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Office of the Provost

Provost Grants

Visiting Scholars Grant Program

The Visiting Scholars Grant Program (VSGP) supports short visits to the USC Columbia campus by distinguished scholars for the dual purpose of enriching and advancing the scholarly and creative endeavors of faculty and students. Visiting scholars supported under this program should enrich teaching, research and creative activities on campus by providing lectures, workshops, seminars, performances and mentoring of USC students and faculty.

In addition, visiting scholars are expected to catalyze the teaching, research and creative activities of USC faculty and students through collaborations aiming to produce tangible scholarly products such as new course materials for online or face-to-face instruction; textbook, monograph or journal manuscripts; or art, recordings and other creative works.

The strongest proposals for short visits of individual scholars should support both broad enrichment of the local community of scholars, as well as advancement of collaboration that accelerates progress of a specific scholarly objective or product.

The VSGP will also support short visits of small groups of distinguished scholars for the purpose of anchoring or keynoting conferences on (or near) the USC Columbia campus. Strong proposals for conference support should not only seek to enrich a local community of scholars, but also aim to produce a conference proceedings volume, edited book or other tangible scholarly product. Proposals for conference support must be cost-shared by academic units on campus, by external sponsors and/or by attendee conference fees. (USC Columbia Faculty Only).

Eligibility for Submission

Application Receipt Dates: Sept. 17, 2015; Jan. 28, 2016

Proposals submitted by September 17, 2015 will be announced late December 2015. Proposals submitted by January 28, 2016 will be announced late April/early May 2016.

Eligible applicants include all full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty, regardless of rank, on the USC Columbia Campus. The tenured/tenure-track faculty member nominating the visiting scholar will serve as sponsor and academic liaison during the length of the visiting scholar's stay. The department hosting the visiting scholar will designate a staff member in the department to facilitate normal activities with the visiting scholar.

Visiting scholars are expected to have a doctoral degree and provide the benefit of their expertise or experience in research, teaching or clinical care, or may pursue some other collaborative effort which may provide benefit. Visiting scholars are not permanent or full-time employees of the university. An invitation/appointment as a visiting scholar does not constitute an offer of permanent employment.

Distinguished visitors in the creative and performing arts or professional schools may be invited to the Columbia campus to contribute to the research and creative interests of the faculty and students. Visitors should have distinguished records of accomplishment.

The faculty sponsor (PI) is responsible for coordinating with the department chair/dean's office any office/laboratory space, telephone/computer access or other materials requested by the visiting scholar. All conference proposals require a letter of support/commitment from the department chair/director and dean.

Tenured/tenure-track faculty interested in submitting a conference proposal should consult with the University Purchasing Department regarding state procurement policies in the development of a budget.

Prior award recipients from any internal grant program are not eligible to submit a proposal until they have submitted the final report for their current award.

Guidelines for Inviting Visiting International Professors and Short-term Scholars

If you are considering inviting an international scholar to teach, conduct research, speak or perform another educational activity, please contact International Support for Faculty and Staff (ISFS) in advance by phone: 803-777-0288; or email: ISFS@ ISFS can help assess timelines and provide information on U.S. visa requirements and processes necessary for international scholars to come to USC for a planned academic activity. Over the past decade, many new regulations governing international visitors have been enacted by the federal government. University failure to comply with these regulations can result in forfeiture of the university's ability to sponsor international scholars in the future.

Because the new regulations are resulting in increased paperwork, security clearances and considerable delays in procuring a visa, we ask that you allow 3-6 months to prepare for your international visitor.

The United States Government requires ALL longer-term international visitors who are paid a salary or have room/board as part of their remuneration package to have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Visiting professors, research scholars and even most short-term visitors will need either a SSN or TIN in order to be paid (salary, other compensation or reimbursement). Depending on the tax treaty between the U.S. and the visitor's country, some or all parts of the remuneration package may be taxable.

Visiting professors, research scholars and visitors being paid a salary will need either a SSN or an International Tax Identification Number. Please contact the Controller's Office at 803-777-2602 for additional information.

Funds Available and Project Timeframe

Projects are eligible for funding of up to $25,000 per project period. An applicant may request a project period of a minimum of one (1) week up to a maximum of six (6) months. The review committee will submit a ranked list of proposals recommended for funding to the Provost and may recommend changes in funding amount with justification. The Provost
will decided on the proposals to be awarded and the amount of each award. Projects for international visiting scholars must allow a minimum of three (3) months for processing before the intended arrival of the visiting scholar.

