SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Sciences Foundation (NSF) are working together to support the second cycle of Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Science. PEER Science is a competitive grants program that invites scientists in developing countries to apply for funds to support research and capacity-building activities on topics of importance to USAID and conducted in partnership with their NSF-funded collaborators.
PEER Science is being implemented by the National Academies, which will manage the proposal review process and disburse and monitor grants awarded. Beyond the current program cycle, it is expected that solicitations for PEER Science will be issued at least annually, with details to be posted at http://www.nationalacademies.org/peerscience
. For further information, please contact the program staff at email@example.com
Areas in which both NSF and USAID have strong mutual interests include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Food security topics such as agricultural development, fisheries, and plant genomics
- Climate change impacts such as water sustainability, hydrology, ocean acidification, climate process and modeling, and environmental engineering
- Other development topics including disaster mitigation, biodiversity, water, and renewable energy
When writing their proposals, developing country applicants should consider how their proposed research and/or capacity building activities will contribute to USAID’s development objectives
. Collaborative projects involving multiple developing countries that explore regional issues related to these development objectives are encouraged. Pending the availability of funds and the receipt of meritorious proposals, the majority of PEER Science funding will be awarded to projects related to the USAID development areas of interest
specified above. Applicants are encouraged to consult the list of projects funded in Cycle 1
of PEER Science and in the special PEER-PIRE 2012 cycle
for examples of the topics and types of projects supported. Proposals focused on basic science topics without clear relevance to USAID development objectives
are strongly discouraged. In addition, no health-related research will be supported under PEER Science. Researchers working on health-related topics may wish to explore opportunities offered by the recently announced PEER Health
Proposals in the topical areas of interest listed above may be submitted by applicants based in any of the 87 PEER Science-eligible countries
. Additionally, PEER Science invites proposals from applicants in the following specific countries or working on the following topical areas for which USAID missions or offices have allocated resources to foster science and development goals:
- Indonesia: PEER Science is seeking research projects that support the goals and objectives of USAID/Indonesia as outlined in the mission’s Country Strategy (http://indonesia.usaid.gov/en/home). Projects should also contribute to USAID/Indonesia’s higher education objectives by achieving one or more of the following:
- Improved instructional delivery through better teaching methods and more relevant curricula in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field;
- Enhanced research skills and methods in a STEM field; and
- New and/or strengthened partnerships between Indonesian and U.S.-based researchers.
USAID/Indonesia is particularly interested in projects that involve other external stakeholders such as private sector partners as well as projects that have the potential to inform government policy at the national or local level.
- Biodiversity Conservation and Clean Energy in the Philippines: PEER Science is seeking to support projects in the Philippines within two sectors: 1) Biodiversity Conservation and/or Management and 2) Clean Energy Production, focusing on electrification of island and/or remote areas. Biodiversity projects must have an explicit biodiversity objective; respond to identified threats to biodiversity; monitor indicators for biodiversity conservation; and site-based programs must positively impact biologically significant areas. Clean Energy projects should focus on sustainable, low-carbon energy sources for electrification of islands and/or remote areas. Proposals are encouraged to support the development objectives of USAID/Philippines. The Office of Energy, Environment and Climate Change is currently supporting many biodiversity and clean energy programs within the Philippines and applicants are encouraged to look for opportunities to partner or collaborate with ongoing programs. For information on USAID/Philippines objectives and programs visit: http://philippines.usaid.gov/).
- Water for the Middle East and North Africa (Eligible Countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen): PEER Science is seeking to support projects that focus on water-related research in the PEER Science-eligible countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Research projects can address development related issues through technical and/or policy research. Example projects might include: research in drylands irrigation and agricultural water techniques that could be transferred and adapted from the United States to MENA; or research on socioeconomic barriers and opportunities adopting new agricultural water management technologies. Proposals are encouraged to support the goals of the USAID-sponsored MENA Network of Water Centers.
- Biodiversity Research in the Lower Mekong (Eligible Countries: Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam): PEER Science is seeking to support research projects led by women scientists from the Lower Mekong Delta countries (Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam) that focus on biodiversity conservation issues in this region. Research areas may include, though are not limited to, mapping the distributions of priority species; investigating climate impacts on biodiversity; understanding threats to biodiversity; improving the economic valuation of ecosystems; and informing environmental governance systems to better protect biodiversity. For more information on the objectives of the Regional Development Mission for Asia please see: http://transition.usaid.gov/rdma/.
