NCP Mobility Program Project Applictions

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) (opens in a new window) Mobility Program provides funding to Australian universities and consortia to support Australian undergraduate students to participate in semester-based or short-term study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research in 40 host locations across the Indo-Pacific region. The following information has been created for Western Sydney University staff interested in developing overseas projects for students.

For information about existing projects, see the Guidelines for Learning Abroad Experiences. If you require further assistance, contact the Western Sydney University New Colombo Plan International Liaison, Steven McDonald.

Video Presentation: Submitting a project application for 2022 Round of the New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program

1. General Information

Strategic objective and outcomes of the NCP

The NCP, launched in 2014, aims to lift knowledge in Australia of the Indo-Pacific by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake Internships in the region. The NCP has two programs: scholarships (for study up to 19 months) and mobility grants (for short and longer-term study). Both programs prioritise Internships, Mentorships and Language Training. DFAT administers the NCP according to the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs).

The Strategic Objective of the NCP is to strengthen Australia’s regional standing by building a diverse cohort of Australian alumni with deeper Indo-Pacific knowledge, capability and connections. The intended outcomes of the NCP are:

  • (a) increase the number and diversity of Australian university undergraduates with Indo-Pacific capability
  • (b) deepen people-to-people and institutional relationships between Australia and the Indo-Pacific region, and
  • (c) Students and alumni connected with leaders in government, business and civil society in the Indo-PacificAbout the NCP Mobility Program grant opportunity
  • The NCP Mobility Program provides funding to Australian universities to deliver Mobility Projects that
    provide Australian university students with Indo-Pacific mobility experiences.

Grant Amount

NCP funded Mobility Projects support Australian university undergraduates to participate in study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research in up to 40 Indo-Pacific locations.

Under the NCP Mobility Program, participating Australian universities may provide grants (between $1,000 and $7,000) to Australian undergraduates who meet the requirements. Due to pandemic travel restrictions, as a temporary measure, Government has agreed to virtual delivery of elements of the NCP Mobility Program. DFAT will consider requests from Australian universities to vary projects for virtual delivery. The NCP Mobility Program will revert to normal delivery arrangements when travel restrictions are lifted and student safety and welfare needs can be appropriately met.

As a guide the Government suggests:

  • a student grant of $1,000 for participation in a Mobility project of 2-3 weeks duration
  • a student grant of $2,500 for participation in a Mobility project of 4-5 weeks duration
  • a student grant of $4,000 for participation in a Mobility project of at least 6 weeks duration
  • a student grant of $7,000 for participation in a Mobility project of at least a semester duration

Note, this is a guide only and it will depend on the individual project. The actual amount of a student grant may vary depending on the relative costs of the host location, the nature of the mobility project and other considerations. Assessors will consider relative value-with-money, and the NCP goal of maximising student participation. Where the proposed per student grant is outside the guide, you will be required to provide justification when responding to Criterion 3 and/or 4.

Grant Period and Different Activities

The Mobility Project must be for a minimum of 14 continuous days (from the date of departure to
the overseas project location to return from that location).

The Mobility Project must be completed during the Mobility Program Term, from 1 January 2022 to
30 September 2023.

Students can undertake different activities within a project and receive different grant amounts. For example, where one student is participating in a 10-week mode of the project while a second student is participating in a 2-week mode of the project. This should be outlined in the Project Application Description, along with the actual cost per student in the following format (examples only):

Administration Funding

Administrative funding is calculated at 10% of the total grant funding sought.

