Application > GUIDELINES


1.1 Objectives and scope

Grants provided by the Partner University Fund support research and graduate education partnerships between French and American Universities with emphasis placed on novel, innovative and, interdisciplinary projects.

Applicants are expected to develop new or more thorough partnerships through deep collaboration. The PUF Grant Review Committee values evidence of institutional commitment to the development of joint or dual degrees even when the partnership starts with shared teaching and research exchanges.

PUF seeks to fund research and graduate education projects in all disciplines without exception.

Each host institution should be deeply committed to making the stay of guest students and faculty as pleasant and accommodating as possible. Any local funding found to achieve this will be greatly appreciated by the PUF Grant Review Committee. Creation of additional collaborations with surrounding research labs and institutions outside the initial host campus will also be highly regarded, as well as the creation of consortia among partner institutions.

1.2 Eligibility

Only French and American not-for-profit institutions of higher education and/or research may submit applications to the Fund. Institutions must be accredited by the relevant authorities (typically, ministries in France, accredited agencies or regional authorities in the United States). Not-for-profit research institutions that are not officially linked to universities, such as the National laboratories in the United States, INRA or INSERM in France, may also apply to PUF. Other organizations, sponsors or companies may be part of the overall partnership, as well as universities from other countries. Only the lead institutions are allowed to receive grants from PUF. No grants are allocated to individuals.

American institutions must demonstrate either their 501(c)(3) status granted by the IRS, or provide other relevant documents indicating their non-for-profit status as in the case of State Universities. French organizations must provide proof of equivalent status for eligibility. Proof of eligibility for each institution should be submitted electronically along with the application form.

Projects must be submitted jointly by the partnering institutions. A “letter of intent” or “letter of endorsement” from the President, Chancellor, Head of the International Relations Office, Provost or any comparable representative must be submitted by each institution, together with the application form. These documents are mandatory but can be submitted online by January 31, 2013.

Projects that do not satisfy the eligibility criteria will not be submitted for exterior evaluation and will not in any case receive funding from PUF.

1.3 Duration of PUF financial support and project monitoring

The Fund allocates annual grants, but because 3-year projects are encouraged, grantees may receive consecutive annual grants subject to annual review. A concise vision statement on the planned evolution of the partnership over the 3 years is included in the application form to allow for monitoring and evaluation.

Partners must provide a progress report by July 1st every year explaining the developments of the partnership in the preceding year in relation to the planned evolution suggested in the initial application.

Based on these reports, as well as ongoing discussion with grantees and possible site visits, the executive director of PUF submits to the Grant Review Committee a formal request to authorize the renewal of the grant for the following year and possibly adjust the level of funding, within the limits indicated in the initial application. This renewal offers the opportunity to qualitatively adapt PUF support to unforeseen evolutions of the partnership since the initial set up of the grant.

1.4 PUF and the Chateaubriand fellowships

Partners whose project includes Ph.D. and post-doctoral students’ mobility from the United States to France are encouraged to support the application of their respective student(s) to the Ph.D mobility Chateaubriand program in the humanities and the sciences, and to so indicate in their PUF proposal.

Chateaubriand fellowships can therefore be considered as an additional source of funding for PUF partnerships, beyond the annual limit of 80,000.00 USD (or 160,000.00 USD for projects in Humanities) per partnership.


2.1 Program coordinators/Principal investigators (PI)

Each partnership must be led by a program coordinator in each of the two lead universities/institutions. This person will be responsible for planning and coordinating the partnership. Only persons holding a Ph.D. are eligible to be named PI.
Once a partnership is awarded a grant by PUF Grant Review Committee, the two coordinators will serve as the liaison with PUF regarding administrative and financial follow-ups of the grants.

2.2 Number of persons involved in a PUF partnership

The PUF Grant Review Committee will encourage partnerships that involve over time a growing number of students and/or faculty, according to the cases. Involvement may present itself in different ways: physical mobility of students and faculty, distance learning initiatives, etc.


