Passport


(March 6, 1997, Gazette)

International Programs Office is hub of activity

One important function of Memorial's International Programs Office, a function which is being enhanced, is to communicate information to the university community about available activities and programs from outside agencies. Periodically Passport will be used to bring this type of information to Gazette readers.

The International Programs Office, Spencer Hall, also provides information and assistance to faculty members who are looking for funding programs from various development agencies. Of primary importance are the institutional linkage programs funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the University Partnerships in Co-operation and Development program. International Programs is the receiving site for information on CIDA linkage programs. Two general funding programs exist, both "designed to support, on the basis of merit, human resource development initiatives aimed at achieving lasting mutual benefits for all participants."

Most linkages are developed under the Tier 2 program. It finances smaller and more narrowly defined projects and is directly administered by the International Division of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. As much as $750,000 is available for approved projects for up to five (six fiscal) years. The developing country institution and Memorial University are required to show an in-kind contribution. In the case of Memorial, this should be equivalent to some 30 per cent of the total CIDA contribution.

Women in development, and the environment are considered especially significant themes. Projects may include such activities as faculty and student exchanges, graduate programs, curriculum development, improving the capacity of libraries, providing equipment (limited to a maximum of 15 per cent of CIDA funding), strengthening planning and management capacity, joint research and publications relevant to enhancing the performance of the institution, community activity development, et cetera. In addition to benefiting the developing country institution, the project should benefit Memorial in some way, and Memorial should make the Canadian public aware of the value of the CIDA program.

Competition for this funding is quite severe: of 54 proposals submitted last year only 12 were funded (including one from Memorial). Some of these proposals had been submitted previously. One factor which often leads to a proposal's rejection -- other than not following the required format and directly addressing the proposal guidelines -- is the perception that the proposal has been developed primarily by the Canadian institution and not in the spirit of partnership implied by the funding sources. Therefore, it is vital not to rush the proposal or do all the work from Memorial.

Tier 1 programs follow the same basic principles, but they are large, integrated programs containing "an array of appropriate activities" and funded at up to $5 million over as many as five years. They are directly managed by the Canadian Partnership Branch of CIDA, which invites Canadian universities to present program submissions "once every [18] months...subject to availability of funding".

Despite the severe competition for Tier 1 and Tier 2 funding (and their predecessors), Memorial has fared well. The International Programs Office welcomes the opportunity to address questions and help with project preparation, implementation and management, in the hope that this success might continue. Various regional and country-specific funding programs will be described in a future Passport column.