- Maldives Climate Change Adaptation (Eligible Countries: all PEER Science-eligible countries and the Maldives): PEER Science is seeking to support research projects that focus on climate change adaptation in the Maldives. Research projects should support increased resilience of people, places, and/or livelihoods to climate change impacts in the Maldives, and should be consistent with the strategic development objective of USAID/Sri Lanka in the Maldives. USAID is committed to providing assistance to the Maldives to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. The Maldives is comprised of more than 1,000 small islands, with an average elevation of only 1.5 m above sea level. This unique geography means the country is particularly vulnerable to a range of climate-related impacts including rising sea levels, droughts, extreme rainfall, damaging winds, and elevated water and air temperatures. High population density, rapid population growth, and dependence on climate-sensitive industries such as fisheries and tourism add to the country’s vulnerability. USAID/Sri Lanka will provide assistance to selected islands in the Maldives with the goal of developing a robust “climate-resilient islands” model that may be replicated both in the Maldives and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The program will support the sustainable management, conservation, and restoration of island ecosystems, and foster diversified, climate-smart livelihoods. Illustrative examples include building capacity for the sustainable management of agricultural and marine resources; building capacity for environmental monitoring; piloting ecosystem-based approaches to island restoration; improving water security through integrated water resources management; improving disaster preparedness; and building capacity for sustainable marine-based livelihoods.
Biodiversity Conservation in Brazil:
PEER Science is seeking to support research projects in Brazil that have an explicit biodiversity conservation objective and that positively affect biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian Amazon and on indigenous lands located in that region. Projects must respond to identified threats to biodiversity, (e.g., deforestation and expansion of the agricultural frontier) and monitor indicators for biodiversity conservation through activities such as improved natural resource management. Research areas may include, but are not limited to, investigating climate impacts—and their mitigation—on Amazon biodiversity; understanding threats to biodiversity; improving the economic valuation of ecosystems; leveraging indigenous peoples' traditional practices and knowledge to protect the Amazon's unique biodiversity; and informing environmental governance systems for improved biodiversity conservation. USAID/Brazil encourages submission of proposals with strong science and technology, and innovation components, in addition to potential application of research findings and results in less developed countries.
Developing country principal investigators (PIs) who submit proposals to PEER Science must be affiliated with and based at an academic, non-profit, or government-managed research institution in a PEER Science-eligible country. Researchers from non-eligible countries and employees of for-profit firms in PEER Science-eligible countries may participate in projects using their own resources but are not permitted to serve as PIs, as PEER Science grants will not be issued to such organizations. A current list of the 87 PEER Science-eligible countries
is available on the PEER Science Web site.
PEER Science proposals are not accepted from U.S. researchers. Developing country PIs who apply to PEER Science should either be actively engaged in or plan to be engaged in a collaborative research project with an NSF-funded U.S. researcher who is a PI (not a co-PI) on an NSF award that will be active over the requested duration of the PEER Science project. Developing country scientists without existing partners are encouraged to search NSF’s public database of awards to identify potential U.S. collaborators (http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/
). PEER Science program staff are unable to match prospective applicants with U.S. partners.
PEER Science funds may not be used to cover the U.S. partner’s salary, travel, or other expenses. In consenting to serve as partners on PEER Science proposals, U.S. partners must clearly understand that they cannot receive PEER Science funds and that, while they are encouraged to seek supplemental funds from NSF
if necessary, such supplemental support cannot be guaranteed.
Types of Activities Supported
Examples of the types of activities that may be funded under PEER Science include education and training; technology dissemination; application and adaptation of new technologies; support for students, postdoctoral associates, and researchers; international travel; communications; equipment, materials, and supplies for developing country institutions; and research networks. For examples of the types of activities supported, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the list of previously funded projects
The program will consider a limited number of workshops on innovative or novel areas of research in which NSF-funded projects intersect with USAID’s development interests. These workshops must be designed to help create new research collaborations between U.S. and developing country researchers, so proposals requesting support for workshops must clearly explain how they would lead to sustained research partnerships.
The NSF award of the U.S. partner designated in the PEER Science proposal must be active over the requested duration of the PEER Science project to ensure that both sides have resources available to support their collaboration. In order for a PEER Science proposal to be considered eligible for review, the requested duration of the proposed project may not extend more than twelve months beyond the official termination date of the U.S. partner’s NSF award that is effective at the time the PEER Science proposal is submitted.
PEER Science proposals not complying with this requirement regarding allowable duration will be rejected without further review. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions
section of the program Web site for additional details, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
with other eligibility questions.
