34 CFR 663.21 - 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 importance in terms of the concerns of the discipline;
(3) The preliminary research already completed or plans for 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 with scholars and officials of the host country or countries and the American scholarly community; and
(6) The objectives of the project regarding the sponsoring institution's plans for developing or strengthening, or both, curricula in modern foreign languages and area studies.
(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 applicant's academic record (teaching, research, contributions, professional association activities);
(2) The applicant's excellence as a teacher or researcher, or both, in his or her area or areas of specialization;
(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 previous overseas experience, or documentation provided by the sponsoring institution, or both.
(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 East Asia or Latvia;
(ii) An academic discipline, such as history or political science;
(iii) A language, such as Hausa or Telegu; or
(iv) A topic, such as religious fundamentalism or migration.