Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program – FAQs

Last updated on October 28, 2020.

General Program Information

When is the deadline to submit?

All applications are to be submitted to Universities Canada via our online Portal by October 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm ET.

How do I know Universities Canada has received my application?

The receipt of submitted applications will be acknowledged by Universities Canada in the form of an email from studentmobility@univcan.ca. Please contact us if you are encountering any technical issues and/or if you do not receive an acknowledgement email.

Can I apply for funding as an individual institution and as a consortium?

Canadian universities are welcome to submit up to two applications as an individual institution and/or as part of a consortium. A consortia application must include a minimum of two Canadian post-secondary institutions.

How many projects is Universities Canada looking to fund?

Based on the quality and quantity of the applications, we anticipate funding between 50-70 innovation projects.

What is the difference between primary and secondary proposals?

Primary proposals will be reviewed based the assessment criteria in section 4.3 of the Guidelines. Should there be additional funds available, proposals designated as secondary applicants will be then reviewed by the same criteria. Please note that all proposals may be accepted, rejected or provided conditional approval. It may be possible that only certain elements of a proposal are approved for funding.

Could we submit one proposal in collaboration with other member institutions?

Yes, there would need to be a lead applicant identified but it would be up to you to determine how it would be operationalized within this partnership.

If I am not a member institution with Universities Canada, can I apply for the innovation fund?

Yes, the applicant must be a Canadian university that has recognized provincial degree granting powers, or their affiliates.

How often will the FAQ page be updated?

The FAQ page will be updated on a weekly basis. Universities Canada will respond to all email enquiries to studentmobility@univcan.ca within one working day if received by 4 pm ET, October 26, 2020. The responses to all enquiries received between the launch for the call for proposal will be published on the FAQ page on a weekly basis. The last update to the FAQ page will be on October 28, 2020.

Is it possible to have an approved project not make it to completion as there may still be travel restrictions in the spring?

The intention of the innovation fund RFP is to test new tools and approaches, adapt mobility programming to the COVID-19 environment, and build the foundation for the launch of the full program. There is a wide range of projects that could be possible; however please note that travel (domestic and international) is ineligible at this time. We anticipate launching the full program (including student travel) in the spring of 2021 or as soon as conditions permit. We encourage looking at section 2.1 of the guidelines which details the objectives of the innovation fund and some possible projects.

Can I work in partnership with institutions that are not at the postsecondary level, i.e. high-schools or school boards?

Yes. Partnerships in the context of an individual or consortium application could include, but are not limited to: foreign postsecondary institutions, non-governmental organizations, policy institutes and agencies, national and local governments, and private sector companies. Consortium partners, however, must be Canadian postsecondary institutions.

Our university is a member of both Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada. Is it OK and correct for us to submit one application to Universities Canada and one to Colleges and Institutes Canada? If we are submitting through the separate channels, how to we organize the prioritization of the two applications? Do we indicate that each is the “primary” application in that channel? Or do we indicate a primary and secondary application, even though they would be considered in separate piles?

Joint members are welcome to submit applications to Universities Canada and/or Colleges and Institutes Canada. It would therefore be possible to submit a project to Universities Canada and another project to Colleges and Institutes Canada. As they are submitted through two separate channels, it is possible to list both as primary applications. Funding received through the program from both Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada must not exceed a maximum of $90,000 and must respect the application types and amounts identified by each organization in their respective guidelines for the innovation fund. Under Universities Canada’s guidelines, institutions may submit no more than two applications (individual and/or consortium).

Are we able to submit two applications through Universities Canada and two applications to Colleges and Institutes Canada, provided we stay under the $90,000 threshold?

It depends on the type of application ( individual and/or consortia) and the requested grant amount. For instance, if you’re seeking the maximum amount (under either individual or a mix with consortia) that would exceed the $90K threshold and so two applications to Universities Canada and two applications to Colleges and Institutes Canada would not be possible. Please take a close look at the Universities Canada guidelines and the Colleges and Institutes Canada guidelines under the project criteria and the selection as that is where the associations differ.

