Below are top tips for applicants & awardees:
1) PhD STUDENTS are encouraged to apply for this scholarship after halfway through their project as it would be more beneficial to visit an institution after you have established the basis of your research and have a few ongoing ideas. You are also encouraged to make early stage preparation ahead of the visit, so the collaborations can be more successful to maximise efficiency.
2) LONGER LENGTH VISIT of at least 3 to 4 months is advised as from previous awardees’ experience, the most fruitful research period started after 2 months.
3) BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET! a profound cost analysis should be carried out at the stage of application to understand the difference in daily living costs between two countries and to identify any potential hidden/unexpected costs including visa and its posting costs; departmental, processing, university service’s fees at the destination as well as increased accommodation costs for short-term rental properties. Please also take into consideration the currency exchange rates that might become less favourable at the time of travelling.
4) ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT from home and host institutions as well as other funding bodies is highly encouraged to be sought. Candidates who hold other awards are not excluded from applying.
5) It is suggested ensuring personally that all REFERENCE LETTERS have been received by the committee in advance of the application deadline, to avoid the last minute panic if there has been an issue with one of the letters arriving in time.
6) It is advisable to begin your ACCOMMODATION search shortly after receiving the award decision unless prior arrangements can be made with the host institution for housing. It may be best for trips to have a duration of a whole number of months, as in my experience landlords still expect payment for the whole month even if you would be leaving halfway through a calendar month.
7) HEALTH INSURANCE is very important, especially when travelling out of Europe, and should be arranged prior to any travelling taking place.
8) ARRIVING IN ADVANCE, before formally starting the project to familiarise yourself with the new surroundings prior to commencing, is highly recommended.
9) LANGUAGE BARRIERS should be taken into consideration, especially when travelling to a non-native English-speaking country, as it can create great difficulties in communicating with the research host group, take longer to gain facilities, booking and use of equipment and as a result, could affect your originally planned research outcomes.
10) KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND BE FLEXIBLE about the activities and objectives of your stay. It is important to remember that just as a particular set of experiments or the development of a specific model are indeed valuable objectives, they do not represent the only possible outcomes of the experience. It is through collaborating with those around you that new opportunities will present themselves and it is by questioning your own methods that new insights will develop.
11) NETWORKING and collaborating with people around the world will greatly benefit your academic career and provide a variety of fresh perspectives and opportunities.
12) It is advisable to deliver a SEMINAR/PRESENTATION at the very start of your research visit rather than at the end, which is more common. This will give the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to the group/department and facilitate discussions that might lead to new research ideas.
13) It is also suggested to look to see if any CONFERENCE, SEMINAR, WORKSHOP OR SUMMER SCHOOL relevant to your research is taking place in the host city or country which you would be able to tie in with their visit to make the most of your international visit.
14) Advice to applicants wishing to travel to AUSTRALIA: it is important to note the status of staff members at an Australian University – the duration of the project applied for may influence the (student) discounts and/or health insurance(s) available to the applicant. For example, this may be the case if the project lasts for 3 months or longer.
15) ENJOY! we recommend to fully engage yourself in the exchange experience – interact with your research group and join in with social gatherings, join local clubs, perhaps even live with local people who will be able to show you around and discuss the history and culture of the area. Take in as much as you can from the culture and explore the country in your free time!