ARISC Funding Opportunities Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do I know which ARISC funding opportunities I qualify for?

Check out this graph to see which ARISC funding opportunities you and your research project might qualify for. Be sure to also read each funding call in its entirety to better understand the requirements and nuances of each funding opportunity.

Q: Can I apply to more than one ARISC funding opportunity?

Yes, as long as you are eligible to apply. If an applicant is awarded more than one ARISC funding opportunity at one time, they will be asked to select only one. Some of our funding opportunities are made possible through federal grants from the U.S. government. Federal guidelines allow awardees to hold funding from only one federal source at a time for the same project. This is the reason that we require ARISC award recipients to notify us of other awards.  

Q: I’ve never written a grant proposal before. Where do I start?

Congratulations on taking the first steps to writing your first grant proposal! If you’re still a student, consult with faculty members at your university. Your university may also offer grant writing workshops. Here are a few helpful resources for grant writing:

We have updated our funding calls and application forms to make the process clearer. Of course, we also expect applicants to have questions! Please email us at info “at” arisc . org

Q: I have never been to Armenia, Azerbaijan, or Georgia before. Who can I contact with questions about logistics?

We’re excited that you’re considering your first trip to the South Caucasus! As you can imagine, there are many differences between everyday life in the SC and in the US. Please contact our Resident Directors with any questions you may have:

  • Armenia: Ani Apresyan  Armenia “at” arisc . org
  • Azerbaijan: Leyla Rustamli Azerbaijan “at” arisc . org
  • Georgia: Diana Lezhava. Georgia “at” arisc . org

Q: How do I budget for airfare?

Airfare fluctuates quite a lot depending on time of year as well as day of the week the flights take place. You can expect higher fares in the summer “tourist” season (generally June through August), and the flights of some airlines with service to the South Caucasus may not operate daily.

In general, applicants will want to budget approximately $1700 for airfare for May and possibly 15% higher for the summer months. July and August are considered the highpoint of the tourist season. These months also tend to be hotter, and many in the South Caucasus leave for vacation in August. However, those whose fellowships’ funding source is from a U.S. federal government source will want to budget more. This is because these travelers will need to purchase tickets that conform with either the Fly America Act or the Open Skies Agreement. Learn more about these below.

Q: What is the Fly America Act? What are Open Skies Agreements?

All air travel and cargo transportation services funded by the federal government are required to use a “U.S. flag” air carrier service if it is available. See

The information below has been adapted from

The Fly America Act requires that all travelers funded by the U.S. Government use a U.S. flag carrier (including U.S. flag carrier code-shares), or a carrier that is compliant under an Open Skies Agreement, to the final destination or to the furthest point possible. ARISC Fellows whose funding source is either ECA or the US Department of Education must comply with the Fly America Act and submit the Travel Approval Request for review and response before purchasing their airline ticket. Subsequent changes to the itinerary must also be sent to ARISC for review and response before purchase.

Fly America Act compliance must be observed even in instances where foreign carriers are more convenient, cheaper, or provide a preferred routing. When a grantee’s final destination is not serviced by a U.S. air carrier or Open Skies carrier, grantees are required to fly on a compliant carrier to the furthest point possible.

Common Exceptions

Code Sharing: Grantees may use foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier. Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines “code” the same flight as if it was their own. Compliance with the Fly America Act is satisfied when the U.S. flag carrier’s designator code is present in the flight number of the airline ticket, boarding pass, or on the documentation for an electronic ticket.

Open Skies Agreements: There are four Open Skies Agreements – Australia, the European Union, Japan, and Switzerland – that meet the requirements of the Fly America Act.

  • Australia: Grantees may use an Australian airline only if a point of origin/destination is either the U.S. or Australia.
  • EU: Grantees can use an EU airline to travel from the U.S. to an EU country or another country outside of EU, when the flight originates in, arrives in, or stops in any of the EU countries prior to landing in the destination country. An EU airline is defined as, “an airline where substantial ownership and effective control of that airline are vested in a Member State or States, nationals of such a state or states, or both, and the airline is licensed as a Community airline and has its principal place of business in the territory of the European Community.” Please be aware that British Airways, Aeroflot, and Turkish Airlines are not considered compliant. You can find a list of the 27 EU member states here. The EU Open Skies Agreement also includes airlines from Iceland and Norway
  • Japan: Grantees may use a Japanese airline only if a point of origin/destination is either the U.S. or Japan.
  • Switzerland: Grantees may use a Swiss airline only if a point of origin/destination is either the U.S. or Switzerland

Q: What is M&IE? How does it work?

M&IE is short for “Meals and Incidental Expenses” which is similar to “per diem.” M&IE does not include the cost of lodging, but “per diem” does. ARISC pays M&IE rather than “per diem” because fellows usually prefer to claim coverage for the actual cost of their lodging rather than an estimated rate. (Claims for M&IE must be documented with receipts after travel is completed.).

When a traveler chooses to claim receipts for each food or drink item purchased, the traveler must also provide a full accounting of each receipt including English translations of all relevant items in a receipt: date of purchase, location of purchase (vendor), each itemized cost and quantities, total cost, amount paid, VAT, and means of payment. For this reason, we prefer travelers claim M&IE instead of turning in individual receipts for meals.

To indicate an M&IE rate in your proposal budget, you will need to know a few things: 1) number of days of travel and 2) the M&IE rate of your destination. The number of days will be determined by counting the days from your departure date to your arrival date. The M&IE rate that ARISC uses cannot exceed those set by the U.S. Department of State (for travelers to the South Caucasus) or the U.S. GSA (for travelers from the South Caucasus to the U.S.). Each of these websites allows the traveler to search for M&IE rates based on destination and month and year. If rates for the period of your planned travel are not yet available, use the most recent information.