It is our understanding that a project aiming to understand systemic barriers would be eligible. In addition to direct obstacles such as program structures, funding or diversity of partnerships, could this also include obstacles that impede institutions, as they have a major indirect impact on student mobility?

A project aiming to strengthen the understanding of systemic barriers is an example of an eligible project. All projects must address at least one of the innovation fund’s objective and contribute towards at least one program outcome. Projects must also have an impact on students, whether it be directly, during the implementation of projects or indirectly, throughout the life of the broader program.

The pilot program guidelines mention target groups on several occasions. Can our project aim to increase overall student mobility, considering our history of low outbound mobility?

As specified in section 2.1, there are many possible eligible projects. All projects must address at least one of the innovation fund’s objective and contribute towards at least one program outcome.

Does the definition of disability (a difficulty or impairment due to a long-term condition or health problem and/or a limitation in daily activities) include mental illness, as it could be an important matter for the host institution?

The definition of a disability could include mental illness if a student reports having a difficulty or impairment due to a long-term condition or health problem and/or experiencing a limitation in their daily activities.

As I understand it, each institution can submit a maximum of two applications (inclusive of Consortium applications). So, if we submit two individual applications, we would not be able to submit the Consortium application, is that correct?

That is correct. Canadian universities are welcome to submit a maximum of two applications. This could include either two individual applications, two consortium, or 1 individual and 1 consortium.

Would the Consortium application count as one of the two allowable submissions for each of the members of the Consortium? (Meaning, each member of the Consortium would have to agree to give one of their allowable applications to the Consortium?) Or would it only count against the submitting institution?

The consortium application only counts as one of the two allowable submissions for the submitting institution (not for all five institutions, for example). If successful, Universities Canada would sign a grant agreement with the submitting institution. It is up to that institution to manage how it is operationalized.

Are public postsecondary colleges eligible for the Innovation fund?

Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada are jointly implementing the outbound student mobility pilot program innovation fund for the university and college sector, respectively. At Universities Canada, all applicants must be a Canadian university that has recognized provincial degree granting powers, or their affiliates. At Colleges and Institutes Canada, the lead applicant must be, at the time of submitting their application, a member institution in good standing with Colleges and Institutes Canada.

Will there be a call for proposals for the Innovation fund each year of the program?

The launch of the full program (which includes the continuation of the innovation fund) is set for April 2021, or as soon as conditions permit. Details on the full program launch have not yet been finalized. We hope to be able to apply lessons learned from this call for proposals to the full program.

There are three student target groups identified: Indigenous students, students with disabilities and students with low incomes - Are applications eligible if they are working with just one or two students groups? Is there a priority student group from the three? New

It is possible to only focus on one of the target student groups. There is no priority student group out of the three target groups identified.

What are the minimum and maximum sizes for the proposal? New

Individual institution applications may seek grants of up to $25,000. Consortia applications may seek grants up to $40,000.

Is there an expectation for the program to be aimed at a certain level of education (e.g. undergraduate, graduate)? New

The program is only open to undergraduate students.

Are there any formatting guidelines that you are expecting? New

All applications must be submitted on via the application portal.

Who should the application be addressed to? New

Project proposals must be submitted online via the Universities Canada application portal by October 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm ET. Users will be required to register an account and complete their profile before being able to access the application form. Universities Canada will acknowledge receipt of all complete applications.

As part of the request for proposals, we are working on a project that requires the support of an external firm, which we are not considering a partner, but rather a service provider. Can you please confirm that not every private company taking part in funded projects is considered a partner? New

It is as the discretion of each postsecondary institution to determine the way in which the partnerships and the projects are developed. In other words, it is the university that chooses whether a private company is considered a partner or a service provider.

Project Activities

Can domestic mobility within Canada be considered under the Innovation fund? How about staff travel overseas?

Costs related to travel (domestic and international) are ineligible for funding under the Innovation fund.

Must the activities surrounding the Innovation fund directly impact the target student groups?

Projects are expected to support the objectives of the program, the objectives of the Innovation fund, and align with the projected outcomes in the logic model.

Could institutions apply for this funding to help with program or course development or is this money earmarked specifically for student awards?

