The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced 15 grants to higher education institutions to analyze the impacts of COVID-19 in eight countries around the globe. Selected researchers from USAID partner countries will receive awards of up to $70,000 each – for a total of over $870,000 in funding – and partner with scientists funded by other U.S. government agencies. South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation co-funded five of the 15 COVID-19 research grants to additionally support these grantees.
Research teams identified approaches to help communities and sectors mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and respond to future shocks. These COVID-19 research grants are awarded by the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program, which is implemented by the National Academies for Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Funded research will center around challenges related to COVID-19 in eight countries: Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, Uganda, and Vietnam. The new awards include the following:
- Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected vulnerable fishing communities in the Brazilian Amazon;
- Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on gender-based violence (GBV) among women and girls in informal settlements in Kampala, Uganda and testing technologies to reduce the incidence of GBV;
- Using targeted communication strategies to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; and
- Designing and evaluating a wastewater pathogen monitoring tool to prevent disease outbreaks in Dakar, Senegal.
As part of their PEER awards, research teams participate in the PEER Planning for Research Utilization program hosted by the USAID-funded Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC). The program provides PEER COVID-19 grantees with technical assistance to share research results and encourage governments, civil society, entrepreneurs, and others to use them.
Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID has led the U.S. government’s efforts to vaccinate the world and save lives. PEER research on COVID-19 will support Agency efforts to help partner countries respond to and recover from the pandemic’s widespread secondary effects and take steps to mitigate future pandemic threats.