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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you have additional questions after carefully reviewing the program announcement, instructions, and FAQs below, please e-mail Additions will be made to this list as new questions are received.
1.    How do I apply for a PEER Science grant?
The National Academies are implementing the PEER Science program on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and in cooperation with the National Science Foundation (NSF). Information on applying, including the PEER Science program solicitation, grant application instructions, and a link to the online application site can be found at:
2.    Which countries are eligible to participate in the PEER Science program?
A current list of the 86 full PEER Science-eligible countries is posted on the PEER Science Web site. Most PEER Science funds will be available to support projects in any of these eligible countries. In addition, certain funds available under PEER Science may be targeted towards specific geographic areas or research topics, which will be mentioned in the call for proposals for each PEER Science deadline announced. For the current program cycle, which has an application deadline of January 13, 2014, there are special funds available for projects involving the following countries and special focus topics: Indonesia, Biodiversity Conservation in the Philippines, Water for Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, Building Biodiversity Research Networks in ASEANMaldives Climate Change Adaptation, Biodiversity Conservation in Brazil, Forestry and Climate Change in India, and Power Africa.
3.    Will U.S. institutions be eligible to receive funding under PEER Science?
No. Only institutions in developing countries eligible to receive PEER Science funding qualify. PEER Science funds will go directly to developing country institutions. It will often be the case that PEER Science funding will create new possibilities for the NSF-funded U.S. PI to expand the international scope of his or her research. In these circumstances, it is recommended that the NSF-funded PI contact his or her NSF program officer or the relevant program officer in the Office of International Science and Engineering ( regarding possible supplemental funding to their existing NSF award.
4.    Who is eligible to apply for PEER Science funding?
Applicants from developing countries (applicants) wishing to be principal investigators (PIs) on a PEER Science grant must hold a position at an institution in a PEER Science-eligible country (see question 2) and must either be actively engaged or plan to be engaged in a collaborative research project with an NSF-funded U.S. researcher at a U.S. institution. PEER Science grants will be issued to developing country institutions, not to the individual developing country PIs. Eligible developing country institutions will include academic institutions; non-profit and government-managed research organizations such as museums or research laboratories; professional societies or similar organizations directly associated with educational or research activities; and consortia led by the eligible organizations listed here. Developing country applicants are encouraged to contact the National Academies at if there are questions about eligibility of institutions or countries.
5.    Do I need to be currently working with an NSF-funded researcher at a U.S. institution to apply for a PEER Science grant?
No. However, you will need to partner with an NSF-funded collaborator at a U.S. institution before you apply to PEER Science. All PEER Science proposals will require a letter of support from the NSF-funded PI. We encourage researchers in developing countries to search NSF’s public award database to identify potential U.S. collaborators ( ). Once you identify an NSF-funded PI who is working in your field, you may contact them to determine whether they have sufficient time, interest, and resources to collaborate (see question 29).
6.    What if my U.S. partner’s NSF grant is about to expire?
A goal of PEER Science is to leverage NSF support of the U.S. PI, and therefore, concurrent funding is required. 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. If your NSF-funded collaborator’s grant is expiring sooner, he or she should contact the relevant NSF program manager to request a no-cost extension and make sure it is approved before you submit your PEER Science Proposal. After your PEER Science proposal is submitted, no changes will be allowed in the U.S. partner’s NSF award number or end date.
7.    Can my U.S. collaborator be an NSF PI or an NSF co-PI?
If an applicant wishes to collaborate with an NSF-funded co-PI on a PEER Science project, he or she must obtain the consent of the PI on the NSF award. Along with the co-PI, the PI must also be listed as the U.S. partner and must provide a letter of support and a CV in addition to materials provided by the co-PI.
8.    My U.S. collaborator has received notification from an NSF program officer that his/her NSF proposal has been recommended for funding, but the grant award has not yet been finalized. Can I apply for a PEER Science award to work with this partner?
Yes, you may submit your PEER Science proposal. The proposal review process will include verification of the status of the NSF grant before any PEER Science award is given, so if for some reason the NSF grant is not actually awarded, your PEER Science proposal would be withdrawn from consideration.
9.    My U.S. collaborator has an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG). Can I apply for a PEER Science award to work with him/her?
Yes. Holders of DDIGs are eligible to serve as U.S. partners on PEER Science proposals, provided that their grants will be active for at least one year.
10.  Can my collaborator and I apply to NSF and to PEER Science simultaneously and indicate this in the proposals? Can I apply for a PEER Science award before my U.S. collaborator has received an NSF award?
No. PEER Science will only accept proposals from scientists in developing countries who are collaborating with U.S. PIs who have received NSF funding.