Budget requests should be developed commensurate with the support needed to achieve the project goals. Most projects are anticipated to run for one to three years, with release of each funding increment contingent on the project meeting annual financial and technical reporting requirements. The number of PEER Science awards is subject to the availability of funds.
Single institution awards are anticipated to range in size from $30,000 to $60,000 per year for one to three years. A few larger and more complex projects (those involving multiple institutions and/or multiple countries, with one of them serving as the lead) may receive up to $110,000 per year for up to three years. Applicants whose funding requests do not fit within these parameters are encouraged to contact PEER Science staff at the National Academies (email@example.com
) before preparing their proposals. When preparing their PEER Science proposal budgets, applicants should keep in mind that requested funds may be used only to support costs for developing country researchers and institutions.
Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of experts in the relevant disciplines to be convened by the National Academies in collaboration with USAID. Proposals will be evaluated primarily on developmental impacts, including the following:
- Relevance to USAID’s global and country-specific programmatic interests
- Technical merit and scientific feasibility
- PI’s demonstrated ability to achieve proposed project goals
- Strength of the international collaboration and potential for continued interaction after the proposed project ends
- Consistency of the proposed project with the U.S. partner’s NSF-funded award
- Other developing country scientists involved in project (for example, students, postdoctoral and other beginning researchers, and/or female participants)
- Potential to build sustained capacity at the applicant’s institution (for example, through acquisition of new equipment, development of new courses, or capacity building of research personnel and students)
- Prospect for broader impact and dissemination, for example through producing research results that inform local policies or programmatic activities or by accelerating progress towards innovative solutions to global development challenges.
- Cost-effectiveness of proposed budget
- Administrative and financial management capabilities of the applicant’s institution
Following completion of the panel review process, proposals deemed competitive will be sent to the USAID missions in their respective countries for comments. Competitive proposals that best fit the USAID missions’ priorities in each country will have the best prospects for funding. Therefore, it is important that proposals clearly explain how the proposed work aligns with USAID’s priorities in the relevant country or region. For more information on USAID country and regional priorities, please consult the USAID Web site
Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
Proposals for consideration under this program must be prepared and submitted by researchers based at institutions in one of the PEER Science-eligible countries. All proposals must be submitted electronically via the PEER Science online application site
, and paper submissions are not accepted. Please carefully review the full text of the program announcement, the instructions below, and the Frequently Asked Questions
section of this Web site for further guidance on each required proposal element.
Submittal Address: Proposals should be submitted electronically via the PEER Science application Web site by 11:59 PM (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) on December 4, 2012.
In order to apply online, please visit the PEER Science application Web site
and create an account by entering your name, contact information, and information about your organization. After creating your account, please log into the system and click on the “apply” icon visible in the left banner. You can then select the PEER Science program and continue your application. Specific instructions on all sections of the required proposal format are included in every section of the online application and are also presented below. You can save your application as a draft at any time and resume it later. However, we highly recommend that you first review the required application sections online and prepare your answers accordingly in a separate Word document while making sure not exceed the word count limit. Before submitting your application, you can copy and paste each section into the online application and click the “Submit Form” button.
Successful proposals will address the program’s objectives and selection criteria listed in the program announcement and will include clear statements of the project goals and explanations of how these goals will be achieved.
1.) General Applicant Data.
Please answer the first set of questions in the indicated spaces. If selected for funding, all developing country institutions must have a DUNS number (available online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
), but it is not necessary to obtain this number at the time the proposal is submitted. List the duration of your project (from one to three years) and the proposed start date, which should be no earlier than May 1, 2013. All applications must list a U.S. collaborator and provide the title and award number of his or her NSF grant. In order for a PEER Science proposal to be considered eligible for review, its requested duration may not extend more than twelve months beyond the official termination date of the U.S. partner’s NSF award that is effective at the time the PEER Science proposal is submitted.
Grants will be made only to institutions, so individuals who have no institutional affiliation or whose institutions are not willing to accept and manage a grant for them are not eligible to apply. Principal investigators may submit only one proposal in any one application cycle of the PEER Science program.
2.) Project Summary.
Please fill out both sections of the summary: scientific merit and development impact.The summary should be written so that readers without technical expertise can understand it. It should briefly and clearly state the goals of the project and the proposed activities that will be carried out to achieve them. The summary should also explain the role of the proposed U.S. collaborator and describe the anticipated outcomes of the project, including scientific merit (part 1) as well as development-related impacts (part 2). In describing these impacts, the specific focus should be on how the project relates to USAID’s programmatic interests.