Application Procedure

  1. Title page (Required)
  2. Page Formatting
    • Standard, single column format for the text
    • Line spacing (single-spaced or double-spaced)
    • Font Size: 10 points (except for mathematical formulas, equations or special characters)
    • Margins: 1 inch, in all directions
  3. Develop a proposal that provides:
    • A detailed narrative of the project (3 pages) which includes:
      For individual scholar visits: a description of the proposed visit and the benefits that will be gained from interactions with the visiting scholar.
      For conference proposals: a description of the proposed conference and the benefits that will be gained. A proposed timeline should be included.
    • A short biographical sketch of the visiting scholar(s). (Limit 2 pages per individual)
  4. Attach the following supporting documentation to the end of the proposal
    • A detailed budget using the required budget form and budget justification for total project costs consistent with the list of allowable/unallowable costs shown below. 
    • Letter of support from department chair acknowledging department commitment, e.g., office, computer, supplies etc., and identifying staff member responsible for facilitating activities related to visit. The faculty sponsor (PI) is responsible for coordinating with the department chair/dean's office any office/laboratory space, telephone/computer access or other materials requested by the visiting scholar(s).
    • Two-page biographical sketch each of the principal investigator and of the co-principal investigator(s), if any.


Allowable Costs*

  • Travel for visiting scholar(s) (See BUSF 1.00 [pdf]) Reimbursement is restricted to individual expenses, e.g., housing, meals, transportation, of the visiting scholar.
  • Visa fees associated with an international visiting scholar (Contact ISFS for guidance)
  • Compensation for visiting scholar
    Note: An honorarium is not allowed. Salary compensation must be within university guidelines.

*All expenditures must be made in accordance with federal, state and university regulations and policies. It is the faculty sponsor's responsibility to understand all requirements prior to a visiting scholar's visit.

Unallowable Costs

  • Costs in connection with faculty degree requirements
  • Travel to professional meetings or other institutions
  • Undergraduate tuition and fees
  • Compensation to the faculty sponsor/PI
  • Compensation for research grant employees
  • Compensation to university staff
  • Honorarium
  • Food and refreshment costs for receptions, workshops and conferences
  • Participant support costs

NOTE: Visiting scholars are not permanent employees of the university and are not eligible for employee health benefits.

Review Process

The purpose of the Visiting Scholars Grant Program is to bring to USC an exceptional scholar who can contribute to intellectual and/or research endeavors through lectures, faculty seminars, formal or informal discussions with graduate or postgraduate research students or collaborative research with faculty. Scholars should be active faculty at their home institution.

Applications that are complete and responsive to this announcement will be evaluated for merit by a committee of faculty. The committee will make recommendations to the Provost based on the quality of the proposals in accordance with the following review criteria.

A. Intellectual Merit:

  • Does the proposal provide a compelling argument for advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields?
  • How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity?
  • How well qualified is the invited scholar to conduct the project?
  • Does the proposed project represent a significant contribution to the field of study or a significant advance of the expertise of USC faculty? If so, how?

B. Nature of Proposal:

  • Does the proposal provide a clear statement of overall project objectives?
  • Does the proposal provide a sound justification with clear and specific budget information?
  • What is the likelihood the project goals, timeline and budget will be accomplished?

C. Leverage:

  • Will the project lead to further scholarly or research activities?
  • Does the project help build scholarly networks?
  • How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting mentoring of junior faculty and graduate students?
  • Will the project lead to an enhanced reputation for the University?


Communicating and acknowledging support from the Office of the Provost

The Office of the Provost requires acknowledgement of the projects it supports. An acknowledgment must be contained in any materials such as articles, books, films, radio programs, reports, as well as exhibits, events, and publicity related to the award. The acknowledgment should be similar to:

“XXX would like to acknowledge the Office of the Provost’s Internal Grant Programs at the University of South Carolina for providing funding for this research/publication/presentation.”

If you have questions regarding the forms of acknowledgment, contact the Office of the Provost Communications and Marketing coordinator, Ms. Sarah Livingston at

Post Award and Reporting Requirements

  • Upon receipt of the award letter, consult with your department business manager to establish an account. All grant related expenditures must be directly charged to this account. Any expense overages become the responsibility of the department.
  • An account established for an internal grant funded by the Office of the Provost should not be used to offset other expenditures nor should funds be transferred from this account to offset other expenditures.
  • A final report should be submitted to Mary Alexander (, no later than 90 days after the grant is completed.

All written invitations to Visiting Scholars must be approved by the Office of the Provost before an official invitation can be extended to the visiting scholar. Visiting scholars are not permanent employees of the University and are not eligible for employee health benefits.

Full guidelines are available on the Post Award Reporting page.