Proposal submission deadline: January 5, 2015 (11:59 PM EST)
Performance period: 1-3 years
Maximum Funding: $ 500,000 (combined Pakistan – U.S)
Additional info: http://nationalacademies.org/pakistan
I. General Program Information
A. Synopsis of Program and Background
In 2003, the Governments of Pakistan and the United States 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-United States Science and Technology Cooperation Program. Beginning in 2008, the United States Department of State (DoS) joined USAID as a U.S. co-sponsor of the program. This program is implemented by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the U.S. and by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan, and is intended to increase the strength and breadth of cooperation and linkages between Pakistani scientists and institutions with counterparts in the United States.
B. Program Objectives
Projects funded under this solicitation should contribute to building research capacity in Pakistan while strengthening U.S.-Pakistan cooperative relationships in one or more of the following ways:
Investigators should clearly explain how the proposal, if funded, would facilitate research 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 considered less competitive and thus less likely to receive funds. 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.
- Enhancing the ability of the science and technology community to spur human and economic development in Pakistan.
- Improving the quality, relevance, or capacity of education and research at Pakistani institutions of higher education in science and technical fields.
- Improving the capacity of Pakistani research institutions to support industry competitiveness.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the lists of projects funded in Phase 1(2005); Phase 2 (2006) Phase 3 (2007), Phase 4 (2009) and Phase 5 (2012) 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. Proposal submissions by female principal investigators and projects involving female scientists and students (graduate and undergraduate) are strongly encouraged.
Both the Pakistani and the United States governments have contributed funds to support projects under this program to 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 the “Current Projects” sidebar on the right.
All awards will be contingent upon the availability of funds.
A. Program Focal Areas
The program welcomes proposals across a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:
|Education||Environment / Biodiversity|
|Health/Public Health/Medicine||Energy and Renewable Energy|
|Water and Sanitation||Economic Development|
|Agriculture||Democracy and Governance|
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 build the capacity of university and public sector researchers and technology entrepreneurs to:
Private companies may not apply or receive funding, but may participate as partners on projects.
- Connect with the private sector to support technology commercialization;
- Identify new technologies with potential market value;
- Scale up a prototype or process for full-scale production;
- Provide training and mentorship on technology transfer, administration, and other relevant functions related to technology development and commercialization.
B. 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. Each set of partners may receive no more than one grant in a given phase of the program and will not be eligible to submit new proposals until the active grant is completed.
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 at http://www.hec.gov.pk/grants-activities.
C. Eligibility Information
(i) PI Eligibility: 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 principal investigators, co-investigators, post-doctoral researchers, students, trainees, or workshop participants.
(ii) 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.
D. Award Information
(i) Anticipated Type of Awards: 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 (including women and students) and contribute to building strengths of key institutions in Pakistan. U.S. and Pakistani budgets may vary but the total combined budget request should not exceed $500,000 for the life of the project. Capital costs for the construction of new buildings, renovations, and/or purchase of vehicles will not be covered. Salary costs for Principal and co-Principal investigators are expected to be covered from other sources, but if necessary should not exceed 10% of the total U.S. budget. Salary support for junior team members and technical support staff may be included as appropriate. Quarterly as well as annual narrative and financial progress reports 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 shall not receive any preference for funding under future USAID and/or Department of State-supported programs.
E. Review and Funding Criteria
The core values of the peer review process drive this program. It is intended to encourage the highest level of ethical standards in a process that is fair, equitable, timely and free of bias. The first level of review is carried out by a group of volunteer scientists who provide their expertise within the program’s focal areas. This first level peer review process is organized independently and in parallel by the Higher Education Commission in Pakistan and by the U. S. National Academy of Sciences along with USAID and DoS according to the following criteria (click here to see review form).
(i) Funding Criteria
- Relevance to the goals enumerated under “Program Objectives”;
- Scientific and technical merit of the proposal;
- Cost-effectiveness of the project;
- Capabilities of the participating institutions and individuals to successfully complete the project;
- Strategies to achieve project objectives should be feasible and realistic within the projected budget and timeframe;
- Nature and quality of the collaboration and dissemination plan. Proposals should include plans for effective dissemination of project findings to researchers, policymakers and relevant stakeholders (for example: industry, business community, etc.).
Following the initial, parallel peer review processes on the U.S. and Pakistani sides, applications that have received favorable recommendations will be reviewed by a joint panel composed of sponsors from the U.S. and Pakistan. Consensus by this panel determines final funding decisions.
There is no predetermined number of, or funding level for, proposals to be funded. The panel may reduce project budgets if sufficient funds are not available to support the application at 100 percent of the proposed funding level. The funding decisions of the proposal reviewers and the joint Pakistan-U.S. panel shall be final and binding.
