Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the U.S. Government’s preeminent foreign assistance agency. The agency is dedicated to helping nations meet the needs of their citizens by providing health-care, education, and economic opportunity to end extreme poverty and promote democratic, resilient societies. The U.S. Global Development Lab (The Lab) at USAID is bringing together a diverse set of partners to discover, test, and scale breakthrough solutions to address critical challenges in international development. A key element of this strategy is the support of scientific and technological research through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program. PEER is a competitive grants program that invites scientists in developing countries to apply for funds to support research and capacity-building activities on topics of importance to USAID and conducted in partnership with U.S. Government-funded partners.
Through PEER, the Lab leverages investments by other U.S. government agencies in scientific research and training in order to enhance the development priorities of USAID. U.S. Government-funded partners must be investigators who will contribute to the scientific merit and impact of PEER projects through expertise, skills, methodologies, laboratory access, and synergies with ongoing projects.
Beginning with the current solicitation, PEER has consolidated PEER Health and PEER Science into one unified PEER Program. Additionally, the program is extending its reach across the U.S. science community to include the following partner agencies: NASA, NIH, NSF, Smithsonian, USDA, and USGS. This exciting opportunity expands the scope of research supported under PEER and creates more opportunities for cross-disciplinary and multi-sectoral research collaborations. The new PEER program will include the submission of a pre-proposal. Selected pre-proposal applicants will be invited to submit full proposals in early 2015.
Role of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
PEER is implemented by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which will manage the proposal review process and disburse and monitor grants awarded. Beyond the current program cycle, it is expected that solicitations for PEER will be issued annually in the Fall.
U.S. Government Agency Partners
The PEER program aims to leverage U.S. Government scientific investment in R&D to support USAID’s development goals in priority countries. For this reason, developing country researchers are required to partner with a U.S. Government-funded researcher in order to apply for a PEER award. Through these partnerships, PEER applicants benefit from the skills, laboratory access, and other resources of their U.S. Government-supported partner. Both the PEER applicant and the U.S. Government-supported researcher benefit from one another’s expertise, and partner on truly collaborative research.
The following federal agencies have entered into an agreement with USAID and are participating in the PEER program. With some exceptions, researchers supported by these agencies are considered eligible as U.S. Government-supported partners. Additional eligibility requirements apply for each agency; please see the USG Partner Eligibility section for additional information on U.S. government supported partner’s criteria. Further information on U.S. Government agencies participating in the PEER program can also be found on each agency’s homepage.
• National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - NASA’s vision is “to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.,” Within the Earth Science Division, NASA aims to “advance knowledge of Earth as a system to meet the challenges of environmental change and to improve life on our planet”
• National Institutes of Health (NIH) - NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.
• National Science Foundation (NSF) - NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense.” NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering.
• Smithsonian Institution – The Smithsonian’s mission is to increase the diffusion of knowledge through a focus on discovery, creativity, excellence diversity, integrity, and service. Smithsonian science examines some of the world’s most complex—and time-sensitive—problems. Whether they are protecting imperiled natural resources, assessing the consequences of climate change or keeping aircraft safe from bird strikes, Smithsonian scientists apply what they learn to improve the quality—and quantity—of life on Earth. More than 500 Smithsonian staff scientists, augmented by an equal number of fellows and hundreds of international collaborators, conduct research in field stations and laboratories on all seven continents and serve as national and international experts in a wide scope of disciplines including anthropology, astronomy, biology, geology, and paleontology.
• United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
• United States Geological Survey (USGS) - The USGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.