ACS GREET Program: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About the Program

Eligibility Criteria

Application Process

Travel and Stipends

About the Program

Who handles the international matchmaking?
The matches are made before applying by the teams themselves. Teams are responsible for contacting their potential host lab and discussing the project to see if a collaboration can be arranged. If an agreement is reached on a scope-of-work then a GREET proposal would be most welcome. Therefore teams are ultimately responsible for arranging their own international projects and should do so taking all appropriate issues of safety, security, and collaborative benefit for the mentor, mentee, and international partner into full account. Teams are ultimately responsible and liable for the quality of their own selections.

When does the program start and how long does it last?
The program start and end date are entirely up to the team members and contingent upon the availability of your chosen host laboratory. However, travel must commence on or after June, 2013 and be completed on or before November, 2013. Mentee team members may elect to travel for a length of time between 4 and 8 weeks and the mentor team member between 2 and 3 weeks. Please remember when determining your schedule that funding decisions will be sent by early May, 2013 and that each team has a limited travel budget so travel in June could prove expensive. Accordingly, if summer is desirable then a July/August selection may prove to be the most prudent.

How many team grants will the ACS GREET program provide?
There are at least 5 guaranteed scholarships to cover the travel costs of 10 individuals (2 per team).

I applied to GREET previously but was not successful, can I reapply?
We encourage application resubmissions that have been updated and revised to make them different from the previous versions.

Can I submit more than one application per year to GREET?
No. Each applicant may only submit one proposal per application cycle. Please focus your efforts on your best project.

What does the grant cover?
The grant is calculated as follows: up to $1,600 for international travel costs to/from the host institution per team member; an award set between $50 and $100 per day depending on the U.S. Department of State’s foreign per diem rate for your chosen international location; up to $750 per team member to present the results at an ACS National meeting upon return; up to $400 per team member for materials and lab supply costs; to up to $300 allowance for language instruction per team member; up to $200 international medical and accident insurance per team member; and up to $100 per team member to cover visa costs.

How will the applications be reviewed?
After close of the application period, the applications will first be reviewed for eligibility by the program manager. Next, a team of industrial and academic scientists specializing in chemistry and related fields will then review the remaining applications for their: 1) scientific significance, impact, and approach; and 2) the thought given to the mentoring, planned local events upon return, and project continuation potential.

What is the application success rate for the program?
In 2012 GREET had a success rate of 36% among those that submitted a completed application.

Will the GREET program be back in 2014?
The ACS hopes to continue this program next year but the continuation is dependent upon the quality and quantity of the applications. If it will be continued, a new call for proposals will be issued towards the beginning of 2014.

Eligibility Criteria

Can only university professors and students apply for GREET?
No. We encourage applications from teams that are employed in a variety of U.S. settings. Applications from a mentor/mentee corporate team, mentor/mentee team from a national lab, or other mixed possibilities would be welcome. As long as the individual researchers meet the mentor/mentee definition they would be eligible for the award.

What is the definition of an early- to mid-career researcher?
For the mentor, we define a mid-career researcher is defined as someone who has a position that is more or less equivalent to an associate professor (well established in their field but still seeking and having room to advance further). That being said, the true purpose of GREET is also to encourage truly talented chemists to think globally, provide a wonderful mentoring experience, and to encourage professional growth. If you would consider yourself above our definition of mid-career researcher, but have a truly talented mentee, a good proposed project, a plan for engaging your home institution, and a plan for continuing with the host institution, we would still welcome your application. Because every situation is different, we will not automatically remove an application because it comes from a more senior researcher, but the selection team will consider the application as an entire package. However, when considering two identical applications, preference will be given to the application with an earlier career researcher.

What is the criterion when defining a mentee?
While the easiest litmus test on who constitutes a mentee is someone who is a current graduate or undergraduate student this program is also open to young researchers at other institutions such as corporations or government labs. In those latter circumstances the definition that will be applied is generally a person who is within the first few years of obtaining a bachelor or master degree or starting on a new career path regardless of where he/she is employed or enrolled. Anyone holding a doctoral degree cannot be considered a mentee for the purposes of this award. As with the above definition of mentor, every situation is however different so we encourage anyone with questions to email greet@acs.org if you are unsure of your eligibility.

