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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Potential U.S. Partners on PEER Science Projects
Thank you for your interest in possibly serving as a U.S. partner of an applicant to the PEER Science program. If you have additional questions after carefully reviewing the program solicitation, instructions, and FAQs below, please e-mail Additions will be made to this list as new questions are received.
1.  Am I eligible to apply for PEER Science funding?
Applications are not accepted from researchers based in the United States. Only researchers from eligible developing countries wishing to be principal investigators (PIs) on a PEER Science grant are eligible to apply. Applicants must hold a position at an institution in a PEER Science-eligible country 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.
2.  I am based at a U.S. institution. Am I 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. partner to expand the international scope of his or her research. In these circumstances, it is recommended that the NSF-funded partner 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.
3.  Do I need to be a PI on an NSF award or can I also qualify if I'm 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.
4.  What if my NSF award is about to expire?
A goal of PEER Science is to leverage NSF support of the U.S. partner, 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 an additional twelve months beyond the official termination date of your NSF award that is effective at the time the PEER Science proposal is submitted. If your NSF award is expiring sooner, you should contact your NSF program manager to request a no-cost extension and make sure it is approved before your developing country colleague submits the PEER Science proposal. After the proposal is submitted, no changes will be allowed in your NSF award number or end date.
5.  I have received notification from an NSF program officer that my NSF proposal has been recommended for funding, but the grant award has not yet been finalized. Can I serve as a U.S. partner on this PEER Science project?
Yes, your counterpart may submit the PEER Science proposal. The proposal review process will include verification of the status of your NSF award before any PEER Science award is given. If for some reason the NSF grant is not actually awarded, your colleague's PEER Science proposal would be withdrawn from consideration.
6.  I have an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG). Can I serve as a U.S. partner on a PEER Science project to work with my foreign colleague?
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.
7.  Can my collaborator and I apply to NSF and to PEER Science simultaneously and indicate this in the proposals? Can my collaborator apply for a PEER Science award before I have received an NSF award?
No. Except for specially announced competitions that may be held in cooperation with NSF's Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) Program (see question 8 below), PEER Science will only accept proposals from scientists in developing countries who are collaborating with U.S.-based partners who serve as PIs on active NSF awards.
8.  How does USAID’s PEER Science program relate to 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
9.  I have had NSF grants in the past, but none are currently active. Can I serve as a U.S. partner on a PEER Science funding proposal to work with my colleague abroad?
No. You must have an active NSF award for your colleague's project to be eligible for PEER Science funding.
10.  Can I be listed as the U.S. partner on more than one PEER Science proposal?
Yes, provided you have sufficient time to devote to the collaborations.
11.  Does the proposed PEER Science research topic have to be related to my NSF award?
Yes. NSF already competitively awards funding to support international research undertaken by U.S. PIs. PEER Science, for its part, 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. 
12.  Will I need to provide a letter of support? What makes a good letter of support?
Yes. A separate letter of support from you, the NSF-funded collaborator at a U.S. institution, stating your intent to collaborate on the PEER Science project must be included as part of the developing country applicant’s PEER Science proposal. You must include in this support letter the title and number of your active NSF award, provide details on how the proposed PEER Science project relates to your NSF award, describe any past history of collaboration or interaction that you may have with the applicant, and explain your expected role in the PEER Science project. In the letter, you should indicate your level of commitment to the project, and such commitment should not be contingent upon receiving supplemental funding from NSF or any other source.The best support letters are those that provide the most specific information. Very brief and generic letters are of little help to our proposal reviewers in evaluating the strength of the proposed collaboration.
13.  What is my role as a collaborator on a PEER Science grant?
The role of the U.S. collaborator depends on the nature and needs of the project. It could include but is not limited to providing mentorship and guidance to the PEER Science PI, cooperating on field data collection or data analysis, exchanging samples or data, co-authoring publications, and providing training opportunities to the PEER Science PI or students and colleagues from his or her lab.
14.  Do I need to travel to my partner's developing country?
No. The program does not require the U.S. collaborator to visit the partner's country. However, many U.S. collaborators may already be traveling to the countries in the course of carrying out their NSF-funded projects, so having a research partner there can significantly enhance their research efforts. Other U.S. collaborators whose NSF awards do not already include relevant international travel funding may wish to request an NSF international supplement to their awards in order to expand the scope of their originally funded projects (see question 15 below).
15.  As an NSF-funded PI at a U.S. institution, can I apply for an NSF international supplement if my award does not already include travel funds to my colleague's country?
Possibly. NSF-funded PIs may contact their NSF program director to discuss potential supplemental funding for their NSF award. However, NSF supplemental funding is not assured, and not every NSF program director will consider supplement requests. If you are interested in establishing new collaborations with PEER Science applicants, you should contact NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering to discuss possible funding options for your participation in such a collaboration. Predicating participation as a PEER Science collaborator upon receipt of NSF supplemental funding is not recommended unless you have obtained prior approval from your NSF program director to submit a supplement proposal. If you are interested in pursuing a PEER Science collaboration and do not have funding in your NSF award for such collaboration, the PEER Science proposal should be developed in a way that it can be accomplished within existing available resources.
16.  Can PEER Science grant recipients use the funding to support my visit(s) from the United States, including for workshops?
No. Visiting scientists from the United States 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.
17.  Can PEER Science grants be used to support students from developing countries 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.
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.