USAID Launches U.S. Global Development Lab to Help End Extreme Poverty by 2030

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 4, 2014

BANGKOK, April 4, 2014 -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today launched the U.S. Global Development Lab, a broad partnership with universities and the private sector that will support innovative solutions in water, health, food security and nutrition, energy, education, and climate change aimed at reaching at least 200 million people in the next five years.

As part of this new initiative, USAID is also increasing the number of scientists and technology experts in the Agency, including 65 fellows from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Reflecting the proven impact of science and innovation, USAID has increased its investments. In 2008, USAID spent roughly $127 million to support research and development. Today, the Agency spends $611 million—not only on research, but also on innovation and applied solutions in science and technology.

“To solve our most intractable development challenges, USAID has established a new way of working, bringing on board the best and brightest staff and new partners, all working in concert to help end extreme poverty,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said at the public launch event in New York City. “The Lab will engage a global community of inventors, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate leaders in science and technology to invent, test, and scale the most promising and cost effective solutions to end extreme poverty.”

The launch event featured a keynote address by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been a strong supporter of the use of science, innovation, and partnerships to further U.S development goals. A U.S. Global Development Lab was a key recommendation made in the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, a sweeping evaluation led by then-Secretary Hillary Clinton to redefine diplomacy and development to deliver results for the American people. Secretary of State John Kerry has continued to underscore the importance of science, technology, and innovation as cornerstones of the American economy and invaluable tools for engaging our foreign partners.

Administrator Shah also announced a new USAID Research and Innovation Fellowships program, which, this year, will send more than 60 accomplished, young U.S. leaders in science, technology and innovation to apply their technical expertise to work on development challenges at universities, research institutions, NGOs, and private sector companies in 12 developing countries.

The Lab’s Cornerstone Partners include a large cross-section of corporations: Cargill, Cisco, Citi, Coca-Cola, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, Syngenta, Unilever, and Walmart; civil society organizations and foundations: Care, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, Global Impact Investing Network, Plan, Save the Children, the Skoll Foundation, World Vision, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Smithsonian Institution; universities: The University of California at Berkeley, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute, Texas A&M University, and the College of William and Mary; and a bilateral donor: Sweden.

These partners bring cutting-edge technologies, advanced research and development capabilities, far-reaching networks of customers, suppliers and community organizations, and more than $30 billion in independent investments in emerging markets through science, technology, innovation and partnerships.

USAID in Asia promotes several key science and technology activities that promote resilience, address poverty, and help governments access information they need to promote development for their people.  For example, this week, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and USAID, in partnership with the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, initiated the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Pilot Program. The pilot program supports eight scientists as they work for one year in their home country ministries to expand the use of science and technology to analyze existing data for more informed decision making.  

USAID is also testing mobile technology solutions to development challenges in several countries to better reach target groups with improved information and encourage greater participation in decision-making.

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Last updated: October 06, 2014

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