Federal Science Agencies

The world’s current foreign assistance resources are insufficient to address the major global development problems we face.  To achieve our development goals, USAID must leverage additional resources within the public and private sector across the country.

National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)

NASA and USAID have been collaborating for more than seven years on various technology and development efforts aimed at leveraging both agencies’ technological expertise and assets in addressing international development problems.  On April 25, 2011, Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NASA to formalize the strong partnership between the two agencies and lay the groundwork for further direct collaboration in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), LAUNCH, and the applications of technology solutions to international development problems.

The unparalleled engineering and technical expertise of NASA and USAID’s deep development expertise have combined to produce several activities of great value to both agencies and our constituents. To date, these have included two flagship partnerships:

  • SERVIR is an initiative that applies earth observations and predictive models to support decision-making by government officials, managers, scientists, researchers, students, and the public. Currently, SERVIR addresses eight of the societal benefit areas highlighted by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO): disasters, ecosystems, biodiversity, weather, water, climate, health, and agriculture.  The program maintains regional nodes in Panama City, Panama; Nairobi, Kenya; and Katmandu, Nepal. For more information, visit: http://www.servirglobal.net/
  • LAUNCH is a unique government and private-sector partnership led by USAID and NASA.  Its goal is to identify, support and help take to market creative technologies and other solutions that address global sustainability problems — especially those related to international development. For more information, visit: http://www.launch.org/

The agencies also agreed to explore potential new or expanded collaborations in several areas such as GIS and Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) Education.


National Institutes of Health

To enhance the long collaboration between USAID and NIH, the two agencies over the past two years have achieved a strong level of informal communication, information sharing, and collaboration through staff exchanges, regular meetings, and planning for joint activities.  USAID and NIH staffs have piloted collaborative activities, including the Science for Development meeting in Mali and an Evidence Summit on Protecting Children Outside Family Care.  USAID and NIH staff will continue these successful collaborative activities with a focus on child survival, and further enhance the partnership by developing and implementing a collaborative research grants program called Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research on Health (PEER-Health).


National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

USAID and NOAA are working to establish a formal agreement to re-energize scientific collaboration between the two agencies, build upon a decades-long relationship, and strengthen the shared goals and ongoing dialogue between our agency’s leadership.  To this end, USAID and NOAA hosted a workshop during March 2011 to discuss in detail areas of possible collaboration.  A cooperation committee has formed to work together to create opportunities to deliver on the ideas which came from the workshop which includes data sharing for geospatial analysis and modeling, seminar series, and staff exchanges


National Science Foundation

In July 2011, USAID signed an MOU with the NSF to leverage their respective investments to support collaborative activities between agency personnel, higher education institutions, researchers, faculty, and students in the U.S. and in developing countries.  The initial program under the MOU is the Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) – a collaborative research grants program to directly support developing country investigators who collaborate with NSF-funded U.S. investigators. USAID and NSF have been strong allies, supporting mutual work in the area of science & technology for development.


U.S. Geological Survey

The Agency is at a nascent stage in developing a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Areas of possible collaboration include:

  • Geospatial data for country development;
  • Biodiversity and ecosystems – their sustainability, impacts on human health and economic development and impacts of climate change;
  • Remote sensing for food security, water, human health, and land change –land use;
  • Hazard assessment, mitigation, and response;
  • Resources for development;
  • Water for sustainable development 

Last updated: August 17, 2012

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