3.1. Amount of award

Thanks to the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation PUF funds up to 60% of the cost of a project in the Humanities to a limit of 160,000.00 USD annually per project. In all other fields, PUF funds up to 30% of the project cost in a limit of 80,000.00 USD annually per project over the course of three consecutive years, pending yearly review of progress.

Partner institutions are therefore required to bring “in kind” and “in cash” contributions that are not inferior to 40% of the project cost for the projects in Humanities and 70% for other field’s projects of the cost of the partnership. The relative shares of “in kind” and cash contributions are not specified by PUF.

PUF and the Mellon Foundation seek to encourage project proposals in the fields of the Hmanities. In the absence of a standard conception, we define Humanities as those academic disciplines that study the human condition through the experience of human subjects, both individual and collective, using methods of analysis and interpretation that characterize much of the work in such academic fields as classics, history, art history, literature, musicology, and philosophy—which is to say, fields that are commonly distinguished from the natural and social sciences by the breadth and variety of perspectives they mobilize, by the assertion of moral and aesthetic values that they ascribe to humanity, and by their insistence on framing statistical analyses of empirical data with narrative accounts of human experience. Examples of the fields or disciplines embraced by the Humanities include the study of ancient and modern languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, the visual arts, the performing arts (music, theater, film, dance), as well as some dimensions of anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, and linguistics. In cases in which the lines separating the Humanities and the social sciences are blurred, the final selection committee will determine which laureate projects are eligible for the higher level of funding enabled by the grant from the Mellon Foundation.

PUF operates in U.S. dollars. While payments may be requested in Euros, the amount in that currency will be determined by the exchange rate against the U.S. dollar at the time of each transfer (and thus may vary for each annual payment).

3.2 Use of funds

Project costs are defined as the new additional costs linked to the project submitted to PUF.

The funds provided by PUF are not intended to either replace or supplement funds available for current domestic programs; they are to be used specifically to support the partnership submitted to PUF.

Institutions must provide the facilities and equipment necessary for the implementation of the partnership. However, if additional equipment is essential to the implementation of research (consumables in a lab for instance or an additional computer) or teaching partnerships. (Videoconferencing equipment for instance), it may be provided under the grant. Section 4 gives more precise information about allowable and unallowable uses of PUF funds.

Laureate institutions are expected to maintain a complete tracking of all expenditures from the PUF award. Such financial follow-up is expected as part of the annual progress report made by the partners. On a case by case basis, the Grant Review Committee may allow partnerships to keep part or the totality of unused funds for the following year, based on the revised action plan presented by the project coordinators.

3.3 Method of payment

If an award is made by PUF, the distribution of funds will be decided with the two coordinators and contracts will be drafted and signed to this effect between the partner universities and the FACE Foundation that is legally in charge of the financial management of PUF.

The funds will be transferred by PUF either to one single partner who will then transfer the amount due to the other partner, or to both partners based on the amount they agreed upon previously.


PUF grants can only be used towards new expenses specifically linked to the partnership. PUF grants can be used to fund the following expenses.
4.1 Equipment

The purchase of equipment is allowed when essential for the new collaboration which is proposed.

Distance learning initiatives may, for instance, require the purchase of necessary equipment. The purchase of equipment to supplement current domestic programs is not allowed.

4.2 Services

PUF funds may be used to pay for consulting services and computer services, including rental fees.

4.3 Salaries

PUF cannot fund coordinators or principal investigators for their work in setting up partnerships. PUF will not fund the work of permanent administrative staff (such as secretaries or program assistants) involved in PUF partnerships. PUF cannot fund faculty permanent teaching obligations even when that partner institution’s students benefit from it.

Expenses listed earlier may, however, when specifically dedicated to the project, be considered as “in kind” contributions from the partner universities as part of the 70% co-financing that they need to bring to the project.

