Webinar transcript - ISW Information Session

Patrick Moriarty Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us today for the International Student Welfare Program Information Session. I'll introduce a couple of people that are joining us today shortly but I want to start by acknowledging that, regardless of whether we're doing this virtually, wherever you are sitting, we're acknowledging that we are paying our respects to the elders past, present and future. We're really proud to be sitting here in an office in Melbourne and we are delighted to have you along.

I'll introduce myself first. I'm Patrick Moriarty, the Director of Training and Development at Our Community. We're working with Study Melbourne to deliver several webinars to help and support international students throughout Victoria. For other student experience programs throughout the year, please check back to the website because there will be other programs that will be developing and we look forward to working with you in the future.

We've got a fair bit to get through today and as you can see on the slide in front of you that we've got a fairly packed agenda that will go through the aims and the purpose of the program, the program timing, who and what is eligible and ineligible, how to apply for the funding - a little bit about the funding agreement and expectations, a little bit about the assessment process and reporting and acquittals, and then we'll be providing an opportunity for you to ask questions and receive responses. Just a little note on that - notionally, we are going for about 40-45 minutes in terms of the presentation and allowing plenty of time for you to provide us with questions. You can do that at any time throughout the webinar. Just so that you're aware of how you can do that, you'll see that on the right-hand side of the screen is a little box titled 'Questions'. So if you click on that little arrow at any stage during the presentation, you can write a question into that panel and we'll receive it here and be able to respond to it either during the session or at the end of the session. If we're absolutely flooded with questions, we will be providing a response to all respondents regardless of whether we get through it today or not. So if there are a number of questions that we can't get to, we'll be providing a copy of a response to all of the questions we receive and emailing those out to people. So again, just make sure if you have got a question, don't wait to the last minute. Think about it and you can shoot it through at any stage.

So, a little bit about about who's in the room here today. I've already introduced myself. I'd like to introduce Vittoria Mancini from The Student Experience International Education Department. Vittoria, would you like to explain your role and experiences that relate to the session today.

Vittoria Mancini  Thanks Pat, I've been with the International Education team for over a year now, delivering the International Student Welfare Grants Program in its pilot phase. We completed a review of the pilot and that led to a few changes and to the new guidelines that we're discussing today.

Patrick Moriarty That's great and they've just recently been released and for the people that have tuned in today, you can see in the little handouts area that we've got copies in both word and PDF format, as well as a copy of all the slides that we'll be using today. So if you want to take those back to your own organisation and maybe discuss those with anybody that's potentially looking to apply, please feel free to.

The second person joining us today is Diana Crvenkovic, who's the manager of Student Initiatives in the same Department. Diana, would you like to explain your role and the little bit about your experience with the program.

Diana Crvenkovic Sure, thanks Patrick. I work alongside Vittoria in the delivery of this program and, like her, I have from been involved with the program from the start. I'm really looking at it through its pilot phase now as we've released our new guidelines and scope of the program.

I work alongside Vittoria and the team in the Department in Study Melbourne which includes the Study Melbourne Student Centre. Overall, our job is to deliver programs and services that benefit international students in Victoria.

Patrick Moriarty Well, that sounds great and it's a great thing for the state and for the country to have international students working with us.

Just a note to people Just a note to people any good program, we value evaluation so we will be providing a little survey for you to complete at the end of the program. So if you could complete that, we would really be appreciative of it because what we want to do is obviously improve as we go along and if we can't learn from it, we can't fix it. So if you could, we really appreciate it if you can complete that survey. It won't take long.

So, let's get into it. Vittoria, do you want to explain a little bit about the aims and purpose of the ISW Program.

Vittoria Mancini Sure, so the International Student Welfare Program forms, as Diana said, it forms part of the support that Study Melbourne provides for international students in Victoria. It provides funding for activities, It provides funding for activities, It provides funding for activities, and enhance their experience of living in this state.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, so we were just briefly Ok, so we were just briefly probably based on a policy statement of the grantmaker. Let's look at what Vittoria would be trying to achieve through that program. So basically you can see that the program's goal is for international students to have a positive, rewarding and enriching experience during their say in Victoria. The program aims to enable capable The program aims to enable capable quality activities that improve the wellbeing of post-secondary international students living in Victoria, to fund activities that respond to the most important needs of international students, to encourage activities that to encourage activities that at the centre, genuinely involving them in identifying their needs, planning the response and reviewing the outcomes, to support innovative approaches that extend the capacity of the education sector and wider community to respond to the needs of international students, to increase international students access to support and information services, and to increase international students social connections and create positive opportunities for them to get involved in the local community - that's something that Our Community really encourages.

