NSF and USAID announce global research collaboration awardees
39 new projects will use science and engineering to address global development challenges
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced 39 new research projects that advance the scientific and technical capacity of both the United States and countries in critical areas of development.
The projects, spanning 23 countries, are funded through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Science 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 NSF-funded U.S. scientists.
"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."
These new awards total approximately $6 million and allow scientists to collaborate on a variety of crucial research areas, such as glacier retreat and water resource sustainability, biodiversity conservation, biogas production, drought and climate change mitigation and pollution remediation. PEER Science awardees were selected from nearly 300 high-quality proposals and represent more than $67.3 million of leveraged NSF funding through collaborations with their U.S. counterparts.
Since its launch in 2011, PEER has supported more than 150 projects in more than 40 countries, an investment of about $18 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 39 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.
"We are thrilled to watch the network of PEER researchers grow," 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 in support of USAID's development objectives, but also in strengthening the research capacity and capabilities of the researcher communities in countries where we work, in turn strengthening our connection to local expertise."
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.