We encourage institutions to use this opportunity to help test new approaches, tools or supports that would help strengthen the implementation of the full program and reduce barriers to outbound mobility for low-income students, students with disabilities and Indigenous students. Some possible projects are listed in section 2.1 of the guidelines.

Are partnerships a requirement for funding?

It is not mandatory to enter a partnership as part of this project. Universities may however wish to use this opportunity to build on existing or develop new partnerships in Canada or abroad. Partnerships could include, but are not limited to: postsecondary institutions, non-governmental organizations, policy institutes and agencies, national and local governments, and private sector companies.

I am reaching out to inquire about the eligibility to apply to the outbound student mobility program innovation fund. We run a program that fits the criteria set for eligible programs. The program is a partnership an international organization whereby students in their second and third years are paired with other students and social entrepreneurs. We have already started this program and students had their first bootcamp last week. The program should conclude by the end of the semester. Also, we have already covered the cost of the program this year. All these costs are actually eligible expenditures. Therefore, I am asking if we can still apply. Please advise.

It is possible for a range of projects to be supported through the innovation fund and for institutions to use this opportunity to test new approaches and scale projects. Please note that expenses can only be incurred after the signing of the grant agreement by both parties (Universities Canada and the postsecondary institution and that the funds are intended for activity between the signing of the agreement in November 2020 and March 31, 2021. Please also note that travel (domestic and international) is ineligible at this time.

Regarding question 4.2 in the application form, do we need to limit ourselves to three outputs, three activities and one outcome, or can we include more? Do the three outputs and three activities have to relate to a single outcome, or can we include for example one output and two activities for one outcome, and two outputs and three activities for another outcome? New

We ask that you indicate three outputs and three activities per immediate outcome. Each project must support the achievement of at least one of the immediate outcomes of the broader program indicated in the logic model. It is possible to select more than one immediate outcome and to identify their outputs and activities.

Budget and eligible costs

When can institutions expect to receive funds once their application has been approved?

As of early November 2020, results will be shared with universities and grant agreements will be signed with successful applicants. Funds will be disbursed upon signing of the agreement.

How much funding is available for individual and consortia applications?

Individual applications may seek grants of up to $25,000. Consortia applications may seek grants up to $40,000.

Can funds be spent after March 2021?

All innovation project funds and activity must be completed by March 31, 2021 as Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada need to report on the outcomes of these projects to the federal government.

Will the Innovation fund allow purchase of equipment? Can staff time also be an eligible cost?

As detailed in section 2.3 of the Guidelines, eligible expenses include: Eligible project expenses include:

  1. Salaries of staff working directly on project implementation and related costs
  2. Materials, equipment and supplies directly related to project implementation
  3. Support for hosting virtual and/or in-person events (excluding travel and accommodations)
  4. Costs associated with software and hardware infrastructure, web development and maintenance, information technology support and maintenance, telecommunications, and web hosting
  5. Professional fees directly related to the project (e.g., consultants, contractors, translation, evaluation, accounting, etc.)
  6. Communication and outreach costs, including promotional materials directly related to the project
  7. Any other costs that, at the discretion of Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada, are considered to be direct and necessary for the successful completion of the project and which have been approved in writing prior to being incurred.
Taking into consideration that all activities must be completed by March 31, 2021, can institutions assume this RFP is more for structural / foundational supports for outbound mobility within our institutions? I.e. not to support actual outbound programs. Will there be other RFPs on this program in subsequent years when we are back to ‘normal’ operations or is this a one shot deal?

We anticipate further RFPs in later years, more specifically, we anticipate launching the full program via a RFP in the spring of 2021, or as soon as conditions permit. The intention of the innovation fund RFP is to test new tools and approaches, adapt mobility programming to the COVID-19 environment, and build the foundation for the launch of the full program. As detailed in section 2.1 of the guidelines, there is a wide range of possible projects which could include piloting different outbound mobility programming such as virtual mobility, or more foundational projects that focus on developing new risk management practices, wraparound supports, etc. Note that costs related to travel (domestic and international) are ineligible at this time.