So Vittoria, we've looked at what the program's aiming to achieve. What sort of funding is available for each of those programs?

Vittoria Mancini Well Patrick, as you'll see from the slide that is coming up, The International Student Welfare Program has two categories of funding.

Category One: The International Student Group Activities grant provides funding of up to $5000 to help student groups deliver activities that support the wellbeing of international students.

In Category Two, Wellbeing Partnership Activities, In Category Two, Wellbeing Partnership Activities, $75,000 for partnerships of two or more organisations to deliver activities that support the wellbeing of international students.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, so this Category One grant focuses more on student groups or associations whereas Category Two is more open to broader organisations who work in partnership. So, we'll look a bit more closely at that in a minute but I suppose the question many people listening in will be interested in finding out 'What is the program timing?'

So Vittoria, can you tell us when the grants open and when they close.

Vittoria Mancini Well, we have an opening date of tomorrow, actually, Pat. So, Category One and Category Two will be open tomorrow, Thursday 13th of April 2017. And our closing date for both of those categories and funding is Friday, 12th of May 2017 at midnight.

Patrick Moriarty And I suppose the one thing that we've seen through a lot of grant rounds it is that a lot of people tend to wait to the last minute to get their application in. So maybe a bit of guidance to people, if you prepare it well in advance, if you leave it to the last minute, what we tend leave it to the last minute, what we tend people rush it and little things get missed and you don't actually present your application in the best of light. So we really encourage you, and I'm sure Vittoria would love to see a lot of people sending their application for the grants well in advance. In some cases we've seen people submit grant applications they're not actually eligible for and that's the last thing we want to see.

So Vittoria, could you explain a little bit about the eligibility criteria for us.

Vittoria Mancini Certainly, and we'll start with the Category One. To qualify for funding under the ISW program for Category One, your organisation must a student organisation or association that is a legal entity and operates in Victoria, has an Australian Business Number, has been operating for at least two years, supports a strong membership base of international students living in Victoria, and has appropriate insurance cover arranged for the activity that's being proposed. I just want to emphasise there that individuals cannot apply for this category of funding. In fact, think they can't apply for either category of funding.

Patrick Moriarty Just picking up a little bit on that and looking at the legal entity, we're basically saying in that context that a community organisation has to be incorporated and have that legal status or a company limited by guarantee or something like that. We're not saying that you're illegal if you're not one of those but you're not eligible to apply if you aren't incorporated, at least. So let's have a look at Category Two and who can apply as part of Category Two.

Vittoria Mancini To be eligible to apply for funding under Category Two, lead applicant must satisfy these four requirements: you have to be a legal entity and operate in Victoria, have an Australian Business Number, have been operating for at least two years, and have appropriate insurance cover arranged for the activity being proposed. A range of organisations can apply, including student organisations and associations, education providers, not-for-profit organisations, industry associations, local government and businesses. And I just want to emphasise that those who cannot apply include, as we said before, individuals but also, an organisation involved in legal proceedings relating to winding up its operations or insolvency. And, actually, that goes for both categories.

Patrick Moriarty That's really important to capture and we're going to talk a little bit more about partnerships and what they might look like a little bit later but we're basically saying you need to at least have two organisations at a minimum to form a partnership.

Ok, so let's now look at what type of things could possibly be funded. And whilst this isn't meant to be an exhaustive list and applicants should check the Study Melbourne website first, Vittoria, can you tell us what the type of activities are eligible for funding?

Vittoria Mancini What we're looking for in Category One is activities that meet these three requirements: the activity will promote the wellbeing of international students by supporting some or all of the aims of the ISW program as listed in the Category One guidelines. The activity will support post-secondary international students living in Victoria and there will be a clear intention to involve international students so they can contribute to the design, delivery and review of their funded activities.

Patrick Moriarty Great, that's Category One - let's have a closer look at Category Two.

