34 CFR 662.21 - What criteria does the Secretary use to evaluate an application for a fellowship?
(a) General. The Secretary evaluates an application for a fellowship on the basis of the criteria in this section. The Secretary informs applicants of the maximum possible score for each criterion in the application package or in a notice published in the Federal Register.
(b) Quality of proposed project. The Secretary reviews each application to determine the quality of the research project proposed by the applicant. The Secretary considers -
(1) The statement of the major hypotheses to be tested or questions to be examined, and the description and justification of the research methods to be used;
(2) The relationship of the research to the literature on the topic and to major theoretical issues in the field, and the project's originality and importance in terms of the concerns of the discipline;
(3) The preliminary research already completed in the United States and overseas or plans for such research prior to going overseas, and the kinds, quality and availability of data for the research in the host country or countries;
(4) The justification for overseas field research and preparations to establish appropriate and sufficient research contacts and affiliations abroad;
(5) The applicant's plans to share the results of the research in progress and a copy of the dissertation with scholars and officials of the host country or countries; and
(6) The guidance and supervision of the dissertation advisor or committee at all stages of the project, including guidance in developing the project, understanding research conditions abroad, and acquainting the applicant with research in the field.
(c) Qualifications of the applicant. The Secretary reviews each application to determine the qualifications of the applicant. The Secretary considers -
(1) The overall strength of the applicant's graduate academic record;
(2) The extent to which the applicant's academic record demonstrates strength in area studies relevant to the proposed project;
(3) The applicant's proficiency in one or more of the languages (other than English and the applicant's native language) of the country or countries of research, and the specific measures to be taken to overcome any anticipated language barriers; and
(4) The applicant's ability to conduct research in a foreign cultural context, as evidenced by the applicant's references or previous overseas experience, or both.
(d) Priorities. (1) The Secretary determines the extent to which the application responds to any priority that the Secretary establishes for the selection of fellows in any fiscal year. The Secretary announces any priorities in an application notice published in the Federal Register.
(2) Priorities may relate to certain world areas, countries, academic disciplines, languages, topics, or combinations of any of these categories. For example, the Secretary may establish a priority for -
(i) A specific geographic area or country, such as the Caribbean or Poland;
(ii) An academic discipline, such as economics or political science;
(iii) A language, such as Tajik or Indonesian; or
(iv) A topic, such as public health issues or the environment.