Salaries can be paid using funds from the PUF grant in the case of research and teaching assistants that are specially hired for the purpose of the partnership, either in a research or technical capacity (post-doctoral scientists, graduate students, technicians) or in a teaching capacity (language assistants, tutors helping students involved in distance learning activities, etc).

4.4 Communication, publishing and coordination expenses

Expenses made for the purpose of setting up or coordinating the partnership (joint meetings of team members, fees for participation in conferences) are allowed as well as expenses aimed at promoting the different facets of the partnership (flyers, etc.).

Publishing expenses, for instance in the case of joint research (editing, translating and publishing) or training (teaching material) are allowed.

4.5 Travel, living and housing expenses

Because mobility is a key tool to nurture partnerships, PUF allows expenses associated with the travel and living expenses of faculty, students and post-doctoral fellows as long as they remain within the limits of the general principles expressed in the introduction.

In line with the local context, and in accordance with local laws and regulations, institutions may mobilize funds in different ways while always respecting the central principle of shouldering only the costs associated with the specific project.

4.6 Unallowable expenses

No general overhead or administrative costs may be charged by participating institutions to the PUF Grant.

Overhead costs shouldered by a partner may, however, be considered as part of the 70% co-financing brought by the partners within the limits established by the PUF board.


The Grant Review Committee is sovereign in its evaluation of projects. The evaluation process emphasizes three major dimensions. First, the scientific quality and relevance of the partnership. Second, the impact and value added by the partnership on the participating institutions, as well as on the broader community. Third, the level of participant preparation and the quality of project planning. At a more detailed level, the following dimensions have been underlined by the Grant Review Committee and the PUF board, in a non-limitative method:

5.1 Scientific excellence of the host teams, scientific pertinence of the shared or complementary curricula and/or research.

Each project coordinator must present its team members and their scientific achievements in concise resumes without lengthy lists of publications, but with current research activities.

Each partner’s program, whether at the master’s, doctoral or postdoctoral levels, should list the coursework being offered and exchanged in clear, well defined sections corresponding to the time spent in residency by the student on the host campus. The credit equivalencies should also be clearly stated as well as any corresponding qualification units in doctoral exchanges.

5.2 Evidence of institutional commitment and sustainability of the partnership over the long-haul.

The partnership should be regarded as a long-term project, well beyond the initial three years of support given by PUF. A concise vision statement on the planned evolution of the partnership over the three years should be included in the project summary and progress reports at the end of each year and will be requested by the Fund to ensure the sustainability of each project.

5.3 Number of students and faculty in exchange mode.

The Partner University Fund aims at both a qualitative and a quantitative development of the partnership. The PUF Grant Review Committee will therefore discourage partnerships in which numbers of students and faculty exchanged at the master’s level are below three students each way.

At the doctoral level, a single student in exchange each way will not be construed by the Grant Review Committee as an institutional partnership, but rather as a doctoral grant, which is not the mission of the Fund.

The exchange of faculty is essential to the dynamic evolution of partnerships. Exchange faculties bring new ideas and teaching methods to the partnering institution. They help identify those students better adapted to a creative partnership both ways.

5.4 Joint or Dual Degree.

PUF encourages the establishment of joint and dual degree programs when relevant within the context of the partnership.

5.5 Management of mobility.

Funding arrangements facilitating the living and working conditions of visiting students will be appreciated by the PUF Grant Review Committee (student stipends, teaching assistant positions, research assistant positions, etc.).

5.6 Broadening of the collaboration.

The creation of additional collaboration with surrounding research labs and institutions outside the initial host campus will also be greatly appreciated, as well as the creation of consortia of partner institutions.

5.7 Additional local funding and fund raising.

Depending on the discipline, the partnership should be able to generate interest from local sponsors, enterprises, institutional funds other than the PUF Fund. The PUF Grant Review Committee will appreciate any leads to additional funding to which PUF can give moral and institutional support both in France and the U.S.