Vittoria Mancini  So, what we are looking for in Category Two: To be eligible for funding, your proposed activity must satisfy these six requirements: promote the wellbeing of international students by supporting some or all of the aims of the program, support post-secondary international students living in Victoria, involve collaboration or engagement with international students living in Victoria (I'll come back to that note about the lead applicant in a minute), offer genuine opportunities for international students to contribute to the design, delivery and review of funded activities, increase awareness in the community and amongst support services about the needs of international students, and strengthen the capacity of service and education providers to respond to the needs of international students. The note there was that if the lead applicant is an eligible student organisation or association, there's no requirement to collaborate with a separate student group although we encourage student groups to work together.

Patrick Moriarty Great, that explains a fair bit and just picking up on the first sentence there, "the proposed activity must satisfy those whole six requirements". So they should be making sure they meet those and, in effect, when they're reviewing their own grant application, go back and make sure they tick those boxes and ensure that they've answered every one of those clearly.

Vittoria Mancini That's correct.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, let's have a look what applicants can't include in their submissions.

Vittoria Mancini What the funding can't be spent on includes salaries for existing staff; recurrent operating costs; budget deficits; capital expenditure; competitions, commercial or fundraising activities; expenses of overseas visitors; alcohol purchased for functions or events; religious or political activities; research activities (with the exception of applied research); activities that already have been completed or are underway before the start of a funding agreement, that's a condition of the funding agreement and other than in exceptional circumstances we wouldn't pay for those activities but if there are exceptional circumstances and we have prior written approval, we may fund some of those activities; activities is designed to offset the costs of existing operations to meet regulatory requirements or that duplicate existing services that would best be funded by other government programs. So it's quite a long list there but the information about what won't be funded is actually included in the guidelines.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, so for Category One applicants, there's no co-contribution requirements, however they can feel free to include those because that would really be helpful to demonstrate their support within their own organisation.

Vittoria Mancini That's correct.

Patrick Moriarty And, for Category Two applicants, it is mandatory for a matched co-contribution. So, let's see a little bit about what we mean by that. Recognise that you can ask questions at any stage and some of those may be fleshed-out in that budget discussion

So one that I'm thinking off the top of my head - whilst salaries for existing staff are not eligible to be funded, we might have a discussion around what if those salaries are part of the project or there's a cost involved in staffing later. So let's look at won't be funded by the ISW program. Let's have a look at Category Two.

Vittoria Mancini Ok, actually this slide has an incorrect title. It's actually about the co-contributions. So, we're actually going to talk now a bit about the co-contributions for Category Two. All applications for the ISW Program Category Two will be expected to provide a minimum co-contribution that equals the level of funding being applied for. That's important to remember that it has to be matched. This can be made up of cash and or in-kind contributions from the lead applicant and or activity partner organisations. So that's actually a lot more flexible than what we had in the previous pilot phase of the program. In-kind or non-cash contributions can include services, equipment or facilities.

They can form part of the total co-contributions of partners. And, again we've said that could include staff time, administration, office costs, materials and promotional support. More information is included in the activity budget and expenditure plan template. That's specifically for the Category Two funding because, as we said, the Category One does not require the in-kind contribution.

Patrick Moriarty Great, so some people will want to have a look closely at their budget and expenditure plan, particularly for Category Two. Just a thought there in trying to make sure that that adds up, when we're talking about the co-contributions in that context, there can be different elements that people add up to make sure that that matches dollar for dollar, in effect. So don't be shy about putting in components that add up to the total. It doesn't have to be from one of those streams - that can be across all of those streams and that can then add up to your co-contribution.

Right, let's look at how people could actually apply then and how they apply. Vittoria, you've got some helpful writing tips here, haven't you?

Vittoria Mancini  Yes, in the guidelines we have sections in both of the guidelines about how to apply and a checklist of things that the applicants might want to go through. These are common to both and just going through them: step one is to use the checklist in section 8 of the guidelines for both of those guidelines in Category One and Category Two. Step two is to talk to the program team about your proposed activity and the partnership. You can email us at Study Melbourne and we will get back to you to discuss your proposal or any of the questions you may have. Step 3 is looking at making sure you plan and check the opening and closing dates for the funding rounds - make sure that you plan ahead, give yourself enough time to actually prepare your application and supporting documents. Step 4 is register - you need to register on the Business Victoria site so that you can actually access the submission portal. It's easy to set up an account and there are steps in the information on the website. Step 5 is looking at writing and making sure that you complete all of the information or the questions.

Patrick Moriarty And don't leave blank spaces.

Vittoria Mancini No, in fact, the portal form is set up so that you do you need to complete quite a few of the questions, most are mandatory, before you can actually progress.