Understanding that the fund/activities must be completed by March 2021, can all activities related to this innovative project be completed but an actual delivery of the program be done later in the fall considering semester differences among different countries?

All project activities and funds must be completed by March 31, 2021. The final project report will be due at that time as well.  It is possible for innovation projects to build the foundational work or test new approaches to be implemented or scaled at a later date.

Is the project completion date of March 2021 firm? It still seems a bit soon to send students out regarding safe travel during COVID. We wonder if there is a possibility of extending a project to take place in summer 2021?

The project completion date of March 31, 2021 is firm as it is required to follow the Government of Canada’s fiscal year. We recognize there are many questions as to when travel for students will resume. Over the coming months we’ll get a clearer picture of what that looks like.

In relation to the eligible costs list provided, if we are partnering with a university or organization outside of Canada, can some of the funds be given directly to them to implement a portion of the initiative? I.E. Canadian university submits an individual application and plans to give a portion of funds to X international partner to implement specific components of the initiative? Or would all of the funding need to be spent directly by the Canadian university? I.E. we could hire them as consultants, buy materials on their behalf, pay for portions of the salaries of their staff, etc.

It would be at the discretion of the Canadian postsecondary institution to determine how the partnership and the project would be operationalized. Costs would need to respect the list of eligible costs identified in the guidelines and can only be incurred after the signing of the grant agreement with Universities Canada.

Would honoraria for student participants in a focus group / consultation be an eligible expense for the Outbound Mobility Innovation Program?

Yes, we would consider honoraria for student participants in a focus group / consultation as an eligible expense under ‘professional fees directly related to the project’.

Some students may require equipment to participate in a virtual mobility program. Can funding be used to purchase and gift laptops to students in need?

Eligible project expenses include ‘material, equipment and supplies directly related to project implementation.’ It is expected that any purchased material, equipment or supplies would support current and ongoing project implementation and therefore be available to current and subsequent participants.

The proposal guideline states that Consortia applications may seek grants up to $40,000. If an institution works with another Canadian institution in partnership with a consortium, does each Canadian institution receive $40,000, if accepted?

Consortia applications may seek a maximum of $40,000 total (not $40,000 per institution within that partnership). To be eligible for a consortia application, a consortia application must include a minimum of two Canadian postsecondary institutions. If approved for funding, Universities Canada will sign an agreement with the submitting institution. It will be up to the submitting institution to determine how the funds will be operationalized within that partnership.

What is the maximum amount that we can request in the second application? We understand that the maximum amount we can request for the first application is $25,000. For the second application can we request another $25,000 or is the limit $15,000 or some other amount.

It is the same maximum amounts for the first and second applications. (A maximum of $25,000 for individual applications, and a maximum of $40,000 for consortia applications.)

Would honoraria for Canadian student participants in a focus group / consultation be an eligible expense for the outbound student mobility pilot program innovation fund? What about foreign students enrolled at one of our postsecondary partners abroad?

Honoraria for Canadian student participants in a focus group / consultation as an eligible expense under ‘professional fees directly related to the project’. Honoraria for foreign student participants, on the other hand, would not be considered eligible.

Can funding be used to incentivize students to participate in outbound mobility experiences in the form of a scholarship? For example, the scholarship would be used to join a virtual exchange program.

Grants or scholarships can be eligible expenses if used to incentive the participation of students from target groups in non-research related innovative projects prior to March 31, 2021. Institutions would be expected to determine scholarship or grant amounts based on a character and needs-based assessment.

What is the total eligible amount per institution? Can we submit two proposals each seeking $25,000 or is that the total eligible amount per institution? New

Individual institution applications may seek grants of up to $25,000. Consortia applications may seek grants up to $40,000.

An individual institution may submit two applications each seeking $25,000. Alternatively, an institution may submit an individual application seeking $25,000 and a consortium application seeking $40,000.

Is there is room for flexibility in the budget that we submit? For example, if our intention is to hire a consultant to work with us, but we are unable to identify someone that has the necessary expertise to complete a portion of our project, would we then be able to shift some elements of the project in order to be able to ensure successful completion and use of funds by end of March 2021? New

We recognize that that a degree of flexibility is needed to adapt to changing realities and adjust strategies as needed as the project is implemented. For significant changes in the project, the university would be required to submit an email to Universities Canada justifying the scope change and receive written confirmation from Universities Canada approving the changes before proceeding.

