USAID announces Sh1 billion fund to strengthen global scientific community

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) U.S. Global Development Lab has announced the release of more than $10 million (Sh1 billion) in funding for 49 new research partnerships to address critical areas of development across the globe. Funded through the group’s Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program, the individual projects will address gaps in scientific knowledge ranging from disaster preparedness to maternal and child health to food security.

The PEER program has seen countries like Kenya benefit greatly from U.S. support. The 2015 edition of the PEER program supported, among others, American and Kenyan scientists working together as part of East Africa’s strategic efforts to reduce threats to the region’s rich wildlife heritage, including poaching, trafficking, disease, and human-animal conflicts.

“Collaboration is key for accelerating the impact of scientific research on development,” said Ann Mei Chang, USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab. “Through programs like PEER, we help strengthen the global scientific research community by providing opportunities for the best scientific minds to collaborate on crucial development issues.”

PEER provides opportunities for scientists in developing countries to conduct research with their U.S.-funded counterparts, and leverage nearly $90 million (Sh9.1 billion) in existing research awards. The goal of the program is to build capacity among local scientists and research institutions, strengthen research partnerships worldwide, and better translate data and evidence into policy.It is implemented by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

The new awards represent the fifth year of the PEER program. A total of 49 final projects were selected from over 650 proposals.

Since its launch in 2011, PEER has supported more than 200 researchers in over 45 countries, with a total investment of over $50 million (Sh5 billion). In the past year, PEER has piloted new partnerships with National Instruments and General Electric to provide additional research equipment, funds, and facilities to support research.


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