Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
These FAQs relate to strategic partnerships between UK and Afghanistan,
Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. If you are applying for INSPIRE partnerships
for Pakistan, please see separate FAQs here.
We encourage prospective applicants to read Guidelines when preparing their
application. If you do not find your answer below, please contact INSPIRE team
Q1. Do you accept applications throughout the year?
No, applications are accepted only when call for applications is made. Please see
the deadline for submission of proposals for your country or partner country in the
guidelines provided on the website.
Q2. Who can submit project proposals to INSPIRE Strategic Partnerships?
The programme is open to all Higher Education Institutions in the UK and
government recognised HEI institutions (public or private) in Afghanistan,
Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
Q3. A project from my organization has already been funded in a previous
INSPIRE funding round. Can I submit an application for this round?
Yes, universities with existing links currently being funded by the British Council,
or DFID are welcome to apply. However, they should not originate in the same
department within the universities, and must clearly demonstrate the new areas
to be funded and how the current funding would be ring-fenced. If funding has
expired at the time of application, this restriction does not apply.
Q4. Are there a minimum / maximum number of people allowed on each
No, but the team needs to be able to demonstrate that it will be able to
deliver the required outcomes in the most effective way.
Q5. Are networks (of local NGOs) eligible for INSPIRE funding?
No, NGOs are ineligible to apply. Only educational institutions can submit
Q6. Can an institution submit multiple applications under an INSPIRE round
of funding? If yes, is there any limit to the number of applications that an
institution can submit?
Yes, multiple proposals can be accepted by institutions, but they must be from
different departments within the institutions. There is no limit on the number of
Q7. What is the normal duration of INSPIRE partnerships?
All partnerships are funded for three years. Partnerships should submit 3-year
proposals. If your project is successful, 12 months funding will be released in the
first instance. Progress of the partnership will be reviewed after one year against
plans and criteria; further funding for subsequent years will be awarded on this
Q8. What are the priority types of expenditures and activities? Is there any
funding limit on each budget head?
The primary purpose of the funding is to promote institution-to-institution
cooperative projects with the emphasis on funding staff and student mobility.
Where appropriate, these include periods of research and / or academic
exchange in the partner institution. Please refer to section 7 in the guidelines for
details on activities that can be funded.
Q9. Where can I find information on previous INSPIRE partnerships?
You can contact a member of British Council team in your country or email
Q10. Can proposals involve multiple partners?
Yes, partnerships may be one-to-one or consortia. All partnerships must include
Q11. How will funds be disbursed between partners?
Grants payments for Bangladesh and Uzbekistan will be split between both
partners, according to the split as given in the financial proposal, with payment
being made by the British Council. Grants for Afghanistan will be made solely to
the UK partner on behalf of the strategic partnership.
Q12. Is an applicant entitled to use INSPIRE funding to pay for institutional
INSPIRE funding can only be utilised for institutional support if it contributes to
achieving the project goals e.g. essential equipments for the project, books etc. It
may be considered to fund Administrative costs in HE Institutions up to £1,000
per year. The INSPIRE funding cannot be used to pay for staff costs, and
institutional overheads. Please refer to guidelines section 7 for details (Activities
that the funding will cover).
Q13. What are the minimum and the maximum budget amounts for an
There is no minimum budget limit. For Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, the maximum
award for a bilateral institution-to-institution partnership is £15,000 per annum
and for Afghanistan, the maximum award is £10,000 per annum. However,
project’s impact will be considered in selection. Complex, larger scale projects
which involve a larger number of institutions or countries may bid for an award up
to a maximum of £30,000
Q14. Can a project be co-funded? If the submitted project is co-financed,
should these costs be included in the budget?
Yes, the project can be co-funded, but your proposal should contain details on
the exact nature & amount of this funding, the donor organisation and the
anticipated time frame. Also, the proposal should clearly indicate how the
INSPIRE funding is to be used and how it will be ring-fenced.
Q15. Does my institution keep unspent funding at the end of the project?
No. All unspent funds must be returned to British Council at the end of the
Q16. What are the reporting requirements for a project?
Each partnership is required to submit to the British Council a short mid-year
‘health-check’ report, an end-of-year report and a final report on completion of the
project. These will be both technical and financial; the items to be covered will be
specified at the time of finalising the contract.
Q17. Can I get any support for writing my application?
The British Council is organising proposal guidance workshops for all interested
applicants in all eligible countries. Please contact your local British Council office
for exact dates and timings.
Proposal writing webinars for applicants from UK higher education institutions will
be held in June 2010. Exact dates for the webinars will be announced shortly.
Q18. Is it compulsory to send in a draft proposal to the British Council
before the deadline in order to attend the proposal guidance workshops?
No, it is not compulsory to submit a draft proposal before the workshop. You can
come to the workshop with your draft proposal. However, we would advise you to
submit it beforehand so that the British Council team can prepare in advance to
address specific issues in ordered to get the most from the workshop.
Q19. How do I submit my application?
Download application forms on the British Council INSPIRE website at
Electronic copies of completed applications should be submitted to
firstname.lastname@example.org and hard copies to your local British Council office. In
the UK applications should be sent to the British Council in Manchester.
Applications should be addressed to INSPIRE, HE coordinator.
Please ensure that the application has been signed and supported by the head of
institution or their delegated representative.
Q20. Can I submit additional documents to strengthen my application?
There is no need to submit additional documents. All the information required is
provided in the application form.
Q21. What happens when I have submitted an application?
All proposals will go through an initial sift process for compliance with INSPIRE
eligibility criteria and project goals, this will be carried out by an internal team.
Applications will then be sent to the independent peer reviewers. Successful
applicants will then be referred to an Evaluation Panel comprising independent
UK and country partner professionals. The Evaluation Panel will make
recommendations to the INSPIRE Project Board whose decision on funding will
Q22. How will my application be assessed?
Details of the scorecard are available on the INSPIRE website.
Q23. How can I find out about the status of my application?
You will be contacted by British Council office by end of September 2010 and
informed as to the success or otherwise of your application.