The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is exploring new opportunities to use science and technology to meet the world’s development challenges.  As part of its science and technology strategy, USAID is supporting various mechanisms to leverage the investments that other U.S. government agencies make in scientific research and training.  In this context, USAID, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), have launched Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Science.  PEER Science 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 their NSF-funded collaborators.  Areas in which both NSF and USAID have strong mutual interests include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Food security topics such as agricultural development, fisheries, and plant genomics
  • Climate change impacts such as water sustainability, hydrology, ocean acidification, climate process and modeling, and environmental engineering
  • Other development topics including disaster mitigation, biodiversity, water, and renewable energy 

Proposals in these topical areas of interest may be submitted by applicants based in any of the 85 full PEER Science-eligible countries.  Additionally, PEER Science invites proposals from applicants in the following specific countries or working on the following topical areas, for which USAID missions and offices have allocated resources to foster science and development goals: IndonesiaBiodiversity Conservation and Clean Energy in the PhilippinesWater for Asia and the Middle East and North AfricaBuilding Biodiversity Research Networks in ASEANMaldives Climate Change AdaptationBiodiversity Conservation in BrazilForestry and Climate Change in India, and Power Africa.

When writing their proposals, developing country applicants should consider how their proposed research and/or capacity building activities will contribute to USAID’s development objectives.  Collaborative projects involving multiple developing countries that explore regional issues related to these development objectives are encouraged.  Pending the availability of funds and the receipt of meritorious proposals, the majority of PEER Science funding will be awarded to projects related to the USAID development areas of interest specified above.  Applicants are encouraged to consult the list of projects funded in Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 of PEER Science and in the special PEER-PIRE 2012 cycle for examples of the topics and types of projects supported.  Proposals focused on basic science topics without clear relevance to USAID development objectives are strongly discouraged.  In addition, no health-related research will be supported under PEER Science.  Researchers working on health-related topics may wish to explore opportunities offered by the PEER Health Program.

PEER Science is designed to leverage NSF funds awarded to U.S. researchers with funds from USAID that can be distributed to developing country researchers so that both sides have the resources they need to work together productively.  Therefore, research projects proposed under PEER Science must be collaborative in nature and must complement research goals specified in the NSF award, as well as the technical and developmental goals of USAID.  Examples of the types of activities that may be funded under PEER Science include education and training; technology dissemination; application and adaptation of new technologies; support for students, postdoctoral associates, and researchers; international travel; communications; equipment, materials, and supplies for developing country institutions; and research networks.

The program will consider a limited number of workshops on innovative or novel areas of research in which NSF-funded projects intersect with USAID’s development interests.  These workshops must be designed to help create new research collaborations between U.S. and developing country researchers, so proposals requesting support for workshops must clearly explain how they would lead to sustained research partnerships.

PEER Science is being implemented by the National Academies, 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 Science will be issued at least annually, with details to be posted at

For further information, please review the full PEER Science program solicitation.

The program staff are available to answer questions at

Website: PEER Science Program Solicitation and Instructions

Source:  The National Academies