The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have announced 26 new research projects in Asia funded through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program a joint initiative designed to foster collaborative global research. Through this competitive grants program, USAID directly supports researchers in developing countries who work with U.S. government-funded U.S. scientists.
Two of new projects are funded by USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia and will strengthen regional biodiversity research networks and enhance coordinated data collection and monitoring to inform development and policy interventions.
The first, which will support researchers in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, as well as the Mekong River Commission, builds on a previous PEER award in Vietnam and focuses on understanding the impacts of hydropower and climate chance on Mekong River fisheries to enable better fisheries management of economically and ecologically important fish species. The second, also with a transnational research team spanning Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, will develop a biodiversity research network for coordinated data collection and training, as well as a DNA database for key species that are subject to illegal wildlife trade.
“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.”
Globally, new PEER awards total approximately $8.5 million, and allow U.S. and developing country scientists to collaborate on a variety of crucial research areas. This year’s PEER global 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. The PEER portfolio includes 46 ongoing projects in Asia, in addition to the newly announced awards. The fourth call for PEER proposals is expected to be announced in early October 2014.
USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia is a regional office which implements programs and generates partnerships with government, civil society, private sector and regional institutions across 24 Asian nations to address critical development challenges in areas like the environment and natural resources management, disaster risk reduction and infectious diseases that cross national borders. USAID’s regional office also works to protect and empower vulnerable populations and to strengthen regional institutions to ensure that economic growth in Asia brings with it greater food security, environmental protections and gender equality in civil society.
Source: USAID Asia