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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.

Eligibility for Submission

Eligible applicants include all full-time faculty, regardless of track or rank, on the USC Columbia Campus. The 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 an earned terminal degree and provide the benefit of their expertise or experience in research, teaching, clinical care, or creative and performing arts or may pursue some other collaborative effort with comparable benefit. Visitors should have distinguished records of accomplishment. 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.

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.

Prior Provost Grant Program award recipients are not eligible to submit a proposal until they have submitted the final report for their previous award and at least one academic year has passed since the end of the previous 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 $15,000 per project period.  Applications must be submitted by December 15, 2017; notice of awards will be distributed by April 1, 2018.

An applicant may request a project period of a minimum of one (1) week up to a maximum of six (6) months. Projects must begin no earlier than July 1, 2018 and end no later than June 30, 2019. 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 decide 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

Each application must be submitted through USCeRA no later than December 15, 2017. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Procedure Summary

See How to Apply for complete guidelines and submission templates.

Applications must satisfy the formatting guidelines:

  • Standard, single column format for the text
  • Line spacing (single-spaced or double-spaced)
  • Font size: 12 points (except for mathematical formulas, equations or special characters)
  • Margins: 1 inch, in all directions

Applications must include the following, submitted as a single PDF:

  1. Include a Title page (Required)
  2. A detailed narrative of the project (maximum 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.
  3. A short biographical sketch of the visiting scholar(s). (Limit 2 pages per individual)
  4. 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. Note that the linked documents are shared with the internal grants program; several of the budget items included are not allowed expenses for the visiting scholars program.
  5. 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).
  6. Two-page biographical sketch each of the principal investigator and of the co-principal investigator(s), if any.

Allowable Costs for Visiting Scholars Grant Program*

  • 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 for Visiting Scholars Grant Program*

  • Costs in connection with faculty degree requirements
  • Travel to professional meetings or other institutions
  • Student tuition and fees
  • Compensation to the faculty sponsor/PI or to any other university faculty, staff or student involved in the project
  • 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.

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. 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?

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, Mr. Coyet Greene at or 803-777-2808.

Post Award Reporting Requirements

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.

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.

A final report should be submitted to Mary Alexander (, no later than 90 days after the grant is completed.

Full guidelines are available on the Post Award Reporting page.