Patrick Moriarty That's great. So particularly with the next step, a really important part of providing evidence, we we really want to make sure that people actually understand, and it's a little prompt to us to actually inform everybody that there will be another webinar next week that looks specifically at successful submission writing. One of the areas we'll be covering pretty closely with that is you gathering evidence to support your argument. So we really encourage people to check in next week.

Vittoria, do you want to keep going with that.

Vittoria Mancini  Sure, step 6 in this process is really around that providing evidence. We encourage people to prepare the necessary supporting documents that have to be uploaded at the end of the application form. An activity plan is, in fact, part of your application form, so it's within your form but you may want to do some that thinking about your activity and the planning for it on a separate document so that you can cut and paste into your application. An activity budget and expenditure plan - this will identify all the costs of your activity and the cash and/or in-kind contributions from your organisation or any partners. For Category One, this is included in your portal application. For Category Two, just be aware that you need to download the form on the Business Victoria website, complete it and then include it as an attachment to your application.

We are asking for information about insurance, showing how your organisation will have the necessary insurance to cover the activity you are wishing to undertake. For applications that are seeking more than $10,000 in funding, you will be required to provide copies of your organisation's financial reports for the last two financial years.

Partnership documents for Category Two - we are looking for letters of support from each of the partners and/or copies of written agreements or partnership agreements so that it actually details what the roles, responsibilities and contributions of each of the partners will be. You are able to provide other information to support your application as well. You may wish to provide some information about the methodology that might help the panel understand more about your proposal and capacity to deliver.

Patrick Moriarty So, we will keep going.

Vittoria Mancini  Prior to submitting your portal application, we just say check again and then submit.

Patrick Moriarty  Vittoria, you've got a couple of helpful hints that you had mentioned, particularly around the lead applicants for those Categories Two sessions.

Vittoria Mancini  In regards to the Category Two, the application must be submitted in the name of the lead applicant. So that's the organisation with the main coordinating role in the partnership. You only need to provide contact details for the lead applicant in the application form. That's important to remember.

In the application, you will be asked for the names of the activity partners but the application details are in regard to the lead applicant. We suggest that you draft your response to the question in a separate document, then cut and paste your prepared answers into the fields in the online template. That will reduce the risk of losing your information in the online template. It also means you can refer back to your application in your own time. If a questions does not apply to your activity or situation you must clearly explained that in your response. As I said, most fields are mandatory.

You can always contact Study Melbourne if you're having difficulties with your application, either uploading documents or you have a question, or are unable to fill in any of the questions. We are always happy to help.

Patrick Moriarty That's really good advice, Vittoria. We are now assuming that people have gone through that process, they've got submission in, they've hit submit. What happens next?

Vittoria Mancini The Study Melbourne program staff will review your application to make sure that your organisation's proposed activity is eligible for funding under the ISW program. This will include checking supporting documents and conducting reference checks and a risk assessment, where applicable. That is for those requesting over $10,000 of funding. A panel will then consider all the eligible applications and will review applications individually, compare them with the value and benefits offered by other applications, develop a list of applications they recommend to be approved subject to funding being available.

I just want stress that it is a competitive process. Recommended applications will be considered for funding approval. Each applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application and successful applicants will receive a letter of offer.

Patrick Moriarty That's really great that that process is so rigorous and obviously with it being state government funding, we've got requirements of probity to make sure that monies and the process are assessed in a correct manner. That will obviously take a little bit of time. How long were you actually talking about in terms of that process?

Vittoria Mancini We envisage the process will take between 6-8 weeks for Category One and between 8-12 weeks for Category Two.

Patrick Moriarty Great, so for those that are successful, they'll obviously get a letter. Let's look at what the assessment panel would actually be looking for in trying to work out what would be a really successful application.

Vittoria Mancini As you can see from this slide there are four criteria and I refer our potential applicants to the guidelines for details - it's page 11 of the guidelines for Category One and page 12 of the guidelines for Category Two.

I'll just run through those four criteria and provide a little bit more information about some the questions the panel may consider when we're making me making the assessment.

The first one: Are the lead applicant's activity partners capable of delivering the activity. The panel may consider the resources and experience that the applicant has to deliver the activity, manage the funding and report on the progress and outcomes. We'll be looking at things like whether the applicant has delivered similar activities in the past and experience with the international education sector and working with international students.

