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Applicant Resources

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Can a U.S. principal investigator be listed as the partner on more than one PEER proposal? 

Yes, provided he or she has sufficient time to devote to the collaborations.

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The information included in this section is relevant to applicants to the PEER program in general.  The country-specific focus areas have specific eligibility requirements and applicants are encouraged to review eligibility criteria under specific focus areas of interest. Additional information can also be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  
PEER Applicant Eligibility  
Applicants who submit pre-proposals to PEER must be based at an academic institution, non-profit organization, or government-managed research laboratory, center, or institute in a PEER-eligible country. (For Pakistan only, applicants can only be based at an NGO. Researchers based at Pakistani universities and government-managed research institutes are not eligible.)

PEER applicants must hold a career-track position or equivalent at their respective institution or organization. Applicants should be living and working in the country from which they are applying and should be nationals (citizens or permanent residents) of the PEER-eligible country for the focus area to which they are applying.

Researchers from non-eligible countries and employees of for-profit firms in PEER-eligible countries may participate in projects using their own resources but are not permitted to serve as PIs, as PEER awards will not be issued to such organizations. All institutions will be vetted to determine compliance with USAID policies for receipt of funds. PEER awards will be issued to institutions or organizations, not to individuals. Female applicants are encouraged to apply.

PIs of currently active PEER awards are not eligible to apply to serve as PIs or co-PIs in future cycles of PEER until their first funded project has been successfully completed. For the current cycle of the program (Cycle 8), this successful completion date must be prior to September 1, 2019.

Prior PEER awardees who re-apply for PEER funding must justify how their proposal is distinct from their prior PEER award and/or how the proposed work builds on previous PEER work to address new research questions.

PEER Applicant Eligibility Summary
  • National or resident of a PEER-eligible country
  • Meets country-specific eligibility criteria for focus area to which applying
  • Affiliated with and permanently based at an academic institution, non-profit organization, government-managed research laboratory, or relevant government ministry in a PEER-eligible country (learn more about eligible countries by visiting each focus area)
USG-Supported Partner Eligibility

PEER applicants are required to partner with a U.S. Government (USG)-supported researcher from one of the following agencies:
  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • United States Forest Service (USFS)
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)
USG-supported partners may either be intramural researchers (employees of one of the listed agencies) or serve as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator of an active USG-funded research award. The role of the USG-supported partner is to provide complementary expertise and skills to the PEER project, but the USG-supported partner’s research experience does not need to directly overlap. While partnerships are generally based on topical or disciplinary similarities, many PEER partnerships also provide access to specific methodologies or instrumentation otherwise unavailable to the PEER applicant. Proposals should demonstrate the benefits of the PEER research partnership to the USG-supported partner as well as the PEER PI.

PEER pre-proposals are not accepted from U.S.-based researchers.

In order to be eligible, the USG-supported partner’s funding award or agency employment status must be active at the time of the pre-proposal submission deadline, February 13, 2019.

The pre-proposal application requires a brief letter of support from the USG-supported partner. For more information on USG co-PIs see the Partner Eligibility section of the Frequently Asked Questions on the PEER website.

New for Cycle 8: Although PEER funds may not be used to cover salary for the USG-supported partner or other members of his or her project team (colleagues, students, technicians, etc.), applicants to PEER Cycle 8 are allowed and encouraged to request limited support to travel expenses for the partner and team members. This requested support cannot exceed 10% of the total budget for the PEER project. These funds generally will be managed by the PEER PI’s institution and not awarded directly to the U.S. institution.

To learn more about which researchers are eligible to participate as USG-supported partners and to find instructions for requesting a partner, applicants are encouraged to explore the website section “Find a USG-Supported Partner.

USG-Supported Partner Eligibility Summary
  • Primary PI or co-PI of an active research award from a USG agency participating in the PEER program or intramural researcher employed by such an agency. In order to be eligible, the USG-supported partner’s funding award or agency employment status must be active at the time of the pre-proposal submission deadline, February 13, 2019.
  • PI or co-PI meets agency specific eligibility criteria
  • USG-supported partner’s expertise aligns with and contributes to the PEER proposal 
To help PEER applicants find a USG-supported partner, each participating agency has provided links to either:

(a) a searchable database of active awards (NSF, NIH);
(b) a searchable database of agency staff eligible to participate as PEER partners (USGS);
(c) searchable databases of agency staff and recipients of active awards eligible to participate as PEER partners (ARS, NIFA, USFS); 
(d) a list of scientists eligible to participate as PEER partners and their contacts (Smithsonian Institution, NASA); or
(e) a point of contact who can be reached to identify potential partners (NOAA).  

