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NSF and USAID Jointly Launch PEER Program to Advance Science Collaboration with the Developing World

bridges vol. 30, July 2011 / Noteworthy Information

On July 7, 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new joint program, called Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER).

PEER's goal is to address environmental challenges that affect both the United States and the developing world by reinforcing existing relationships and creating new connections. The PEER program will support competitively selected scientists and students in developing countries who are collaborating with US scientists funded by NSF. These scientists and students, undertaking research in developing countries, bring to the table significant resources, including expertise and equipment. PEER aims to engage host-country scientists and students on topics of importance to USAID and NSF.   

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick - all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest}"The PEER program is a win-win for both agencies," says DeAndra Beck, a program officer in NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) . "NSF benefits because the US scientists and students that we fund are able to achieve better research outcomes when their developing country counterparts participate as true partners in the research collaboration. And, because of these enhanced partnerships, PEER complements NSF's efforts to foster a globally engaged US science and engineering community that has increased awareness of research questions that have relevance to the developing world."

So far, there have been six pilot projects - in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Mali, Kenya, and Burkina Faso - that explore issues related to ecosystems, climate change, seismology, hydrology, and biodiversity.

Project topics will fit under the following designated areas of joint interest:
1. Water-related projects
2. Information Technology
3. Supply Chains
4. Construction Research
5. Food Security
6. Hazard Awareness, Prevention, Mitigation

The ongoing partnership between the NSF and USAID was reflected in a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was signed July 7 by NSF Director Subra Suresh and USAID Administrator Raj Shah.

The memorandum will provide a formal framework for this interagency cooperation which will give US scientists and their developing-country partners the tools needed to engage in robust scientific cooperation, to participate in research efforts in a fully collaborative manner, and, at the end of the day, to advance the frontiers of science and address common challenges for the ultimate benefit of humanity.

How Will PEER Work?


For further information on the PEER program, please visit:

The National Science Foundation:

Science Policy Office:



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