The second criteria: Will the proposed activity support the wellbeing of international students in Victoria and is it an appropriate response to their needs? Key things that the panel may consider include the evidence about the wellbeing issues being addressed and whether there's any service gap and also why the proposed approach is being suggested. We are also looking at the immediate as well as long-term benefits for international students in Victoria.

The third criteria: Is the proposed activity of a high quality? The panel may consider a range of things here, including the details in the activity plan and in the budget and expenditure plan. We're looking at whether the proposal is cost effective and offers good value for money. And again, looking at long-term benefits for Victoria's international education sector.

The fourth criteria: How will the proposed activity engage with and involve Victorian based international students? This is quite important - as important as the other three. But it's one that we are looking at in detail in terms of:

How does the proposal lead to genuine involvement of international students in the design, delivery and evaluation of the activity?' Will it be delivered across more than one education provider and will it have reach into regional centers?

Patrick Moriarty That's really good advice. To the people listening in, if you're looking at those sort of programs to try and deliver, it's a good idea to imagine the panel sitting on the other end of your application.

Again, that's really good advice to make sure that you've covered off on some of those components at least. So, what happens once you're successful? How does that process actually work?

Vittoria Mancini If you're approved, your organisation will be sent a formal letter of offer. You'll have two weeks to accept the offer to enter into a legal funding agreement with the State of Victoria through the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, which is the department that we work for. The funding agreement will set out there agreed terms and conditions, how and when you'll receive the funding and what you will be expected to achieve in return for the funding. The funding agreement will be between the applicant for Category One or the lead applicant and the State of Victoria and DEDJTR (our department) for Category Two.

If you have activity partners, they won't be party to the funding agreement. They won't need to sign the funding agreement although you may be asked to provide some supporting documents from the partners as part of the application process. And we are also asking for information about the partnership arrangements or agreement.

You'll have 12 months from the date of the funding agreement to deliver the activity. In exceptional circumstances, the department may agree to allow a longer timeframe to complete the activity and may consider multi-year funding, particularly for Category Two.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, so that letter of offer, in effect, and subsequent funding agreement set out all of the obligations that the applicant is required to follow. That sort of makes that a contract, doesn't it?

Vittoria Mancini Yes, as part of the funding agreement, if the applicant doesn't or can't deliver what they've applied to deliver, they should contact us straight away. We don't want to get into a situation where the organisation suddenly decides to do something that was not approved and without our permission. We have the right to request funds to be returned if that's the case.

Patrick Moriarty And that's something that from our experience, we've seen people suddenly get the feeling that once they've been given this money, they think they can do what they want with it. It's clearly outlined in your funding agreement what what you can and can't use that funding for. So we really advise people to stick to what they've submitted and if they want to try and change that, they should really make sure that they've got the approval of Study Melbourne before they actually go down that path.

Vittoria, we've talked a little bit about what will happen if people are successful. What if they're not successful? Will they get advice?

Vittoria Mancini Yes, they'll receive a notice that they've been unsuccessful.

The decision of the panel is final and applicants can contact Study Melbourne for feedback, if they wish.

Patrick Moriarty So, you're not actually able to challenge the decision, there's no appeals process and decisions final but you can try to find out some tips and advice for the next round.

So do the successful applicants have any sort of reporting or acquittal requirements post them receiving the money?

Vittoria Mancini Yes, as part of the funding agreement, they must provide a report about the activity and the expenditure - that will be detailed in their agreement. So that's really important for us to think about.

Patrick Moriarty For a lot of the organisations out there who may have people that come and go from their organisation. Making sure that they've got some way of knowing, you know in a couple months time, that someone has actually tracked that process and haven't forgotten about that reporting requirement when maybe the person who pulled all of it together and has maybe led some of it but has actually moved on. So, don't forget you will have will have those reporting and acquittal requirements, and recognise that in most contexts, if you don't report and acquit funding, from an agency's perspective that that agency will probably not be able to apply in the future for that same grant round unless you do go back and report and acquit that. That's a really important point to think about, in that case.

Ok, so that pretty much winds it up for today. We're going to look at some further information and advice. Vittoria, you've got some websites listed there that will be really helpful to applicants.

Vittoria Mancini Yes, these two links will be very useful for anyone who's thinking of preparing a grant application and, as mentioned, you can also contact Study Melbourne if you have any questions about the program.

The Business Victoria website provides up-to-date information about the ISW Program including dates for the funding rounds, information webinars and a link to the online application forms and templates. The Business Victoria website will also have information, frequently asked questions pages and 10 top tips for being able to fill in your application forms.

