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ESF Funding Opportunity: University Partnership
April 10, 2012

Issuance Date:  Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Closing Date:  Wednesday May 23, 2012
Closing Time:  16:00 local Tunis time (11 AM EST)

Subject:  US –Tunisian University collaboration in fields related to:

  1. American Accounting Standards;
  2. Comprehensive Community College Concept
  3. Integrated Agricultural Projects;
  4. Innovative Tourism Concepts;
  5. Implementation of the U.S. Academic System.

The United States Embassy/Tunis is planning to support higher education partnerships with Tunisian Higher Institutes to establish programs described below.

A higher education partnership would include but is not limited to:

  • Exchanges of faculty and experts
  • Creation of knowledge centers
  • Building a library of relevant materials
  • Joint market research by collaborating faculty
  • Support for student innovation projects

Eligible Applicants:

This RFA is designed to support U.S. academic institutions that seek to engage with higher education institutions in Tunisia. (Eligible Applicants: All members of the American Council on Education (ACE), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), and other regionally accredited, degree-granting, U.S. higher education institutions).  Applicant institutions with previous project or exchange experience in Tunisia and/or in North Africa are preferred.

Selected recipients will be responsible for ensuring achievement of program objectives that enhance mutual, fully collaborative relationships between Tunisian and U.S. higher education institutions and their public and private sector partners in both countries. 

It is USG policy not to award profit under assistance instruments.  However, all reasonable, allocable, and allowable expenses, both direct and indirect, which are related to the program and are in accordance with applicable cost standards (22 CFR 226, OMB Circular A-21 for universities, and the Federal Acquisition Regulation  Part 31 for for-profit organizations), may be paid under the award.

Subject to the availability of funds, US Embassy Tunis plans to provide up to $250,000 in Economic Support Funds (ESF) for each partnership stated above not to exceed two years, but with the possibility of no-cost limited extensions. The US Embassy reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. 

For the purposes of this program, this RFA is being issued and consists of this cover letter and the Full Application including following:

  1. Section A - Application Format;
  2. Section B - Selection Criteria;
  3. Section C - Program Description;
  4. Section D - Certifications, Assurances, and Other Statements of Applicant/Recipient
  5. Section E - Attachments to Program Description (attachments 1, 2, and 3)

To be eligible for an award, the applicant must provide all required information in its application, including the requirements found in any attachments.  Applicants must submit the full application package in compliance with the method indicated in this cover letter and in Section A of this RFA.

For the purposes of this RFA, the term "Grant" is synonymous with "Cooperative Agreement"; "Grantee" is synonymous with "Recipient"; and "Grant Officer" is synonymous with "Agreement Officer".

Any questions concerning this RFA should be submitted in writing to John Berry, via email to ccing Faouzi Chaouch .  Applications must be received by the closing date and time indicated at the top of this cover letter. 

Faxed proposals will not be accepted.  Applicants should submit their applications by e-mail attachment formatted in Microsoft Word (up to 2MB limit per email.  PDF files are acceptable). 

Applicants will be informed that their electronic submissions (via email) were successfully received by the required due date. 

Awards will be made to that responsible applicant(s) whose application(s) best meets the requirements of this RFA and the selection criteria contained herein.

Issuance of this RFA does not constitute an award commitment on the part of US Embassy Tunis, nor does it commit the Embassy to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application.  Further, US Embassy Tunis reserves the right to reject any or all applications received.  In addition, final award of any resultant cooperative agreement(s) cannot be made until funds have been fully appropriated, allocated, and committed through internal procedures.  While it is anticipated that these procedures will be successfully completed, potential applicants are hereby notified of these requirements and conditions for award. All preparation and submission costs are at the applicant's expense. Applicants should retain for their records one copy of all enclosures which accompany their application.

Description of Programs:

1. American Accounting Standards

A linkage with the Tunisian Accountability and Business Administration Institute (ISCAE) will launch a Master's degree program in American accounting standards.  The program will be offered in English, include academic and professional exchanges and train Tunisian accountants on U.S. standards, regulations and procedures. 

POC: Dr. Karim Ben Kahla, Dean

2. Comprehensive Community College concept

A linkage program between Higher Technological Institute (ISET) of Sfax and an American Community College will introduce the community college concept in close collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and the ISET General Management in Rades.

POC: Ms. Wafa Thabet Mezghani

3. Integrated Agricultural Projects

A university linkage program between the Higher Institute of Technological Studies in Siliana and an American community college will offer a dual degree in Integrated Agricultural Projects, including Environmental Horticulture and Retail Floristry, in order to improve students’ employment prospects and increase the region’s exports

POC: Kamel Jallouli

4. Innovative Tourism Concepts

University linkage with the Higher Institute of Technological Studies in Djerba will introduce innovative tourism concepts and help the Tunisian tourism industry shift from mass travel to customer-tailored micro tourism, particularly in the south of Tunisia. The project will empower young graduates to start their own projects, using limited financial and human resources, rather than relying on employment by large hotels or by major tour operators.

POC: Mr. Ali Gana

5. U.S. academic system

The university linkage with the Tunis Business School (TBS) will harmonize its undergraduate program with the U.S. academic system. The project will design course outlines, exchange faculty members, implement the credit transfer system, and establish an English reference library.

POC: Dr. Salah Ben Abdallah

Thank you for your interest in US Embassy Tunis activities.