Are postdoctoral fellows eligible for the award?
Postdoctoral fellows would not strictly be eligible for the mentee portion of the award but may be applicable for the mentor role depending on the circumstances. In these cases careful and thorough explanation of the mentoring that will be given to the mentee will be required.

What type of projects will be funded?
In general, as long as it is a new collaboration, and is related to chemistry, you would be eligible for GREET funding. Chemical engineering, biochemistry, chemical education, international development using chemistry would all be applicable. That being said, we prefer not to fund one-sided sampling science where the research team would travel to a location to collect a geographically limited resource or to individually study a geographically limited phenomena. This program is intended to fund projects that have a mutual benefit to both the traveling team and their host institution and also projects that will lead to continued collaborations in the future.

Does the foreign host location have to be a foreign university?
No. Foreign hosts that are companies, institutes, NGOs, or other options would also be applicable as GREET international partners. As long as both the applicants and their hosts present a compelling case for the project; outline the plans for follow-up; ensure that all proper mentoring, safety, and oversight is observed; and show mutual benefit, the application would be considered.

As a student, can I travel during the summer between my senior year and graduate school?
The opportunity is unfortunately only open to mentees who are currently enrolled at a university or employed at an institution or company at the time of their travel. Students who are between schools may apply to the program if they will be attending graduate school or will be employed in the Fall and are able to complete all of their travel between their matriculation date and the travel bookend dates of June/November and their undergraduate commencement date.

Do the mentee and mentor need to have a previous working experience?
We encourage teams to be comprised of researchers who have worked together before as they will be best suited to judge each other’s strengths and weaknesses and be in the position to determine how feasible the proposed research is in the given time period. Generally this means that teams will be at the same institution although that does not necessarily have to be the case.

What is the definition of a new collaboration?
We define a “new” collaboration as an international project with no previous history of the principal investigators working together on an endeavor. The GREET program is intended to create new scientific networks among the world’s researchers and should not be viewed as a travel award supplement. We will not fund projects where the lead PIs (home/host) have a previous shared publication, poster, or presentation. If you have any questions on your applicability in this regard, please email greet@acs.org before the application deadline so that we may provide a ruling.

Do I need to show any preliminary data in my application?
The GREET program is situated to encourage new research collaborations and as such we do not expect every project to have previous data. The GREET funds are intended to allow research teams to collect the preliminary data needed to apply for a larger government research grant. However, while not a prerequisite, any research data that the home/host teams have developed working independently that would be useful in judging the scientific merit of the complete application would be welcomed.

Do I need to be an ACS member to apply and/or receive funds?
Yes. If you are not a current member or need to renew lapsed membership you may join by going to www.acs.org/join.

Application Process

What happens if I submit an incomplete application package?
We do our best to send reminders when certain portions of your application have not been received. It is, however, your responsibility to follow-up with your reference to ensure that the letter of recommendation has been sent before the deadline of March 6. You will receive a confirmation email when your application form has been successfully completed and a second confirmation email when your recommendation letter was submitted as well, though we cannot provide you with a copy of its contents. If we have not received all of the materials by 23:59:59 EDT on March 6, we will unfortunately not be able to consider your application.

Can I mail the student’s transcript instead of submitting an electronic version?
If you would rather provide a physical copy of the official transcript for the student team member you may send the copy by mail to our address below. However, it must be received (not postmarked) on or before the March 6 deadline so please ensure that your give the registrar office ample time. We must receive an official transcript, it cannot be unofficial, but it may have an “issued to student” stamp on it. The online form requires a document to be uploaded to serve as the transcript so please create a placeholder file so that you may submit this part of the application before the March 6 deadline. The address is:
American Chemical Society
Office of International Activities
GREET Program
1155 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036 USA

Is it okay if the official transcript is handed from the registrar directly to the student?
Yes. We encourage the students to get their official transcript handed directly to them and then upload a scanned copy into the online form. This ensures timely receipt. A transcript that is handed to the student may have a stamp on it that reads “issued to student”, this is perfectly acceptable. The transcript must however be official and from the university you will be enrolled at during the period of travel.