The Study Melbourne website also provides information for international students in Victoria, including information about our other support programs and the government's international education sector strategy for 2016. It provides a link back Business Victoria as well.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, well that pretty much sums it up and we've got a couple of questions that have come in now so if you are listening in and there are other questions you'd really like to ask, please get them in now. We've got about 15-20 minutes available for questions.

Vittoria, the first one we've got is from Angela, who asks for examples of student organisations or associations. Have you got any advice on that?

Vittoria Mancini Well, any student organisation or association has to fulfil the criteria that we have already explained. For the Category One eligibility, we are asking for a student organisation or association that meets their criteria to also demonstrate that they have a membership for international students. So they don't necessarily have to be the international student group but they have to be a student organisation or association that represents international students.

Other student groups that we know have met our criteria in the past and that were previously funded under the previous guidelines include Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS), the Council of International Students Australia (CISA). So they're two examples.

Patrick Moriarty And it could well be that the campus representative of an organisation such as the Chinese Students Association of RMIT or something like that. But recognising that, as Vittoria has already said, in terms of that Category One requirement, you do need to be a legal entity and that's why I stressed at the start that you do need to be incorporated, you need to have an ABN, you have to have been operating for at least two years and, as Vittoria's already outlined, that you have some form of membership base of international students living in Victoria. Don't forget that lovely little thing called insurance.

So, there's a couple of aspects that you can look at.

Diana, I believe that you've got a question there from someone.

Diana Crvenkovic I sure do, I have a question from efficient from Crystal. Thanks for your question Crystal which is, are applications able to target specific cohorts of students or must it be open?

Absolutely, you can put forward applications that do target specific cohorts. We just encourage you to consider the broader policy imperatives we have with this program and some of the requirements for the different categories of funding in what the panel will be looking at. So it's really critical to consider, if you are looking at a cohort specific application, what are the issues faced by that student cohort? Can you explain that to the department and perhaps provide some evidence around that? And, how will the actions that you're proposing in your activity plan respond to those issues? But certainly, we've had a number of successful applications in the previous pilot program that focused on student cohorts either in a specific geographic area, students of a specific country of origin or students in particular interest area. So that might've been around workplace issues, safety issues or mental health issues, etc

Patrick Moriarty Great. I believe that Vittoria, you have a question there.

Vittoria Mancini Yes, Sarah's asked about clarifying the timing of the phases. Is phase two expected to take 8-12 weeks after the closing dates of phase one?

So, just to clarify, Sarah. The Category One assessment process, we expect totake 6-8 weeks and Category Two will take 8-12 weeks. I hope that that's clear that that actually means from the closing date to notification.

Patrick Moriarty I think maybe what Sarah's saying there is does Category One take 6-8 weeks and then is there another process after that for Category Two. The two of them are running concurrently so regardless of whether you're applying for Category One, Category Two or both, the process will be running concurrently.

So, another question from Sarah again is, Hhw often are you required to report or is that basically a one-off requirement?

Vittoria Mancini That depends on the category of funding and on the funding agreement and also the nature of the project. At the moment, we are looking at Category Two reporting for up to $75,000 grant projects that may be completed within a 12-month period, we are looking at reporting twice. So having a mid-period progress report and then a final report. For the Category One, we would be depending again on the nature of the actual project. We would expect that there will probably only be a final report. However, that depends on the nature of the actual project.

Patrick Moriarty Great. So do we have any other questions there? I think there was a question about funding of existing staff.

Diana Crvenkovic I might have a go at that and I'm sure Vittoria might have some thoughts as well. So, on an earlier slide, we did say that the program would not fund salaries for existing staff. The important word there is "existing staff". So what we're not looking to do is offset the costs of existing staff delivering existing programs. Where your organisation is looking to either appoint new staff specifically to deliver the activity that you're looking for funding for or extend the hours or time or resources of the staff that you currently have to specifically deliver this program. That is eligible for funding and that is something that you can apply for. You should also consider, I guess, in terms of in-kind contributions specifically for the Category Two projects, the additional time of other staff in the organisation that might be required to support the project.

The FAQs that we have available around the program do provide some additional information on this and we are looking for a reasonable estimation of what those additional staffing hours might be. As well as a reasonable allocation of what that cost or that in-kind contribution might be.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, we've got another question here about whether a student group or association has to be one of the formal partners? Could someone take that one.