11.  My U.S. collaborator has had NSF grants in the past, but none is currently active. Can I apply for PEER Science funding to work with my U.S. collaborator?
No. Your U.S. partner must have an active NSF award for your project to be eligible for PEER Science funding.
12.  Are any special advance registrations or permits required in order to apply to PEER Science?
Institutional recipients of PEER Science grants will be required to ensure that activities carried on outside the United States are coordinated as necessary with appropriate U.S. and developing country government authorities and that all necessary licenses, permits, or approvals are obtained prior to undertaking the proposed activities. Applicants should keep this in mind in planning their projects; however, it is not required to submit this documentation along with the proposal. In addition, before they can receive grants all developing country institutions must have a DUNS number, which is available online at, takes only a few days to receive, and is free of charge. Applicants whose institutions do not already have a DUNS registration number do not need to obtain it before submitting their proposals, but they will need to do so if their projects are selected for funding.
13.  Can a developing country applicant submit more than one proposal to PEER Science?
No. A developing country applicant may be listed as the PI on only one proposal in any application cycle. If you receive a grant under PEER Science, you would not be eligible to apply to future cycles of PEER Science until your first funded project has been successfully completed. For the current cycle of the program (Cycle 3), this successful completion date must be prior to July 1, 2014.
14.  Can a U.S. PI be listed as the partner on more than one PEER Science proposal?
Yes, provided he or she has sufficient time to devote to the collaborations.
15.  Can more than one developing country institution submit a joint proposal?
Projects may involve more than one partner institution located in the developing countries. Regardless of whether the institutions involved are all located in the same country or in different countries, one of them must be designated to lead the project, with the other institutions serving as collaborating partners. One comprehensive proposal should be submitted, including letters of support from authorized officials of all institutions involved. The proposal should include separate budget tables for each institution, so that it is clear what funds each requires. If the project is selected for support, PEER Science staff will work with the lead and collaborating institutions to determine how best to disburse the funds. Please check with PEER Science staff ( if you have questions on how to prepare proposals involving multiple developing country institutions.
16.  Does the proposed PEER Science research topic have to be related to the U.S. PI’s NSF award?
Yes. NSF competitively awards funding to support international research undertaken by U.S. PIs. PEER Science intends to leverage NSF funding with competitively awarded USAID funding for developing country researchers to facilitate cooperative research with their U.S. partners. Thus, PEER Science project topics must be collaborative in nature and must complement research goals specified in the proposed U.S. collaborator’s NSF award, as well as technical and development goals specified by USAID. 
17.  Does my project fit within PEER Science’s areas of interest?
PEER Science supports projects that relate to USAID’s programmatic interests, so applicants are encouraged to review USAID’s Web site for information on the agency’s global areas of interest. Information on USAID’s interests in specific countries and regions may be found on the USAID Web site pertaining to where they work and by clicking through to access the specific goals of your relevant mission. Potential applicants may also wish to review the list of projects funded by PEER Science in Cycle 1, Cycle 2, and the special PEER-PIRE 2012 cycle.
18.  Does PEER fund grants in the area of education?
Yes. Education can include topics related to institutional capacity building, research, applied science and technology, and professional development in the developing countries.
19.  Will letters of support be required?
Yes. A letter of support is required from an authorized official at the institution of the developing country applicant. The letter should confirm that the institution supports the researcher’s participation in the proposed project and is willing to receive and administer any grant funds awarded. It should also describe the institution’s structures and practices for project management and financial oversight. Although cost sharing is not required, the letter should also indicate any resources that the institution would make available to facilitate the project, such as laboratory or office space, access to equipment, office support staff, etc. Finally, this support letter should also mention any previous grants the institution has received from foreign sponsors in the past.
A separate letter of support from the NSF-funded collaborator at a U.S. institution stating his or her intent to collaborate on the PEER Science project must be included with developing country applicant’s PEER Science proposal. The U.S. PI must include in this support letter the title and number of his or her active NSF award, provide details on how the proposed PEER Science project relates to this NSF award, and explain his or her expected role in the PEER Science project. If the project is selected to receive PEER Science funding, the U.S. collaborator will also be required to submit a letter of support signed by an official at his or her institution who is authorized to commit the institution to involvement in the project. However, it is not necessary to include the U.S. institution’s support letter in the proposal submission.
20.  What is the deadline for proposal submission? When will the results of the review process be announced?
The deadline for submission is January 13, 2014. Proposals should be submitted through the PEER Science online application site no later than 11:59 PM (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) on that date. We expect to complete the review process and notify applicants of the outcome of their proposals in June 2014. It is anticipated that future calls for proposals will be announced at least once a year. Information on future deadlines and any special topical focus areas for those program cycles will be posted at when available.