Intramural researchers at NIH are also eligible to participate as PEER partners, although their work may not be captured in the NIH Reporter database.

For more details on how to find a USG-supported partner, applicants should explore the "Find a USG-Supported Partner" page.

Types of Research Activities Supported by PEER

The type of projects that can be supported in PEER Cycle 8 have narrowed significantly from the types of projects supported in previous cycles. For all focus areas this year (Last Mile Awards and Family Planning and Reproductive Health), the program is supporting only projects designed to achieve substantial impacts in a period of one year, with the possibility of no more than a six-month no-cost extension. Proposals focused on basic scientific research, data gathering, general research training, or infrastructural capacity building without clear relevance to the PEER Cycle 8 call or to USAID development objectives will not be eligible for PEER funding and will not be reviewed.

Following are some points highlighting key changes in the types of projects PEER will support in Cycle 8. These points apply to all of the focus areas for 2018/2019.
  • The projects must be carried out by a multi-sectoral team that includes at least one member from outside the PI’s field. For example if you are a physical science researcher, you could include a social scientist or maybe add an economist to the project, a communications specialist, or any other expert in another field who would bring a broader perspective to the proposed work.
  • Applicants must propose a diverse set of stakeholders to approach with interventions/research results including researchers, policy specialists, NGO representatives, government officials, etc., a clear plan of using data for action on policy or programmatic matters, and a plan for stakeholder engagement, including communication strategies. How will these engagements accelerate stakeholders towards action?
  • Training and convening should only be a small part of these awards. Proposals should explain how participants will use data to affect real change in decision-making barrier in one year. Some ways research results can be used for action would be by working with the local community or the media and applying targeted communications strategies. We expect training, convening, and capacity building to move beyond simply meeting with officials to present findings.
  • Proposals must clearly articulate the need or demand motivating this particular project. Have government officials, international organizations, the community, or other stakeholders expressed interest in finding solutions for specific problems for which evidence-based input would be useful? If not, applicants must outline why and how they will create and/or leverage opportunities to create demand in under one year. Although documentation of this need/demand is not required at the pre-proposal stage, it is strongly encouraged. Applicants invited to submit full proposals will need to submit such documentation with their full proposals.
  • Proposals should include a plan for leveraging the resources of the USG-supported partner, monetarily or otherwise, keeping in mind that up to 10% of the project budget can be requested to support travel costs for the partner and/or relevant U.S.-based colleagues. Requesting travel funds for the USG-supported partner is not required.
Examples of research related activities that PEER Cycle 8 will support include, but are not limited to the following:
  • Testing a proven idea or implementing a known successful intervention in a new country context. Applicants must have already shown success on a small scale and be ready to test it out on a larger scale.
  • Implementing proven results through behavior change studies and initiation
  • Using social/behavioral science to develop a plan for getting people to use proven a treatment or approach.
  • Rapidly generating data for an impending decision by local or regional actors (at a critical inflection point like the opening of new lands, policy changes, changes of power, etc.).
  • Generating critical baseline data or building on government goals or expressed interest for specific data.
  • Aligning with a larger USG effort with development impacts requiring local context, knowledge, and connections.
  • Building a coalition to learn how and why a policy or practice worked or did not work and proposing lessons learned or policy recommendations.
  • Identifying social barriers to the uptake of interventions or policy changes, etc. discovered by societal outreach and education around improved interventions, science literacy, and science policy literacy.
  • Funding citizen science projects and other crowd-engagement research that support Public Access and Open Data approaches.
  • Using publicly available data to do secondary analysis and show community impact or policy options.
  • Partnering with local NGOs to train communities, perform outreach, or engage residents around science research education and science literacy.
  • Building on NGO initiatives with clear government interest and potential support at the local level.
There are some categories of research that PEER will NOT support:
  • Implementation projects that lack a strong research component
  • Dissertation or master’s work of the PEER Principal Investigator (however, justified costs for students supported under the award are allowable)
  • Training programs, workshops, or conferences that are not tied to the proposed research project
  • Randomized control trials (RCTs) for biomedical interventions such as vaccines, drugs, etc.
  • Research conducted principally in the United States
  • Research led by the USG-supported partner
  • Projects that are not likely to yield any impact in low- and middle-income countries
  • Basic research not directly linked to potential impacts outlined above
  • Approaches that present unacceptable ethical or safety risks
Please review the Frequently Asked Questions for additional details or email with other eligibility questions.