff member responsible for the country(s) of interest can discuss the level of support that might be considered for different types of activities.

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6. Indirect costs

The extent to which indirect costs (item I on NSF Form 1030) are allowable on INT awards is discussed in the program announcement International Opportunities for Scientists and Engineers (NSF 00-138), as follows:

“Indirect costs are allowable, consistent with NSF's general policy (see Grant Proposal Guide, Section II-C.6.h). Off-campus rates are applicable to activities at foreign sites. Indirect costs may not be applied to: (a) participant support, including costs incurred on behalf of foreign participants, or (b) awards to individuals, International Research Fellowships, and awards made primarily on behalf of graduate students. Indirect costs are normally applicable to travel (including transportation and living expenses) when travel is incidental to the main purpose of the proposed project. Indirect costs are not applicable to travel when travel is the primary activity of the project and the principal item in the proposed budget.”

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Page updated: June 2002