F. USAID Environmental Compliance Procedures
USAID must ensure that environmental factors and values are integrated into the decision making process to make awards and fund development activities. USAID procedures for reviewing environmental impacts of Agency actions are detailed in Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 216 (22 CFR 216). All proposed funded actions in the Pakistan-US S&T program must undergo an environmental review pursuant 22 CFR 216 and may also be reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act for USAID funded activities that occur domestically.
USAID undertakes an environmental compliance review of all program-funded activities. The environmental consequences of the proposed activities will be considered in the decision to grant an award for an activity. All applicants must complete the USAID Environmental Compliance Checklist included in the application packet, regardless of the proposed area of study as part of the request for award package.
(i) Environmental Assessment
Projects that result in an adverse environmental impact may require environmental mitigation in order to compensate for the environmental impact. Environmental mitigation may include measures that protect and enhance the natural and human environment. Monitoring of environmental mitigation measures is required to assess the progress and efficacy of any required environmental mitigation measures. Explanations of anticipated environmental consequences and impacts as well as proposed mitigation and monitoring measures must be included in the USAID environmental compliance checklist included as part of the application packet.
Applicants are encouraged to budget for proposed mitigation activities, including environmental monitoring and generation of monitoring reports as they may incur additional costs. These additional costs must be included in the budget justification and reflected in the overall budget.
Projects that (a) incur large, substantial, and/or significant environmental impact; (b) involve the procurement or use of pesticides; and (c) involve genetically modified organisms will undergo special internal review procedures requiring more substantial environmental review in order to assess environmental impact. Such projects will undergo supplemental Environmental Assessment, and specific conditions will be developed for specific activities as appropriate including a requirement for compliance with applicable Pakistan and U.S. environmental laws and policies.
G. Additional Program Requirements
The following additional requirements will be dependent upon the type of application and proposed activities. Compliance with environmental, human subject, animal study, and chemical hazards protocols is required and will be considered by reviewers while assessing the scientific and technical merit of the proposal.
(i) Protections for Human Subjects
Applicants must assure that all human subjects are protected. Reviewers will assess the potential risk to human subjects in proposed research and evaluate what protections are in place to guard against any research-related risk. Please ensure that you address the following in your proposal: 1) risk to subjects; 2) adequacy of protection against risks; 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others; 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained; and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials. Proposals will not be funded until assurances from appropriate review committees (i.e. Institutional Review Boards, Bioethics Committee) are on file from both the Pakistani and the U.S. sides. The U.S. Department of Human Services has developed “decision charts” that may be useful in thinking through relevant human subject protections issues. Please visit http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/policy/checklists/decisioncharts.html for additional information.
(ii) Protections of Vertebrate Animals
If you are planning to use live vertebrate animals in the project, you must adhere to international standards and acceptable practices. The reviewers will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific merits of the proposal. Please ensure that you address the following in your proposal: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia. Proposals will not be funded until assurances from appropriate review committees (i.e. Institutional Review Boards, Bioethics Committee) are on file from both the Pakistani and the U.S. sides.
(iii) Chemical Hazards
Ammonium nitrate and calcium ammonium nitrate are marketed and used as fertilizers for agricultural applications, and as explosives for construction/demolition applications. None of the funds made available under the Pakistan/U.S. S&T Cooperation Program for Pakistani or U.S. researchers shall be used, directly or indirectly, to produce, acquire, use, transport, store, sell or otherwise deal with ammonium nitrate or calcium ammonium nitrate.
H. Policy on Fraudulent and Plagiarized Data, Proposals and Reports
Applicants to the Pakistan-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation are advised that both the U.S. and Pakistan have implemented a zero-tolerance policy regarding the submission of fraudulent or plagiarized data, reports and/or any documents. Any such cases discovered by our staff or brought to their attention by program sponsors, review panelists, U.S. and/or Pakistani partners, or members of the public will be investigated immediately. If the presence of fraudulent or plagiarized materials in a proposal submission is verified, the following actions will be taken:
I. Project Evaluation and Reports
- The application in question will be removed from consideration for funding.
- Representatives from USAID, U.S. Department of State, Pakistan Higher Education Commission, Pakistan Ministry of Science and Technology, and NAS will be notified immediately.
- The applicant will be notified of the findings and will be placed on a debarment list prohibiting him or her from submitting any future proposals to U.S. and/or Pakistani funding programs.
- An appropriate official at the applicant’s institution will be advised of the case and provided with copies of the fraudulent or plagiarized materials for use in any further investigations or actions in accordance with that institution’s policies.
Annual Technical and Financial Reports
Final Technical and Financial Reports
All funded investigators are required to submit a variety of reports, which are due at specific times during the life cycle of a grant award. Program managers will inform the investigator teams of specific dates. All reports must be accurate, complete, and submitted on time.
The formal evaluation reports should include an assessment of the current status of each participating research team at the time of funding with specific reference to project objectives.
The final project evaluation should provide observations about the project’s influence within the participating institutions as well as their surrounding communities or societies.