  • Half is retained by Western Sydney International for the employment of a central resource to ensure compliance with policies and procedures, the distribution of funds, monitoring expenditure and the collection of accurate information for Government reporting. The person also provide advice and support for staff engaged in the delivery of New Colombo Plan Mobility projects. For further information see NCP Administration - For Project Leaders (opens in a new window).
  • The other half of the Administration funding is given to project leaders for administration of the program, including but not limited to:
    • Arranging, negotiating and researching information related to the overseas activity
    • Supervising, monitoring and evaluating students' progress
    • Engaging the services of third party organisations which have relevant expertise to support students to undertake the mobility project
    • General administration costs including staff flights and accommodation

Project Eligibility

Australian universities can apply for funding for Mobility projects that meet the following criteria:

  • a) include at least one of the following components:
    • (i) study
    • (ii) in-country face-to-face language study
    • (iii) internships (including clinical placements, practicums or artist residencies), or
    • (iv) research
  • b) take place between 1 January 2022 – 30 September 2023
  • c) provide credit/count towards the course requirements for the relevant student's Bachelor
    degree, Bachelor honours degree or concurrent diploma at their Australian university
  • be undertaken in an eligible host location
  • must not be undertaken at an offshore campus of an Australian university or a university
    established or headquartered outside the host location, unless approved by DFAT
  • f) must not breach DFAT’s safeguard principles as outlined in DFAT’s Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy 2019. While this policy applies to the Australian aid program, the Safeguard’s Principles will also be applied to NCP mobility projects. Mobility projects must not cause harm including injury or injustice to any person that a Mobility project is intended to engage with or assist, or to their wider communities or environment.

Virtual Delivery: An application may include, as a secondary location, a ‘virtual’ location. See  'Virtual Delivery' below.

Student Eligibility and Requirements

Western Sydney University must ensure each student receiving an NCP grant:

  • a) is an Australian citizen
  • b) is not a citizen or permanent resident of a host location in which they will undertake a mobility project
  • c) is enrolled in an on-shore campus at Western Sydney University and undertaking a bachelor degree or bachelor honours degree for the duration of the mobility project
  • d) will receive credit/count towards the course requirements
  • e) meets the age requirements:
    • at least 70 per cent of students participating in a mobility project and receiving a student grant are aged between 18 to 28 years inclusive at the commencement of the Mobility project.
    • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students do not need to be aged between 18 and 28, and for the purposes of calculating the 70 per cent of students, are to be counted as students aged under age 28, recognising that a high proportion of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students are mature aged students.
  • f) not be an employee of the branch of DFAT that administers the NCP
  • g) does not during the course of their bachelor degree or bachelor honours degree
    • (i) receive more than one student grant for the same mobility project.
    • (ii) receive more than two student grants during the course of their Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree
  • h) agrees to comply with DFAT’s Child Protection Policy 2017 and Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy 2019 including the reporting obligations under these policies (see Section 10.4), and has completed the Risks and Responsibilities modules of DFAT’s online NCP pre-departure training eLearning,
  • i) has signed an acknowledgement that they have read NCP Student Code of Conduct prior to their departure, and
  • j) takes into account the University Foreign Interference Taskforce - guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector 2019


The Government strongly encourages services to enable and support the participation of a diverse range of students in mobility projects including, but not limited to, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students, students from a low socio-economic status background, students from regional/remote areas, students who are first in their immediate family to attend university, students across genders, female students studying in non-traditional fields, students with a disability, and students from a non-English speaking background. This will help contribute to overall value with money (see Glossary) as per NCP program objective and outcomes

Eligible Host Locations

Mobility Projects may be conducted in the following 40 eligible Indo-Pacific Host Locations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Primary locations: A primary location is the host location for which the mobility project is awarded. The majority of the duration of a mobility project must be completed in the primary location.

Secondary locations:  While the Government prefers mobility projects to be conducted in a single host location, in some cases it may be appropriate to undertake a component of a mobility project in a secondary host location. For example:

  • (a) a research project in a primary location, including fieldwork in a secondary location, or
  • (b) a study program in a primary location with an internship in a secondary location. Any proposal for activities in a secondary location must be included in the application.

Virtual Delivery: An application may include, as a secondary location, a ‘virtual’ location. See  'Virtual Delivery' below.

