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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) today announce 46 new research projects that advance the scientific and technical capacity of both the United States and partner countries in critical areas of development. The projects, spanning 23 countries, are funded through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program, a joint initiative designed to foster collaborative global research. Through the competitively awarded program, USAID directly supports researchers in developing countries who work with U.S. government-funded researchers.
“We are very pleased to expand the network of PEER researchers,” said Andrew Sisson, acting executive director of the U.S. Global Development Lab at USAID. “The promise of PEER lies not only in the discovery of new data and knowledge to achieve development objectives, but also in strengthening the research capacity of the researcher communities in countries where we work, in turn strengthening ties with the United States.”
These new awards total approximately $8.5 million, and allow scientists to collaborate on a variety of crucial research areas, such as maternal and child health, glacier retreat and water resource sustainability, biodiversity conservation, biogas production, drought and climate change mitigation, and pollution remediation. PEER awardees were selected from over 300 high-quality proposals and represent more than $74 million of leveraged NSF and NIH funding through collaborations with their U.S.-funded counterparts.
Since its launch in 2011, PEER has supported more than 150 projects in over 40 countries, an investment of about $28 million. Previous awardees are already seeing positive impacts from their projects: development of integrated humanitarian logistics systems in Colombia, improved yam seed systems in Nigeria, reduced exposure to arsenic and fluoride in groundwater in India, and assessment of volcanic hazards in Armenia.
The 46 new PEER awards include a project in East Africa that will map multiple geothermal areas and identify new forms of geothermal activity across Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya. The project will work to build a strong regional framework for scientific and technological exchange, while empowering and educating local pastoral communities. For the first time, USAID and NCI are supporting 3 of the collaborative research proposals jointly that address challenges in maternal/ neonatal health and tobacco. Health awards in Indonesia will generate critical evidence that address prenatal exposure to household tobacco and preterm/low birth weight outcomes. In the Philippines, research will focus on the impacts of tobacco use on childhood TB outcomes. A complete list of award recipients is available here.
“Science does not stop at the border, or at the water’s edge,” said Jessica Robin, NSF program director for PEER. “As PEER continues to grow, both the U.S. scientific community and our foreign partners benefit. The program supports fertile collaborations that advance scientific knowledge, and have the potential to improve the lives of people around the world.”
The fourth call for PEER proposals is expected to be announced in early October 2014.
The U.S. Global Development Lab supports breakthrough solutions in water, health, food security and nutrition, energy, education, and climate change, to help end extreme poverty by 2030. The Lab represents a new way of working at USAID, engaging 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.