21.  How does USAID’s PEER Science program relate to the NSF’s PIRE program?
In addition to its regular open calls for proposals, PEER Science issued a special call for proposals in 2012 for projects involving collaboration with potential U.S. recipients of NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) awards. Future special PEER Science solicitations may be issued in conjunction with future calls for proposals under PIRE, although the potential dates are not yet known. For more information about the PIRE program, please review the program’s Web site ( or e-mail your questions to
22.  How many awards are anticipated?
The number of awards is dependent on the quality of the proposals received and subject to the availability of funds.
23.  What is the anticipated award size for PEER Science projects?
Budget requests should be developed commensurate with the support needed to implement the project goals. The primary objective of PEER Science is to support joint research projects of one to three years in duration, with release of each funding increment contingent on the project meeting annual financial and technical reporting requirements. 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 may receive up to $110,000 per year for up to three years. Applicants whose requests would fall outside of this range are encouraged to discuss their projects with PEER Science staff ( prior to proposal submission.
24. Does PEER Science accept proposals for grants to organize workshops?
Although the primary focus of PEER Science is supporting collaborative research projects, the program will also consider support for 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 lasting research collaborations between U.S. and developing-country participants, so proposals requesting support for workshops must clearly explain how they would lead to sustained research partnerships. Proposals for grants to support workshops should be submitted by the program’s regular application deadline date using the standard PEER Science online grant application site.
25.  Is there a limit on the amount of funds that may be requested for travel?
While there is no upper limit, requests for travel funding should be reasonable and justified in the context of the proposed research activities and development outcomes. The U.S. Fly America Act requiring the use of U.S. air carriers is applicable, and business-class travel is not permitted.
26.  Should PEER Science budgets be in U.S. dollars or local currency?
All proposal budgets must be in U.S. dollars. No compensation will be allowed to adjust for fluctuations in the exchange rate of the dollar to other currencies.
27.  What is the duration of a PEER Science award?
PEER Science awards may range from one year to three years (see question 21). Requests for no-cost extensions may be submitted to the PEER Science program managers at NAS, who will consider the justification provided and the grantee’s previous progress on the project in deciding whether to authorize an extension.
28.  Do PEER Science proposals and reports need to be submitted in English?
Yes. PEER Science sponsors and staff understand that it will be more difficult for developing country applicants whose native language is not English to write proposals and reports in English. In this context, developing country applicants are encouraged to work with their NSF-funded collaborators to prepare PEER Science proposals and reports.
29.  Can an NSF-funded PI at a U.S. institution apply for an NSF supplement if he or she is already collaborating with a developing country?
Possibly. NSF-funded PIs may contact their NSF program director to discuss potential supplemental funding for their NSF award (see supplemental funding link at However, NSF supplemental funding is not assured, and not every NSF program director will consider supplement requests. U.S. PI’s who are interested in establishing new collaborations with PEER applicants should contact NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering ( to discuss possible funding options for their participation in such a collaboration. Predicating participation as a PEER collaborator upon receipt of NSF supplemental funding is not recommended unless the U.S. PI has obtained prior approval from his/her NSF program director to submit a supplement proposal. If a U.S. PI is interested in pursuing a PEER collaboration and does not have funding in their NSF award for such collaboration, the PEER proposal should be developed in a way that it can be accomplished within existing resources available to the U.S. PI.
30.  What is the timing of the PEER Science award relative to the NSF awards?
PEER Science grants will be awarded after an NSF award has been made to a U.S. PI. Eligible developing country researchers are encouraged to apply for PEER Science in the early stages of their U.S. partner’s NSF award to maximize the period of joint funding.
31.  Can PEER Science grantees use the funding to support a visiting scientist from the United States, including for workshops?
No. Visiting scientists from the U.S. should obtain travel funds directly from NSF, even if the purpose of the visit is to present at or attend a PEER Science-funded workshop.
32.  Can PEER Science grants be used to support developing country students while they attend U.S. institutions?
Students from developing countries may use PEER Science funding to visit U.S. institutions for workshops and training, but not to obtain a degree.
33.  Are NSF and USAID looking for new collaborations, or is there a preference for new projects using existing partnerships that have either been previously funded by NSF, USAID, or some other agency?
There is no preference. Projects can be submitted based on existing or new partnerships and will be competitively reviewed for merit.
34.  How do I access the video of the July 2011 PEER Science program launch event and its related pilot projects?
If you have a question that was not addressed in these FAQs or covered in the program solicitation or instructions, please e-mail it to You will receive a personal response from PEER Science staff, and your question may be added to the FAQs.