Virtual Delivery

A project application may include, as a secondary location, a ‘virtual’ location. For the 2022 Round, the Government encourages institutions to develop flexible projects that could be adapted for face-to face or virtual delivery, as circumstances allow. Where a project includes virtual and face-to-face modes of delivery, the Government requires  differentiated costs for both modes of delivery during the application phase.

If a project application does not include a virtual secondary location, Western Sydney University can seek a variation to allow virtual delivery.

Project partners

The Government has advised that universities must exercise due diligence in their choice of partners, including investigating partners’ bona fides, systems and safeguards (for example, risk management and child protection) and capacity to comply with relevant NCP Guidelines. Universities should consider how their projects will impact local communities. For example, students paying to volunteer can lead to demand–driven activities in disadvantaged communities. Applicants whose projects include volunteering overseas should read DFAT advice on smart volunteering and Smartraveller advice on responsible volunteering.

Western Sydney International (WSI) is responsible for the assessment and screening of all proposed international programs and partnerships across the University. WSI maintains ongoing partnerships with institutions and providers around the world. Relevant information can be found via the links below:

For further advice, contact the Western Sydney University New Colombo Plan International Liaison, Steven McDonald.

Mobility Private Sector Partnerships

Australian Universities are encouraged to develop mobility private sector partnerships with private sector organisations in Australia and the region to create or expand opportunities for NCP Mobility Program students to
build linkages and develop relationships that support the aims of the NCP. For example:

  • financial sponsorship as a cash contribution to a mobility project offered by a private sector
    organisation, and/or
  • in-kind sponsorship through the provision of goods or services free of charge by a private
    sector organisation for use in the Mobility project (that otherwise would have required payment of a
    fee). This may include private sector organisations providing students access to resources or
    learning and development opportunities.

Mobility private sector partnerships should demonstrate genuine institutional linkages that
contribute to building relationships in the Indo-Pacific. They do not include contributions provided
by Australian universities, host institutions, or service providers (paid a fee for supporting elements
of a Mobility Project).

Priority Themes

The Government encourages universities to consider the following themes when preparing project applications:

  • tackling shared challenges with the Indo-Pacific, such as communicable disease, cybersecurity, climate change and regional stability
  • embracing innovation and new ways of working, such as clean energy, e-commerce, and tele-health and engineering
  • building capacity in areas such as education, health, transport, environmental management and governance
  • increasing trade and investment opportunities, and recovery from COVID-19.

Lessons from Previous Rounds

Applications that were unsuccessful in previous rounds often lacked specific detail of project activities. The applications did not indicate how links with the Indo-Pacific (institution and peopleto-people) would be sustained beyond the life of the project or did not provide details of efforts to support participation by students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Stronger applications demonstrated the direct links that would be established between Australian institutions and those in the Indo-Pacific (rather than using third party providers) and how relationships would be sustained beyond NCP funding, e.g. through joint research/innovation, reciprocal student/staff mobility, joint delivery of academic programs and alumni engagement.

Applications that proposed the use of Third-Party Providers were often unclear as to how the linkages between Australian and Indo-Pacific institutions would be sustained beyond NCP funding. Applications that established direct relationships with Indo-Pacific institutions usually provided stronger evidence that these links would be sustained.

What defines a strong application for the NCP Mobility Program?

Mobility project applications that scored well in previous rounds:

  • clearly and concisely addressed all elements of each relevant assessment criterion, and
  • provided practical examples to demonstrate how the project meets the assessment criteria
    and will achieve the NCP objectives.
    • a) Project summary: A clear, comprehensive project description, outlining the project’s objectives and rationale, with practical examples of project activities, and the lessons learned from previous engagement, will enable assessors to understand the project and provide a more informed assessment.
    • b) Selection criteria: Applicants should address all elements of the assessment criteria and provide practical examples. Strong applications demonstrate: 
      • clear understanding of the New Colombo Plan’s strategic objectives and outcomes and explain how a project will meet those objectives.
      • direct links that will be established between Australian institutions and those in the Indo-Pacific (rather than using third party providers) and
      • how relationships will be sustained beyond NCP funding, e.g. through joint
        research/innovation, reciprocal student/staff mobility, joint delivery of academic programs and alumni engagement.

