For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the first round of developing country Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) awards.
The PEER program awarded its initial cycle of research collaboration grants to support and build scientific and technical capacity in the developing world. PEER is a USAID-funded competitive grants program that is being administered by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in coordination with NSF.
NAS convened review panels of topical experts who evaluated nearly 500 applications from 63 developing countries. Among these, 41 projects from 25 countries were selected based on scientific merit, projected development impact within country and the prospects for strength of collaboration between developing country scientists and their American counterparts. Project duration ranges from one to three years with budgets from $27,000 to $300,000 per total award. USAID's share is over $4.8 million dollars of investment in science and technology for development, which leverages over $46 million of NSF-funded research.
Examples of successful PEER proposals include:
- Developing translation software to convert spoken Arabic to Moroccan sign language
- Studying marine biodiversity in Indonesia and the Philippines
- Assessing landslide risk in Lebanon
- Analyzing climate change impacts in Colombia and Ecuador
- Addressing drinking water quality in Kenya
"These research projects take on big questions at the intersections of science and development- from studies of environmental change in Sri Lanka and Peru, to modelling geohazards in Bangladesh and the Caucuses, to dealing with soil conservation and water retention in Ethiopia, " said Alex Dehgan, Science and Technology Advisor to the Administrator of USAID. "These problems aren't unique to developing countries. PEER builds global cooperation around issues that affect developing countries abroad, and Americans at home and levels the playing field for scientists in developing countries by providing funding for their research, their labs, and their students. We recognize that the best ideas come from shared collaboration where both sides can learn from each other."
Last updated: April 29, 2015