Are there any issues with allocating salary funding to partner staff in another country (e.g. Mexico)? New

It would be at the discretion of the Canadian postsecondary institution to determine how the partnership and the project would be operationalized. Costs would need to respect the list of eligible costs identified in the guidelines and can only be incurred after the signing of the grant agreement with Universities Canada.

Regarding eligible expenses under the Innovation Fund.  Could you let me know if indirect costs (overhead) are an eligible expense? New

Overhead is an ineligible cost, funds are to support the direct implementation of the project.

Selection Process

As it appears that anyone can register to submit a proposal, how will Universities Canada determine which of the submitted proposals is the institution's primary and secondary project?

In the application form we ask the applicant to identify if the project is designated as a primary or secondary project for the institution. The submissions will need to be reviewed and approved by the signing authority at the institution. We hope this will help identify which two proposals to put forward at the institutional level.

We are also closely monitoring the registrations and submissions. If more than two proposals are put forward from one institution, we will contact the institution to ask for confirmation on the primary and secondary proposals before moving forward. Likewise, if two proposals are submitted from one institution and both are identified as primary submissions (for example), we will reach out to confirm before proceeding with the review and selection process.

Technical questions/difficulties

How do I access the application form on the portal?

You will need to register through the portal via the link https://portal.scholarshippartners.ca/welcome/OSM_EN/ to get into the application form. Go to ‘University Registration’ section and click ‘Register to Submit a Proposal’. That will take you to a ‘Contact Information page where you will be asked to register with your contact details. The system will then email you a temporary password. Please login with that temporary password and update the password accordingly. It will then bring you into the system with the application form. At this point you could also download the full application form. Please let us know if you encounter any technical difficulties.

Is there a way to see the whole application form? Could you send me a PDF of the application form?

Once you login to the system and start an application form, there is a ‘download and print’ button on the top left where you can view the full version of the application form. We can share a PDF version of the application form (please email us for a copy). Please note, we do not accept PDF submissions, all applications must be submitted vial the application portal. Please also note that the system is dynamic and that as a result, some of the fields do not show in the PDF version as they rely on other fields to be selected.

To clarify, under authorization section on the application form, the person submitting is stating the above statement is true but does not need an actual digital or wet signature from the signing authority. Is this correct?

That is correct. The person submitting the application is confirming that the statement is true. An actual digital or wet signature from the signing authority is not required.

Can you confirm who you have on file as the signing authority at our university for this program?

It is at the discretion of each institution to determine who is the appropriate signing authority (not Universities Canada). We will confirm with the team at your university on the primary and secondary applications before proceeding with the review and selection process in the event that more than one signing authority has approved the proposals.

Section 4.1.1 “Please indicate the projected number of students directly engaged in this project prior to March 31, 2021”. Is this asking about the number of students that had previously engaged in outbound mobility activities at our institution or is it asking about the number of students that have directly engaged in the project being proposed? As we are proposing a new project can we assume that zero would be an appropriate answer?

Question 4.1.1 is asking for the projected number of students directly engaged in the project being proposed. This is not a requirement, however it is required that the project impacts students broadly speaking; this could include direct engagement with students in the innovation project during the funding period, or an indirect impact on students through the implementation of the broader program.

On the online application, section 4.2 - it asks to indicate in the logic model below the activities, etc. But there is no form to input this. Or way to amend the PDF. I've included the activities in my project summary, but not sure if something more was required at this step.

If you go into the application form, below the ‘Click here to view the Logic Model’, there is a list of the immediate outcomes. Select the relevant immediate outcome and fields to input the outputs and activities will appear.

Are both applications submitted under the same University login?

It is at the discretion of the Canadian university to decide; it is possible to submit both applications under the same login. It is also possible to create a separate login and submit applications under that account.

Are the two applications filled out separately or is the second application part of the first request.

Each application is filled out separately.