Applications were assessed more highly if they explained/justified the choice of host location and showed an appreciation of the local context. For example, articulation of what Australian students will gain by studying/interning in a particular country/location/institution.

2. NCP Application Selection Criteria

You must address all assessment criteria in the application. Each criterion has equal weighting (25%).

Criterion 1: High quality education experience

Describe the educational value of the mobility project, including learning outcomes relevant to the courses participating students are undertaking at their home university. What competencies will students develop through this mobility experience?
(maximum 300 words)
You should outline how the academic quality standards of the home university will be applied to the Mobility project, and how participation in the course will contribute to core learning outcomes of participating students.

Criterion 2: Deepen people-to-people and institutional linkages

Describe how the proposed Mobility project will:
(a) establish new and/or deepen people-to-people and institutional partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, and
(b) build and sustain these linkages over time.
 (maximum 300 words)
You should provide practical examples of how the proposed mobility project promotes the NCP strategic objective and outcomes through the engagement of students, universities, the private sector and other stakeholders; and how these partnerships provide strategic opportunities for enhanced engagement (for example, research collaborations). Responses should also outline how the partnerships (both Mobility private sector partnerships as per section 5.4, and other partnerships) will continue and be sustained in the future, including detailing any current or planned partnership agreements (such as MoUs). Responses should outline any steps to ensure that the mobility project will continue to operate in the future (after any NCP funding ceases).
Priority will be given to applications that demonstrate practical measures to develop deep and lasting relationships between Australian universities and partner institutions in the Indo-Pacific.

Criterion 3: Broadening participation and promoting the New Colombo Plan

Describe how the Mobility project will support participation by a diverse range of Australian students and promote the NCP in Australia and overseas.
(maximum 300 words)
Responses should describe steps to encourage and support the participation of a diverse range of students in the mobility project. You should demonstrate a well-considered plan (including details of activities) on how the proposed Mobility project will be promoted in Australia and in the host location to build awareness of the NCP, its strategic objective and outcomes, and the benefits of study and internships in the Indo-Pacific.

Criterion 4: Sound management of Mobility Projects

Describe how your institution has successfully implemented a similar project, managing risks during disruptive events and achieving lasting linkages with the Indo-Pacific.
(maximum 300 words)
Provide practical examples of how the Home university successfully managed a similar mobility project which contributed to the objectives of the NCP. Include details of how the project managed student welfare, its approach to risk management and safety precaution, and its approach to monitoring and compliance with safeguards principles (including child protection, the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and environment and social safeguards). Reference to safeguard’s principles include a reference to the Home University’s own policies and if the project was funded by DFAT, to DFAT’s relevant policies that applied to the project.

4. Applying for NCP Funding

5. Projects Funded by the NCP

If a project has received a formal offer from the Australian Government, go to the Guidelines for Learning Abroad Experiences.

6. Timeline Round 2022

June 2021Initial Registration Form opens
June 2021Online applications for New Colombo Plan Mobility Program open. Note: access to system is provided up to 48 hours after initial registration
1 August 2021Initial Registration Form closes
8 August 2021

Final deadline for WSU staff to submit their online applications via the Australian Government's platform ISEO

8 August 2021NCP Project Applications are forwarded to the Schools for ranking.
15 August 2021

Schools return ranked applications to Western Sydney International (WSI).

22 August 2021

NCP Project Applications will be forwarded to the PVC-I and DVC for consideration.

30 August 2021

Final submission to the Australian Government.

NCP Mobility Program closed

September-October 2021Applications assessed and reviewed by the Australian Government.
November 2021Funding decisions formalised and offer to Applicants made by the Australian Government.

Further Information