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PEER Health Home > Program Objectives & Description

cycle 1 - Program background                                            

The request for proposals (RFAs) for Cycle 1 is closed. Winning grants have been selected and more information on each grant is available on the Cycle 1 Grant Recipients page
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is committed to transforming development through the increased use of science and technology (S&T). In keeping with President Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), which leverages the whole of the United States Government (USG) to collaboratively advance global health, USAID would like to enhance its long-time collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to achieve USG global health objectives. This includes improving rates of child survival in low and middle income countries by developing interventions that reduce under-five mortality. 
The NIH is a world-class research institution that has supported research, training, and capacity building in the developing world for several decades. However, linkages between NIH projects and NIH supported researchers in less developed countries and the local USAID Missions need to be strengthened in order to fully leverage USG research investments, development platforms, and expertise and translate advances in science to health benefits. To accelerate progress in USG global health priority areas, such as ending child preventable deaths, USAID and NIH collaborated on a new program called Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Health to support collaborative research projects on implementation science for Cycle 1. 
Worldwide, under-five mortality has declined from more than 12 million deaths in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011, yet thousands of children still die every day from preventable diseases. On June 14-15, 2012, the Governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States, together with UNICEF, convened the Child Survival Call to Action Summit, mobilizing the world toward one ambitious but simple goal – ending preventable child deaths. Eighty percent of under-five deaths occur in 24 countries. More than 160 countries have signed A Promise Renewed, a pledge to work toward greater child survival.
Accelerating reduction of under-five mortality rates will require implementing innovative country-owned, evidence-based global health and child survival programs that deliver lifesaving interventions and services. In many countries there is an unmet need for implementation science research to inform approaches and investments for public health programming and policymaking. To maximize public health impact, significant progress is needed to deliver interventions more efficiently and effectively, transfer interventions from one setting or population to another, scale interventions to population level impact, and to make better-informed choices between competing interventions. This gap between research and implementation is impeding success in prevention, care, and treatment programs. Implementation science is intended to facilitate evidence-based decision-making that can inform policy, practice, and improve health outcomes through the delivery of cost-effective programs. High impact implementation science research may require partnerships with and leveraging of in-country implementers and USAID Missions, government agencies, the private sector, and UN partners.


PEER Health Cycle 1 is a competitive grants program that supports scientists from 24 eligible countries who are collaborating with NIH supported researchers to develop and advance implementation science projects reflecting the health priorities of eligible countries, USAID missions, and governments. USAID defines Implementation science as the “application of systematic learning, research and evaluation to improve health practice, policy and programs in developing countries”

The program is catalyzing high quality, collaborative research projects address research-to-practice barriers and constraints while simultaneously building professional capacity and cross-sectoral linkages, particularly between local public health and research institutions and USAID missions. Drawing upon the capacity and investments in global health research at NIH, PEER Health will achieve the following:
  • Leverage research capacity developed by the scientific community, including NIH, to accelerate reductions of under-five mortality and to advance a country’s strategic health goals as articulated in GHI country strategies and child survival plans through collaborative research partnerships.
  • Encourage research to improve the uptake and scale of efficacious health interventions, and to inform and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions in order to maximize health impact and accelerate reduction in under five mortality.
  • Strengthen collaborations among USAID Missions, local researchers, and NIH-affiliated investigators to enhance the impact of research and innovation on public health outcomes and contribute to the evidence-base needed for policy decisions and accelerated progress towards a country’s health objectives.
  • Strengthen long term in-country research capacity.
Cycle 1 Details