I am or will be starting my first year of graduate school, should I use my graduate or undergraduate transcript?
We would like you to submit the transcript of the school that you will be enrolled at during the time of your GREET travel to verify that you are affiliated with and enrolled at a US university. Even if there are no grades on the transcript, just a list of your first semester courses, this would be important. If you are currently at a different school than you will be at in the Fall during the travel period, please send an email to greet@acs.org describing your situation and we will tell you how to proceed.

I am applying on the mentee portion of my team but am not a current student, what should I submit?
In these cases we request that you instead submit a confirmation verifying current employment at your company or institute. This item should be uploaded in the transcript attachment question on the application form.

Who should write the required recommendation letter?
The letter of recommendation for the student team member must come from a university professor who is familiar with the work of the student. Letters from the mentor traveling with the student are not acceptable and will not count towards this requirement. Please have the recommender complete the online recommendation form. For mentees that are not current students we would ask that you get a letter of recommendation from a past research advisor.

Can the recommendation letter be mailed rather than submitted using the separate online form?
The online form is the preferred method of receiving the letter of recommendation. However, if your recommender would like to submit a physical copy instead, please have him/her mail it to the address listed above in response to question #2 in this section. The letter must arrive at our office on or before the April 10 deadline so please ensure that you direct your recommender to mail it well before the deadline. The preferred method is to have the recommender fill out the online recommendation form.

What must be in the letter of support from the international partner institution/investigator?
Well thought out letters of support from partners containing appropriate and thorough information are more likely to be positively reviewed than a letter that was put together quickly and does not address any specifics. Please have your partner provide you with a letter of support on university/lab/company stationary that lists the title of your project, the names of both traveling team members, the approximate dates of travel, and his/her willingness to provide you with space for the duration of your journey. Also, a mention of their willingness to help seek housing for the mentor, and in particular the mentee, is required. Comments about the appropriateness of the facilities and adherence to international safety standards are also appreciated. The selection committee will review the applications in order to ensure that the host lab and lodging for the traveling team are appropriate for the proposed project.

Can the letter of support from the foreign host institution/lab be submitted physically?
As with items #2 and #7 above, we will accept a physical copy of the letter of support from your international partner. However, it must be received at our office before the March 6 deadline. Because of the varied time in sending mail internationally, please ensure that your partner submits this letter well before the application deadline to ensure that it is received in a timely manner.

What happens if an item arrives late by mail?
We encourage all applicants to use the electronic submission method as that is the only way to ensure that your materials are received on time. All application materials, including physically mailed items must be received on or before 6 March, 2013 to be counted. If we do not receive it by then, your application will be marked incomplete. If you are sending an item by mail, please use a delivery confirmation where applicable or follow-up by sending an email to greet@acs.org to ensure that it was received on time. Again, the postal service may take some time so please give yourself appropriate padding.

Will you inform me when all application materials are received?
Confirmation emails are automatically generated upon successful submission of your online application and applicants will also be notified of successful submission by their recommender using the online form. Please hold on to these emails in case of any technical problems, this will serve as your receipt. Our office will also send out a manual email confirmation letter to all successful applicants shortly after the March 6 deadline. If you do not receive this email but believe that you should have, please contact greet@acs.org as soon as possible so that we can rectify the situation.

When will applicants be informed about their decision status?
Winners will be informed of their status in early-May and be given a week to accept/reject the offer. Alternates will be contacted as needed but all selections will be made by the end of May. Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified of their status until all award positions have been accepted.

I made a mistake and submitted an incorrect response on the form, what should I do?
Please make any changes as needed and submit the form again. Our office will only use the most chronologically current version of your application so please ensure that your best submission is your last one. If there are any questions on which version we should use, we will contact the PIs.

Can I receive feedback on the results of my application?
Unfortunately, because of the expected volume of applications, we do not anticipate being able to provide feedback to the applicants on the quality of their proposals at this time.

Travel and Stipends

Can I use some of the GREET funds to pay the expenses of a foreign partner?
No. Unfortunately, the funding can be used only to support the stipend/travel/etc. of the US researcher team. Among the award funds, $400 per team member is dedicated to be used for the purchase of supplies and lab costs which can be used to purchase items while abroad to help supplement the purchasing power of the host institution but cannot be given directly to the partner as a lump sum.