The amount indicated in a proposal’s budget is just that, i.e., proposed. A fellow’s final accounting at the end of their project will indicate the actual amount.

Q: Can my entire proposed budget be M&IE?

Your proposed budget should indicate all the costs associated with completing your project (e.g. transportation, lodging, M&IE, research costs — as allowable per the fellowship source). Unless you have external funding already awarded to you to cover certain categories of expenses, and your proposed budget identifies the division of costs among the various funding sources, you should list all expenses in all categories for your project, not just M&IE.

Q: What is an itemized receipt?

An itemized receipt is a receipt that includes the name of the vendor, the date of the transaction, a detailed description and quantities of individual goods or services purchased, the individual amounts of each item purchased, the total sum of the purchase, and an indication of how the bill was paid. Note: A credit card slip, which includes some of the required information but not the a detailed description and quantities of individual goods or services purchased, nor the individual amounts of each item purchased, is not an itemized receipt. See sample here.

Q: The funding I am applying for requires “mentoring.” What kinds of activities does ARISC consider “mentoring”?

Some of ARISC’s funding opportunities have a mentoring requirement. For ARISC grant purposes, mentoring is understood to involve integrating a local scholar into a research project in a fundamental way that involves cultivating skills and knowledge of methods that will contribute to the professional development of the local scholar. Some examples of mentoring include working closely with a local undergraduate or graduate student on the project, offering a guest lecture for an undergraduate-or graduate-level course at a local institution, or offering a workshop. Applicants do not need to have a mentee identified at the time the application is submitted. If awarded, ARISC offers connections with colleagues, institutions, and authorities through its Resident Directors in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan.

Q: What is IRB?

From :

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the institution with which it is affiliated. The IRB is charged with the responsibility of reviewing, prior to its initiation, all research (whether funded or not) involving human participants. The IRB is concerned with protecting the welfare, rights, and privacy of human subjects. The IRB has the authority to approve, disapprove, monitor, and require modifications in all research activities that fall within its jurisdiction as specified by both the federal regulations and institutional policy.

Q: How do I know if I need IRB approval?

You will want to check with your university or home institution. Graduate students should check with their faculty advisor. If unsure, you should apply to the IRB program at your university.

Q: What is emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance?

Award recipients are responsible for ensuring proper medical insurance as well as emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance coverage during their time completing their project. These insurance types provide coverage in unexpected medical, emergency evacuation, or repatriation needs. There are many insurance companies on the market that provide this type of insurance. Note that your university may also provide this for your research for free or a reduced cost. Please consult with them first.

Proof of insurance coverage will be required before disbursement of fellowship funds. ARISC funds cannot be used to cover medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation, or other insurance.

Q: What is a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory?

The U.S. Department of State has established travel advisory levels for each country of the world for travel for U.S. citizens and permanent residents while they are abroad. Levels of advice may vary depending on specific locations or areas within a country. Fellows need to be aware of travel advisories to their destination of travel, and check frequently as these can change rapidly.

The Travel Advisory Levels are

  • Level 1: Exercise normal precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise increased caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider travel
  • Level 4: Do not travel

Understand how travel advisories work here.

Check the travel advisory prior to travel here:

Given changing travel restrictions and/or travel warnings to many countries, fellows should contact ARISC prior to purchasing airfare tickets.

ARISC will not fund projects taking place in locations designated as Level 4 (Do not travel) by the U.S. Department of State.

Fellows are encouraged to create an account with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP):

Q: What is a CDC Travel Advisory?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control also have helpful travel information for U.S. travelers going abroad. Travelers can search by destination and learn about vaccinations needed/recommended, as well as various travel health notices and recommended good practices here.

The CDC also have COVID-19 Travel Health Information that travelers should review prior to travel either internationally or in the US here.

Q: What medical issues should I take into account before I travel?

Travelers should consult with their medical professionals prior to travel, given their own unique circumstances. The CDC also has helpful information on travel here. Your university may also have a travel health clinic.

Travelers taking required medication abroad should have a doctor’s note with them when traveling indicating the name of the medication, what it is used to treat, and the quantity needed for the period of travel. If possible, it is best if this note is on letterhead with a wet signature. Both the note and the medication should be in your carry-ons, as luggage can be delayed or lost.

Q: When can I start spending ARISC fellowship funds that I was awarded?

Projects cannot incur expenses prior to the date listed on the award notification letter.

Q: Why is Aug 31 the deadline?

We have a deadline of August 31 for most of our funded projects to be completed so as to align with the end of our fiscal year and our requirements to report to granting agencies. We need time to review all materials that come in, tend to questions that arise, and have reporting ready by granting agencies’ deadlines.

Q: Why do you write out email addresses as “info “at” arisc . org”?

Bots. Bots are scouring webpages all the time scraping various bits of data, including email addresses. We would like to reduce the amount of spam we receive so that we can focus on our fellows and our projects.

Q: Glossary of eligibility terms

Undergraduate student: a student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree

Graduate student: a student pursuing a Master’s or Doctoral degree

PhD candidate: a student pursuing a Doctoral degree who has completed all requirements towards the Doctoral degree except for final research project, dissertation, and defense

Postdoc: any scholar who has completed their Doctoral degree

ARISC uses the terms “fellow,” “grantee,” and “awardee” interchangeably. They all refer to someone who has been awarded ARISC funding.