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Applicant Resources

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Can a U.S. principal investigator be listed as the partner on more than one PEER proposal? 

Yes, provided he or she has sufficient time to devote to the collaborations.

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The information included in this section is relevant to applicants to the PEER program in general.  The country-specific focus areas have specific eligibility requirements and applicants are encouraged to review eligibility criteria under specific focus areas of interest. Additional information can also be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  
PEER Applicant Eligibility  
Eligible applicants must be based at, or have an affiliation with, an institution of higher education (university) in a PEER-eligible country. For certain focus areas, applicants may also be based at a non-profit organization (NGO) or government-managed research laboratory, center, or institute. Please carefully review the individual focus area information in the appendices below to verify institutional eligibility requirements. We encourage applicants based at government ministries to consult with PEER program staff at prior to submitting their pre-proposal.

PEER applicants must hold a research or teaching position at their respective institution or organization. Applicants should be living and working in the country from which they are applying and should be nationals (citizens or permanent residents) of a PEER-eligible country for the focus area to which they are applying. Women and social scientists are strongly encouraged to apply.

Researchers from non-eligible countries and employees of for-profit firms in PEER-eligible countries may participate in projects as partners using their own resources but are not permitted to serve as PIs, as PEER awards will not be issued to non-eligible countries or organizations. PEER awards are issued to institutions or organizations, not to individuals. Institutions selected to receive an award will be required to answer basic questions about their financial and administrative systems to determine whether they are able and willing to comply with USAID policies for receipt and proper management of funds. In addition, the names of recipient institutions and key project staff will be vetted against the System for Award Management ( debarment list, the U.S. Department of Treasury List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, and the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List to confirm they are not prohibited from receiving or using U.S. Government funds.

PIs of currently active PEER awards are not eligible to apply to serve as PIs or co-PIs in this application cycle unless their currently active project has been completed successfully prior to October 1, 2020.

Prior PEER awardees who re-apply for PEER funding must justify how their proposal is distinct from their prior PEER award and/or how the proposed work builds on previous PEER work to address new research questions.

PEER proposal are not accepted from U.S. organizations.

 USG-Supported Partner Eligibility

PEER applicants are required to partner with a U.S. Government (USG)-supported researcher who currently receives funding from or is employed by one of the following agencies:
  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • United States Forest Service (USFS)
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)
The role of the USG-funded partner is to provide expertise and skills to the PEER project that are complementary or provide access to specific methodologies or instrumentation otherwise unavailable to the PEER applicant.

Pre-proposal applications require a brief letter of support from the USG-funded partner, and proposals should outline how participation in the PEER project benefits both the foreign country and the U.S. partner.

Eligible USG-supported partners are intramural researchers from one of the partnering agencies listed above or researchers who currently serve as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator of an active research award from one of those agencies. Active awards may include grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts. In order to be eligible, the USG-supported partner’s award or agency employment status must be active at the time of the pre-proposal submission deadline, February 10, 2020.

For more information on USG co-PIs see the Partner Eligibility section of the Frequently Asked Questions, as well as the section on “Find a USG-Supported Partner” on the PEER website.

Although PEER funds may not be used to cover salary for the USG-supported partner and members of his or her project team (colleagues, students, technicians, etc.), applicants are allowed and encouraged to request limited support for travel expenses for the partner and team members. This requested support cannot exceed 10% of the total budget for the PEER project. These funds generally will be managed by the PEER PI’s institution and not awarded directly to the U.S. institution. For anticipated costs incurred by the USG-supported partner that are in excess of what the PEER budget could cover, partners are encouraged to seek additional supplemental funds from their own funding agencies outside of the PEER program.

To help PEER applicants find a USG-supported partner, each participating agency has provided links to either:

(a) a searchable database of active awards (NSF, NIH);
(b) a searchable database of agency staff eligible to participate as PEER partners (USGS);
(c) searchable databases of agency staff and recipients of active awards eligible to participate as PEER partners (ARS, NIFA, USFS); 
(d) a list of scientists eligible to participate as PEER partners and their contacts (Smithsonian Institution, NASA); or
(e) a point of contact who can be reached to identify potential partners (NOAA).  
Intramural researchers at NIH are also eligible to participate as PEER partners, although their work may not be captured in the NIH Reporter database.
For more details on how to find a USG-supported partner, applicants should explore the "Find a USG-Supported Partner" page.

Types of Research Activities Supported by PEER

PEER supports research awards from a wide range of academic disciplines including the natural, physical, social, behavioral, and economic sciences, as well as engineering. Applicants should clearly articulate how their proposed research project will impact their local, regional, or national communities.

PEER supports primary and secondary data analysis, and research questions may be explored utilizing quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research design. Applications proposing secondary data analyses may use data from readily available datasets resulting in publication-quality research papers and dissemination activities that can inform and influence policies and programs.

Projects may cover diverse types of research activities, including but not limited to the following:
  • Design and conduct of baseline surveys, modelling and simulation, implementation/operational research
  • Primary data collection by researchers and undergraduate and graduate students working under the supervision of a principal investigator
  • Primary and secondary data analysis, and research questions utilizing quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research design.
  • Development of new technologies or instruments
  • Proof-of concept studies and formative investigations
  • Social science and behavior change research
  • Systems research and policy studies
  • Primary research or data collection for understanding underlying social, political, and economic context of development challenges
  • Secondary data analysis of publicly available or other readily available datasets
  • Working visits to share and analyze data and write papers with USG-supported partners
  • Dissemination events and stakeholder meetings to translate research results to policy-makers and the community
  • Collaboration with local NGOs to train communities, perform outreach, or engage residents around science research education and science literacy.
  • Identification of social barriers to the uptake of interventions or policy changes, etc. discovered by societal outreach and education
In addition to research, PEER projects may also be used to support capacity building activities that contribute to research objectives, including education and training support for students, postdoctoral associates, and researchers; international travel; conference and workshop attendance; communications; and equipment, materials, and supplies for developing country institutions and research networks.

Applicants are encouraged to consult the PEER website for a comprehensive list of projects funded in past cycles. Proposals focused on basic science topics without clear relevance to USAID development objectives will not be competitive for PEER funding.

There are some categories of research that PEER will NOT support:
  • Implementation projects that lack a strong research component
  • Dissertation or master’s work of the PEER Principal Investigator (however, justified costs for students supported under the award are allowable)
  • Training programs, workshops, or conferences that are not tied to the proposed research project
  • Randomized control trials (RCTs) for biomedical interventions such as vaccines, drugs, etc.
  • Research conducted principally in the United States
  • Research led by the USG-supported partner
  • Projects that are not likely to yield any impact in low- and middle-income countries
  • Basic research not directly linked to potential development impact
  • Approaches that present unacceptable ethical or safety risks as determined by the technical reviewers and USAID
In designing their studies and analyses, applicants must thoughtfully consider inclusion of and impacts on marginalized and vulnerable populations, such as women, youth, certain ethnic groups, gender and sexual minorities (e.g., LGBTI persons), people with disabilities, indigenous communities, low-income or low-status groups, the elderly, and other socially relevant categories. Project proposals should take into account questions like the following: Are these groups of people affected differently by the research question or by how the research is being conducted? Are there any potential harmful and/or unintended consequences or risks of this research or its subsequent findings and recommendations on participants or impacted communities? Negative consequences can include, for example, increased risk of gender-based violence or increased unpaid work or time poverty for women and girls. Are there any potential benefits of participating in the research that would favor one group over another?

Please review the Frequently Asked Questions for additional details or email with other eligibility questions.