Vittoria Mancini Yes, I can take that one. In this instance, we're talking about Category Two because Category One have to be. So in Category Two, a student group or association does not have to be a formal partner to the project. As in, have a partnership agreement with the lead applicant. However, as part of both categories of funding, we are seeking information and we're seeking applications that demonstrate how international students will be involved in the design, delivery and review of the activities. So even if they're not a formal partner, we are looking for activities that will be including international students in the delivery.

Patrick Moriarty That's great. Taking that a little step further, we've already touched briefly about a partnership being between two organisations. Is there any other way that you could better describe what a partnership would be or what you think are the traits of a good partnership in terms of this funding submission?

Vittoria Mancini Ok, when we're talking about a partnership, we're looking for arrangements between organisations that are clearly spelt out so that we're (DEDJTR) clear in terms of the roles and responsibilities of each of the partnership organisations involved in the delivery of the activity. So we're looking for some sort of information, formal advice around that. So, as we said, we are looking for partnership agreement information to be uploaded as part of applications. We are also looking for information about how people will jointly deliver an activity.

That's the key for us - we need to know how they are going to work together to deliver the activity.

Patrick Moriarty From our perspective, one of the things that we've seen in the past is people just putting down other organisations, saying they're partners. When, in fact, there's no agreement for that to actually occur. So one of the things that we strongly recommend for any applicant is to, in effect, put it down in writing and have some form of formal partnership agreement that clearly outlines who is doing what type of activity, when they are doing it, and for how much. This is because that becomes really important in terms of demonstrating credibility. So I really encourage people to think about that.

Vittoria Mancini I think it's very important too, to emphasise needing to identify any co-contributions as part of the partnership agreement as well.

Patrick Moriarty Ok, so again, moving back to those in-kind contributions that can be really valuable.

Vittoria Mancini That’s right

Patrick Moriarty Ok, so we've got one more more question.

Diana Crvenkovic Sure, this one is from Brian. Thanks for your question Brian, which is, Can we apply for funding for an already existing program even if the program for 2017 has not started yet?

So, I understand the questions really about you running a program in the past but you haven't run it yet for 2017.

There's no issue in a program having to be completely new for us to consider funding it. So if it is something that you have run in the past and wish to run again, that is something that we will consider.

Part of our questions would be: has the funding already been committed for this, what and how does the project align with the things we are looking for more broadly within the program, and that really needs to be taken into consideration.

So that might require, it depends on a program, but it might require you to have a think about whether the program needs any tweaking to better align with the funding requirements under the International Student Welfare Program.

We have with us today a number of education providers. Education providers, I think, are a really important class of applicants for this program. Something that, if you are an education provider, you do need to consider is the exclusions around the funding for this program, which one of them relates to activities designed to offset the costs of existing operations or to meet regulatory requirements. This is something that has been tricky in the past and is looking at the projects that would normally have been funded by education providers in the past or that relate to a provider's regulatory obligations, potentially under the ESOS Act, which is really there to support the wellbeing of international students. So your role there in applying for this funding is to provide evidence of how this program aligns with our objectives but really goes above and beyond those regulatory requirements. That's something that we need to see articulated.

Patrick Moriarty That's great. I don't think we have any further questions so maybe just a reminder that next Wednesday at the same time, 12 noon, we will be holding another webinar focusing a little bit more specifically about, not just the International Student Welfare Program, but we will be using a lot of the advice that we've gained today as well as information from the guidelines to further expand that. And for those people that haven't written grant applications before, a little bit about how to write a successful grant application, what grant makers are actually looking for.

So if you're inexperienced or want to improve, please register and join us again. You can see in front of you, the same process that you've had today will apply and you can just click on that link and register, if you like. That will give you an idea of the key things that all funding bodies will look for and help you prepare for grant writing. We will also be providing you with a handy little template that you can start to build to help your organisation better manage that hand-over process that we mentioned before. It will also help you win grants generally, not just from Study Melbourne.

So I realise that we're going to finish a little bit early but rather than have you hold online and for me to just pad things out, I'd really like thank you for joining us today.

And just a final reminder that if you could complete the short survey that's going to pop up as you leave the webinar, your feedback will really help make future webinars even better. We really appreciate your time today. So please complete that short survey. It won't take too long and it will really help us. Thanks again for joining us and we look forward to catching you next week.


Return to the International Student Welfare Program page.