SYNOPSIS OF PROGRAM AND BACKGROUND
In 2003, the Governments of Pakistan and the United States (U.S.) signed a comprehensive Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement that established a framework to increase cooperation in science, technology, engineering and education for mutual benefit and peaceful purposes between the science and education communities in both countries. In 2005, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) joined with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan to support the joint Pakistan-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Program. Beginning in 2008, the United States Department of State (DOS) joined USAID as U.S. co-sponsor of the program. Most recently on October 23, 2013, both governments signed a renewal of this agreement effective until 2018. This program, which is being implemented by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the U.S. side, is intended to increase the strength and breadth of cooperation and linkages between Pakistan scientists and institutions with counterparts in the United States.
Projects funded under this solicitation should contribute to building capacity in Pakistan and strengthening U.S.-Pakistan cooperative relationships in one or more of the following ways:
- Enhancing the ability of Pakistan's science and technology community to spur human and economic development.
- Improving the quality, relevance, or capacity of education and research at Pakistani institutions of higher education in the field of science and technology.
- Increasing the capacity of Pakistani research institutions to support industry competitiveness.
Proposals should clearly explain how the project would facilitate capacity building at the institutional level in Pakistan. Projects that would only enhance the capabilities of their individual participants, with no demonstrated broader impact, will be at much lower priority for funding.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the lists of projects funded in the 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2012 phases to gain a better understanding of the types of activities supported under this program. Additional weight will be given to projects that demonstrate a clear strategy for uptake or adoption of research outputs, including via further investment by the public or private sectors. Projects involving female scientists and students (graduate and undergraduate) are especially encouraged.
Each country has contributed funds to support projects under this program that would enhance the ability of the science and technology community to positively contribute to human and economic development in Pakistan.
In the five phases of the program carried out since 2005, a total of 83 projects have been funded. Lists of all projects selected to date may be accessed at this website. The U.S.-side budgets of the grants have ranged from $40,000 for a one-year project to $350,000 for three-year projects. On the Pakistani side, budgets have ranged from $30,000 to $500,000.
Applicants are reminded that priority is given to projects in which the main locus of activity is in Pakistan, not the United States, so budgets should be allocated accordingly.
PROGRAM FOCAL AREAS
The program welcomes proposals across a wide range of topics, including but not limited to education, health, nutrition, water/sanitation, agriculture, democracy and governance, environment, energy (especially renewable forms), social sciences, and economic development.
As part of the current call for proposals, we are pleased to offer a special opportunity for proposals focused on technology transfer, entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization. Proposals submitted in response to this special focus area should be designed to (1) build the capacity of university and public sector researchers and technology entrepreneurs to connect with the private sector to support technology commercialization; (2) identify new technologies with potential market value; (3) scale up a prototype or process for full-scale production; or (4) provide training and mentorship on technology transfer, administration, and other relevant functions related to technology development and commercialization. Private companies may not apply or receive funding, but may participate as partners on projects.
TYPES OF ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED
Applicants may request support for collaborative research grants, which may be focused on any topic listed in this solicitation, but the program especially welcomes proposals relevant to technology transfer and commercialization as described above. Investigators may receive no more than one grant in a given phase of the program.
Although workshops may be organized as part of proposed collaborative research projects, the program does not accept proposals solely requesting support for the costs of organizing a workshop. Researchers interested in organizing such events in Pakistan may wish to consider the opportunities offered by Pakistan Science Foundation or HEC’s program of Grants for Organizing Seminars, Conferences, Symposiums, and Workshops (details are posted at http://www.hec.gov.pk/InsideHEC/Divisions/RND/ConferencesandMeetings/GOSCSW/Pages/Default.aspx).
PI ELIGIBILITY LIMIT: Proposals are to be developed by partnerships that should include at least one Pakistani partner and one U.S. partner. Pakistani partners must be based at a Pakistani university or research institute officially recognized by HEC (please consult the list posted at http://beta.hec.gov.pk/OurInstitutes/Pages/Default.aspx). Projects involving participants from only one country (Pakistan or the United States) are ineligible and will not be reviewed. In developing proposals, proposing partners are urged to take advantage of the widest range of Pakistani talent capable of contributing to the achievement of objectives. In particular, partners should explain in their proposals how they will encourage the participation of women and ensure that they are provided equal opportunities for involvement in the proposed projects, whether as co-investigators, post-doctoral researchers, students, trainees, or workshop participants.
TOPICAL ELIGIBILITY LIMIT: Due to U.S. government regulations, the program cannot fund research involving “testing or breeding, feasibility study, variety improvement or introduction, consultancy, publication, or training in connection with the growth or production [of a crop] in a foreign country for export if such export would compete in world markets with a similar commodity grown or produced in the United States." Before preparing their proposals, applicants intending to submit proposals involving research on citrus crops, sugar cane, or cotton are advised to e-mail a brief explanation of their proposed projects to firstname.lastname@example.org for an advance determination of eligibility by program staff in consultation with USAID and DOS.
ANTICIPATED TYPE OF AWARD: Requests for funding can vary in amount and length but should not exceed three years. In order to achieve significant progress towards one of the program objectives, proposals are generally expected to involve multiple individuals and contribute to building strengths of key institutions in Pakistan. Project funding for collaborative research grants is generally expected to be in the range of $100,000 to $500,000 (combined total for the Pakistani and U.S. partner institutions). Capital costs for the construction of new buildings will not be covered. Salary costs for senior individual participants are expected to be covered from other sources, but salary support for junior team members and technical support staff may be included as appropriate. An annual progress report will be required. Continuing-year funding of multi-year projects will be contingent upon a merit-based annual evaluation of progress.
Proposals should include all activities and costs necessary to achieve the results stated in the application. Leveraging of resources is encouraged; therefore, the entire cost of the project should be included. Applicants are required to disclose any other funding received or applied for from other sources that would support the proposed project.
Projects funded through this solicitation will not be given any preference for funding under future USAID-supported programs.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Proposals will be evaluated in separate peer review processes organized by the Pakistani and U.S. sponsors according to 1) relevance to the goals enumerated above under “Program Objectives,” 2) the scientific and technical merit of the proposal, 3) the cost-effectiveness of the project, 4) the capabilities of the participating institutions and individuals to successfully complete the project, and 5) the nature and quality of the collaboration, including the demonstrated commitment of the proposing partners to ensuring the participation of women in the project. Final funding decisions will be reached by consensus among the Pakistani and U.S. sponsors.