Drought and disease know no political boundaries. Meeting complex, regional challenges requires cooperation across borders. Scientists across the Middle East and North Africa are using science and technology to tackle core development challenges and overcome resource constraints. Engaging with the vibrant scientific community and innovation ecosystem in Israel, multi-national teams of researchers are generating new knowledge and leading developments in agriculture, environment, water resources, and health. 

The Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) Program was established in 1981 to facilitate research collaboration between Egyptian and Israeli scientists following the signing of the Camp David Accords. Since 1993, the program has expanded to include researchers from the broader Middle East and North Africa region.

Today, at a time of continuous change in the MENA region, MERC brings together scientists and students to create and share solutions to regional development challenges while promoting a peaceful exchange between neighbors.


  • Promote cooperation and cultural exchange between regional scientists.
  • Encourage innovation by inviting open-topic research proposals that allow regional investigators work on problems most relevant to them.
  • Focus on training students and early career scientists by encouraging exchanges between Israel and the broader MENA region.
  • Utilize peer review by U.S. scientists to ensure unbiased, thorough evaluation of research proposals.
  • Conduct targeted outreach and foster intentional partnerships to extend beneficial research results into the communities that will benefit the most.

Project Examples

Learn about past and current research projects USAID has funded through MERC.


Learn about the MERC funding process

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