3.) Project Description. The project description should be prepared with reference to the review criteria and the guidance provided in this and the preceding sections of this solicitation. Please address each section of the proposal description concisely (within the character limit). If needed, you may also upload up to a total of five figures and/or tables for the entire proposal. Incomplete proposals and those not submitted in the required format will not be considered.
3.a) Background and Rationale. Explain the need for the proposed project and present a brief summary of any past work done on the proposed topic or closely related topics, either by the principal investigator or by other researchers. Please also explain in detail how the project relates to the NSF-funded award of the U.S. collaborator with whom cooperation is planned.
3.b) Prior Experience and Relevant Capabilities of Principal Investigator. Briefly explain the qualifications of the principal investigator as they relate to the proposed project and illustrate how the project will build upon existing expertise.
3.c) Project Scope and Objectives. Begin with a clear statement of the scientific and technical problem to be addressed and the goals to be achieved. It is important that the project goals be reasonable for the requested proposal duration.
3.d) Research Plan. Describe the project design, conceptual framework, procedures, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Describe any new methodology and its advantage over existing methodologies. Describe any novel concepts, approaches, tools, or technologies to be applied in the proposed activity. Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and alternative approaches to achieve the aims.
3.e) Training and Outreach Plan. Provide details on any seminars, workshops, conferences, or other training activities planned as part of the project, including estimates of the numbers and types of people to be trained (undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, laboratory technicians, professionals working in industry, etc.). As applicable, specify plans for promoting the participation of women and youth in training activities.
3.f) Role and Responsibilities of U.S. Collaborator. Explain in detail what the U.S. collaborator will do on the project, how it relates to his or her existing NSF-funded award, and why such a division of labor is appropriate for the developing country and U.S. researchers involved and for the overall program goal of promoting capacity building in the developing countries while building on existing investments of NSF support.
3.g) Expected Development Outcomes.
Before writing this section, please review USAID’s Web site entitled “What We Do
” and the Web site of the USAID mission
in your country so that you will be able to describe how your project would address USAID’s interests and objectives. For instance, you should explain how the project would (1) contribute to advancing scientific and technical knowledge for informing development-related policies or programs, (2) improve the capacity of your institution’s staff or students, (3) enhance its technical infrastructure, or (4) otherwise impact the broader community in your country or region. If applicable, please discuss any opportunities for follow-on activities after the proposed project ends (for example, possible application of research findings or recommendations by government policy makers or commercialization of new technology by private industry).
3.h) Data Sharing and Dissemination Plan. Explain how you will make the data collected in the project available to the broader scientific community by publishing your results, submitting information to publicly accessible databases, holding meetings to inform interested stakeholders, or using other means appropriate to your field.
3.i) Timeline. Provide a list of major project activities and milestones along with the estimated time required to complete each. (If your timeline is in a spreadsheet or graphical format, you may upload it instead of entering the text in box 3.i.)
3.j) Supplemental Information: If your project involves human subjects, animals, biohazards, or endangered species, please describe plans for addressing these aspects, including minimizing potential risks. Institutional review board approvals or plans to obtain such approvals should be described.
3.k) Budget Request Justification. Provide an explanation and justification for any salary or stipend support requested, including a list of the positions to be supported and the role each will play in the project. Also provide an explanation and justification for proposed purchases of any equipment items costing more than $5,000. (Please see section 3.m below for more details on allowable costs.)
3.l) Travel Details. Provide the number, duration, location, and purpose for any project-related trips for which funds are requested, along with the titles or positions of the travelers. (Please see section 3.n below for more details on allowable costs.)
3.m) Other Funding and Other Collaborating Institutions (If Any). List the source and amount of any other funds that you have received or applied for from other sources to support this project, including any support received directly from USAID. If your project involves other institutions besides your own and that of your U.S. collaborator, please list them, briefly describe the roles they will play in the project, and indicate whether they will support their costs with their own resources or with funds requested in your PEER Science project budget.
3.n) Budget Form. Provide an itemized budget for the project using the budget form provided. Projects may last no more than three years, and proposals for multi-year projects must provide budgets separately detailing the expected costs for each year. Value for the investment will be an important consideration in proposal evaluation and selection, so all costs should be reasonable and necessary. If your project involves more than one developing country institution, please prepare a separate budget table for each, so that it is clear what funds each institution needs. Single institution awards are anticipated to range in size from $30,000 to $60,000 per year for one to three years. A few larger and more complex projects (those involving multiple institutions with one of them serving as the lead) may receive up to $110,000 per year for up to three years.