How will booking travel be handled?
Upon acceptance into the program, you will receive information on how to book your flights for the international travel. If you choose an early June travel date, please be prepared to book your flights quickly if you are selected.

When can I travel?
Travel for the program can occur between June and November, 2013 and is flexible to the needs of the participants and host institutions. However, when selecting your dates, please be mindful of any Visa requirements in your host country. Your international collaborator will be the best resource to help you determine the specific requirements and give a timeline on how long a Visa application could take. You may not be notified of your award until the end of May and Visa applications can take 30-60 days so please take this into account. The stipend does include funds to cover some or all of the costs of the Visa application. Also, please ensure that your passport is not expired and apply for a new one if necessary. Passport applications can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to process.

How long can I travel for?
The exact length of travel time is up to the research team within reason. The student partner can travel anywhere between 4-8 weeks and the mentor can travel for a concurrent 2-3 weeks. Your chosen project will largely dictate the amount of time that you need.

Can I stay past the GREET phase of my project to extend the research or do sightseeing or other international cultural activities?
Yes. However, be aware that the GREET award fellowship funds can only pay for the days where you are actively involved in your research project up to 8 total weeks for the mentee and 3 weeks for the mentor. Any additional days will not be reimbursable. International travel costs will also have a similar limitation in that any extra costs that the extended stay creates cannot be reimbursed.

Do I need a visa or work permit?
Because the ACS does not limit your location of travel, this question may be best answered by your host lab/collaborator as they will be the best judge of the local requirements. In general, U.S. citizens do not need a visa to spend up to 3 months in many international locations, but checking with your collaborator and doing your own research is the best course of action.

Is the stipend sufficient to get by?
The stipend is sufficient to pay for subsidized housing and meals that your host university may offer. However, how you use the funds and what they are applied to are entirely up to the research team. There may be out of pocket expenses in more expensive locations.

How is the stipend calculated?
The stipend will be the greater as either $50 per day or 25% of the U.S. Department of State’s foreign per diem rate for the host location you have selected with an overall cap of $100 per day. Using 3 example locations from the 2011 teams: Stockholm, Sweden; Bucharest, Romania; and Moshi, Tanzania the full foreign per diem rates were $454, $302, and $187, respectively. The daily fellowship amounts for the GREET mentors and mentees would therefore be $100, $76, and $50 (Stockholm was over the rate ceiling and Moshi was under the floor). Program management will cover this calculation in more detail after award selection.

How will I find housing?
You are responsible for providing and selecting your own appropriate housing while traveling, the costs of which will come out of your stipend. Your host laboratory/collaborator should be able to suggest appropriate lodging while overseas that may be at a much more competitive rate than what is available from a hotel.

How does attendance of the national meeting work?
GREET award winners will present an oral presentation on the results of their project at an ACS national meeting an oral presentation. This is a mandatory condition of receiving the award. The 2013 winners must present at the 247th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in Dallas, TX from March 16-20, 2013. Award winners will be given instructions on how to proceed in the use of their $750 per team member.

How does the language reimbursement work?
Details will be provided to the award winners. In general, this program allows for both members of a GREET team to be reimbursed up to $300 for the cost of language training that would be directly helpful in your travels. The language of choice must be an official or de facto national language in the country to which you are traveling. The funds can be used to hire a tutor, purchase books, buy software, or attend classes. Unfortunately, teams that are traveling to English speaking nations are not applicable for this portion of the award.

Can funds be shifted between the award categories?
Not at this time. Each team is allotted a set amount of funds for international travel, per diem, supplies, language training, visa costs, and national meeting travel only. The funds cannot be shifted.

Are overhead/indirect costs allowable under the GREET award?
No. Each team is only entitled to the direct costs listed above. If your institution requires a letter in such cases to verify that indirect costs are not allowable with GREET, one can be provided upon acceptance of the award.

How will the payments/reimbursements be handled?
Generally, ACS will either mail a check or direct deposit the funds into an account of your choosing. The funds by default will be sent to the individual winners upon verification of the expense. If needed and upon instructions from the winners, the funds can also be sent to an Office of Sponsored Research or the corporate equivalent. Applicants from these settings should begin a conversation with the relevant offices early to determine how the process should be handled.