For the contact info on the online application, I noticed that my contact info is already populated when I logged in. Some other government proposal applications usually ask for the individual in charge of the department, so I wasn't sure if I should  keep my info who will be submitting the application or the manager I report to, in my case, it would be my vice president, academic and research. New

The contact information is populated from the registration form. The last page of the application form requests the name of the signing authority and your confirmation that the signing authority has reviewed and approved your project. It is at the discretion of each institution to determine who is the appropriate signing authority.

I am wondering if you could expand the logic model a bit as I'm not 100% clear from the example provided in the guidelines. For example, if the immediate outcome we are trying to achieve from our priority proposal is as follows, the Canadian PSIs indicated here refers to our own institution, not the PSIs in general, correct? New

The logic model in the Appendix of the guidelines is for the full program, not solely the Innovation fund. The outputs and activities in the Appendix logic model are how Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada envision the full program unfolding when it is safe to launch the full program.

For the purposes of the Innovation fund, we  encourage you to look at the example in the application form itself. The logic model in the application form asks for the outputs and activities of your specific innovation project and to identify how it connects into the outcomes for the larger program.

Should the proposal be submitted by the International office or, can it be submitted by the individual faculty member writing and leading the initiative?  New

It is up to the university to determine who is best positioned to write and submit the proposal. It could be submitted by the international office or a faculty member – whatever makes most sense at your institution and for your project.

I'm not really sure about the Output and Activity guidelines provided in the logic model. Is it implied that we don't need to worry about the logic model for this specific proposal?   New

The logic model is a required element of the proposal. When filling out the application form, identify the immediate outcome(s) of the program in the logic model that your proposed project would help achieve. Then, list the activities (actions performed) and outputs (services delivered or products produced) are for your specific project.

The intention of this piece is really to drill down on what exactly will your project do (activities), what will come out of it (outputs) and how the project will help achieve the program’s broader outcomes.

For question 4.1.1 Number of students directly engaged in the project prior to March 31, 2021 – If 0 students are engaged prior to the March 31st deadline is the proposal ineligible and if it is eligible is it less likely to be accepted? New

It is not required to directly engage students in the proposed project. It is however required that the project impacts students broadly speaking; this could include direct engagement with students in the innovation project during the funding period, or an indirect impact on students through the implementation of the broader program. In the review process, we will be confirming that the project impacts students (directly and/or indirectly).

Do you have any more details regarding the reporting requirements? A reporting template? What will the financial reporting requirements look like? New

We are in the process of finalizing reporting the templates. Universities will be required to report on activities and results from the project in a narrative report due March 31, 2021. This will be accompanied by a simple financial report that will consist of a table with the list of eligible costs in the guidelines and a column asking for universities to insert total costs incurred per eligible cost.

For question 4.1.1 ″Please indicate the projected number of students directly engaged in this project prior to March 31, 2021″, do we need to include the number of students that will be consulted and hired as part of the project? New

Yes. If your project will directly engage students before the end of March 2021, we ask that you include the projected number of students that will be involved.

Regarding immediate outcome 1120: Increased knowledge of intercultural competencies and professional networking skills. It indicates students receive pre/post departure briefings etc. I'm assuming there will be no travel during COVID, so the departure doesn't really apply for this particular innovation funding project? New

All of the outcomes could apply to the innovation fund, depending on what the project entails. When looking at the logic model, I would recommend only looking at the immediate, intermediate, and ultimate outcome levels — ignore the outputs and activities listed in Appendix A as those are for the full program. Instead, ask your self what will be the outputs and activities from the project and how will they contribute to the outcomes below. For instance, if your project is focused on designing a new intercultural competency pre-departure course tailored to target student groups, this could help achieve immediate outcome 1120. As mentioned earlier, we are looking for the outputs and activities to be tailored to your project, not copied from the list in the Appendix.

Will Universities Canada develop surveys to our students to participate to measure the impact on skills development? New

Universities Canada will develop a pre and post surveys for all student participants to fill out and submit online. The purpose of the surveys is to meet our monitoring and evaluation obligations to Employment, and Social, Development Canada including measuring skills development.

Universities Canada