Overseas Institutional Visits

The Overseas Institutional Visits (OIV) scheme is designed to support and encourage international engagement of ESRC students.  It provides an opportunity for a WGSSS award-holder to spend up to three months with a Higher Education institution outside of the UK. This funding is intended to provide an opportunity for you to establish research networks, disseminate early research findings, participate in seminars and other academic activities that are directly relevant to your research, or to undertake specialist research training that is not available within the UK.

Funds may be sought to provide an extension of up to three months to the period of funded study, plus up to £4K travel and accommodation costs. The number of awards made per annum will be dependent on the resource available. Award-holders will need to provide a strong justification for their proposed visit and for the level of funding support requested.  Please note that as there are only limited funds available for the scheme not all OIV costs will necessarily be met.

All OIVs are dependent upon travel advice and institutional policies relating to risk assessments and insurance arrangements.

Scheme Regulations

  • Applications can only be considered from ‚Äėresearch‚Äô award holders in the +3 doctoral component of their studentship. Students in the initial Masters ‚Äėtraining‚Äô year are not eligible to apply. Students in the writing up/ non funded part of their PhD are also ineligible.
  • ESRC-funded part-time students can become eligible if they transfer status to full-time students for the duration of the visit.
  • Support and authorisation from a student‚Äôs primary supervisor must be secured for all applications.
  • Applicants should demonstrate a clear planned programme of work with the identified host organisation(s) and/or host partner(s). A letter or statement of support is required from the intended host institution which should not only indicate their willingness to host a visit but also detail how a student‚Äôs activities will be supported.
  • Only one application can be made during the period of your studentship. An application can be made for up to three separate OIVs to the same host university during the course of your studentship as long as the total period of the visits does not exceed three months (13 weeks). However, you are strongly encouraged to make one return flight, from a sustainability perspective, and to keep costs manageable. Multiple flights would need to be justified.
  • Visits must be undertaken to a Higher Education institution. Only in exceptional circumstances will applications to other esteemed research organisations with a substantive research office outside of the UK be considered. Justification for visiting a research organisation will need to be provided.
  • As OIVs are intended to be an integral part of research training, any visit in the first year of a PhD must not commence within the first three months of the studentship period. Visits taking place in the final year of the studentship must be completed at least three months before the end date of the award (prior to the OIV extension period being implemented).
  • You should consult the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office guidance relating to your intended destination. Visits must not be undertaken if the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against visiting the country concerned. Further guidance can be found at the gov.uk pages on¬†passports, travel and living abroad. Students are responsible for ensuring they have the necessary visa arrangements in place for international travel.¬† Advice should be sought from the host University‚Äôs International Office, or equivalent.¬† Students studying under a Tier 4 visa may have further restrictions on their travel and should seek advice.
  • OIVs are not designed to cover fieldwork expenses. Separate¬†funding is available for overseas fieldwork visits. We recognise that under certain circumstances an element of fieldwork might be undertaken in an OIV. These circumstances should be clearly justified in your application.
  • Retrospective claims will not be considered.
  • As a recipient of funding you agree to provide feedback on your OIV experience either via a blog post for the WGSSS, a newsletter article or by contributing to WGSSS training sessions/conferences.

What does a successful application include?

  • A clear and robust case for why the visit(s) are important and the benefits to be gained.
  • Details of collaboration or networking plans, including how these could be further developed following the visit(s).
  • Information on how the visit(s) may contribute to your career and/or broaden academic horizons.
  • Any expected outcomes from the visit(s) and details of how you will disseminate findings.

How to apply

There are two deadlines for receipt of OIV applications each year (usually during the autumn and spring semesters). Applications should be made at least three months in advance of the proposed visit.  Later submissions may be considered, but will be at risk owing to the period required for review, consultation, and the time required to arrange insurance and visas etc.  An application will usually be considered and an outcome confirmed within one month of the applications deadline.  This is dependent on volume of applications and should a significant number be received, funding decisions may take longer.

Please return completed OIV Application Forms to enquiries@walesdtp.ac.uk

The Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV) application deadlines for the 2023/24 academic year are:

Friday 29th September 2023
Friday 22nd March 2024
Friday 27th September 2024

Successful applications

Successful applicants in receipt of a full studentship award will receive the costs of the visit up to a total of £4,000 (or a contribution to costs as determined by the WGSSS) plus a paid extension equal to the period of time spent overseas. Fees-only students will receive visit costs (or a contribution to costs as determined by the WGSSS) plus an extension to their fees and submission date only.

All successful applicants will be required to submit an end of OIV End of Award Report within four weeks of the end of the visit. It is expected that your supervisor and the main academic contact at the overseas university will provide comments on the benefits of the visit.

Please let the WGSSS office know if there are any changes made to your visit plans.

Application notes

  • It may not be possible for the WGSSS to fully fund a student‚Äôs OIV in all cases.¬† Where only partial funding is available, the student will have the discretion to use their Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) to supplement the amount available.
  • OIV‚ÄôS will be covered by the travel insurance policy of the award-holder’s host institution. The award holder will need to ensure coverage from their host institution is secured prior to departure.
  • OIV‚Äôs do not cover the expenses of any family member accompanying the student.
  • You are asked to estimate or provide quotes for actual costs, using travel sites or numbeo.com.¬† Costs should be as accurate and detailed as possible.¬† Stipend payments will continue to be paid during your OIV and it is expected that they will be used to help meet living costs i.e. subsistence expenses.¬†¬†
  • Should it be necessary to use AirBnB accommodation, you must check host institutional travel guidance beforehand. ¬†Use of AirBnB may only be permissible under strict conditions and in the circumstance where no other alternative options are available. ¬†Pre-approval from a student‚Äôs host institution is a requirement for any AirBnB expense claim.
  • Once the allowance has been allocated, it is the student‚Äôs responsibility to manage the funds. These will not be increased to cover other expenses incurred whilst a student is abroad. Should the OIV be abandoned, reduced or unsuccessful, resulting in the student returning to the UK early, the WGSSS allowance will be reduced accordingly. WGSSS support will be limited to covering the costs of any reasonable expenditure already incurred.
  • Students should follow local institutional processes for booking and managing travel arrangements. You will be required to meet any institutional travel requirements before funds are released, including adherence to health and safety procedures and the completion of risk assessments.
  • Once an application has been approved by the WGSSS, the student‚Äôs home institution will administer payment arrangements. You are required to follow the guidance on expense claims and reimbursement from your home institution. Approved OIV funds will be transferred by the WGSSS to the institution on receipt of a final statement of expenditure incurred, accompanied by supporting receipts.

Assessment Criteria

Applications will be reviewed against the following criteria:

  • the purpose of the visit and value added to both the applicant and the host institution
  • contribution towards the award-holder‚Äôs research and/or training
  • the intended work plan and programme of activities
  • arrangements for continued supervision provided by the supervisor
  • the case for support provided by the proposed host university
  • support, facilities and resources provided by the host organisation
  • supervisor‚Äôs statement of support
  • value for money
  • the location, length and cost of the proposed activity
  • the ethical and practical considerations which might have an impact on the proposal

Overseas Institutional Visit Experiences

You can listen to a 10 minute talk by WGSSS student Annabel Wilson on her OIV to Duke University recorded at our induction event in 2017. In the following 3 minute video, a WGSSS student who has completed an overseas institutional visit describes his experience.

Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson on his visit to Boston University