- Costs for the construction of new buildings are not allowable.
- Costs for the purchase of vehicles are not allowable, although vehicle rental costs are allowed provided they are explained and justified.
- Salary support for the principal investigator is generally not provided and will be considered on a case-by-case basis only if essential and fully justified. Salaries for other researchers and technical personnel (including project participants and substitute instructors required to cover the PI’s usual teaching duties) are allowable, as are stipends for students involved in the project. Applicants requesting salary and stipend coverage in their project budgets must include in section 3.j of the application form a list of positions to be supported, an explanation of their roles, and the percentage of their time that would be devoted to the project.
- Contingency costs are not allowable.
- Travel costs, salaries, and other expenses for participants who are citizens of countries other than the PEER Science-eligible country of the applicant are not allowable. This includes foreign collaborators or students from non-eligible countries. U.S. participants should contact their NSF program managers to request international supplements to their NSF grants if necessary.
- International air travel must be by U.S. air carriers to the maximum extent such service is available as required under the Fly America Act, so applicants should estimate their air travel budgets accordingly. Business-class travel is not permitted.
- If visits to the United States are planned, applicants should include in their travel budgets an extra $100 for each visit to cover the cost of the medical examination that will be required as part of the visa application process. PEER Science grant funds may not be used to pay customs duties, and normally grants provided with USAID funds are exempt from duties in countries receiving U.S. assistance. If the items to be bought will not be exempt from such duties, funds to pay these charges must come from other non-PEER Science sources and must be explained in section 3.k of the proposal.
- If requested, indirect costs (costs supporting overall institutional operations and management) should be kept to a minimum and must be fully explained and justified in section 3.k, with details provided on what specific institutional infrastructure elements or support services are covered.
In addition to the completed proposal form, please also upload the following items in your proposal submission (your application will not be complete and cannot be submitted without these attachments):
- Annex: If necessary, please include any figures and tables in a single document annex and refer to them in your project description (for example, Figure 1 in Annex, etc.). Please do not exceed five figures/tables combined and do not include additional project narrative in this document.
- Curriculum Vitae (Developing Country PI): Please upload the principal investigator’s brief CV, which should be no more than two pages in length and include citations for no more than five to ten recent relevant publications or patents. If the project includes more than one developing country institution, please also include a CV for the key project participant at each institution. Please do not submit electronic copies of publications or other background materials, as they will not be forwarded to reviewers. All the CVs must be uploaded in one single file. A sample CV template is available for your reference.
- Curriculum Vitae (U.S. partner): Please upload your U.S. partner's brief CV, which should be no more than two pages in length and include citations for no more than five to ten recent relevant publications or patents. Please do not submit electronic copies of publications or other background materials, as they will not be forwarded to reviewers.
- NSF award abstract: Please upload a copy of the abstract of your U.S. partner’s NSF award, which may be accessed through the NSF award database.
- Letter of support from U.S. collaborator: The letter must be written on official institutional letterhead and must list the title and award number of the U.S. collaborator’s active NSF grant. It must provide details on how the proposed project relates to this NSF grant and explain the U.S. collaborator’s expected role in the project and the level of integration of the proposed project with the specific area of research. The letter must be signed by the U.S. collaborator.
- Letter of support from an official at the principal investigator’s institution who is legally authorized to make commitments on the institution’s behalf: If your project involves more than one developing country institution, please submit a separate support letter from each. The letter must be written on official institutional letterhead and must include the following elements:
- Confirmation that the institution supports the participation of its staff in the proposed project, would be willing to receive and administer any grant funds awarded, and would be permitted under local regulations to receive grant funds from a foreign sponsor
- A brief description of the institution’s structures and practices for project management and financial oversight, as well as a description of the process by which the institution could receive grant funds from a foreign sponsor
- A brief description of resources that the institution would be making available (if any) to facilitate the project, whether in cash or in kind, for example by paying the salary of the principal investigator or other staff for the time he or she works on the project, providing substitute instructors to cover the principal investigator’s teaching duties so he or she is free to work on the project, or providing laboratory or office space, access to equipment, or office support staff
- Examples of other grants your institution has received from foreign sponsors (if any), including the project title, sponsoring organization’s name, amount, dates, and name and e-mail of contact person at the sponsoring organization
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