Contact Us  |  Search  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About Us For Applicants For Grant Recipients Funded Projects Email Updates
For Applicants | Focus AreasMultiple Countries / Social, Economic, and Behavioral Sciences

Applicant Resources

PDF version of RFA (Request for Applications)
Eligible Countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyz Republic
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tajikistan
  • Timor-Leste
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia 
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Georgia
  • Kosovo
  • Moldova

Additional Criteria for Applicants:

Please see Section V of the Solicitation for General Eligibility requirements. For this focus area, applicants must be based at or have an affiliation with an institution of higher education (university) in one of the PEER-eligible countries listed above.


USAID leads the U.S. Government's international development and disaster assistance through partnerships and investments that save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people emerge from humanitarian crises and progress beyond assistance. USAID’s objective is to support country partners to become self-reliant and capable of leading their own development journeys.

To address global development challenges in the most disadvantaged regions and amongst the most marginalized populations in the world, thorough attention needs to be paid to understanding the social, cultural, economic, political, technological, and/or ecological factors that may influence development outcomes. Similarly, it is important to consider the interplay between these different factors, at the local, national, regional, and global levels, as well as the various stakeholders involved.

The social, economic, and behavioral sciences (SEBS) provide insights into the communities that international development efforts aim to support, offering an array of theoretical perspectives, methodologic approaches, and analytical tools. SEBS researchers use these tools and approaches to explore the effects of social, economic, behavioral, and other relevant factors on different development outcomes, and offer insights on how to address them in the given context. The development community has a need to improve the availability of high-quality, timely, and reliable data and analyses, and evidence from SEBS researchers looking at issues from poverty eradication to food and nutrition security, to addressing climate variability and improving water and sanitation systems, to understanding the impact of the private sector engagement on development goals.

SEBS researchers gather and analyze data that shed light on the challenges, experiences, opportunities, and choices that humans face, and enhance our understanding of people’s everyday practice. By fostering long-term dialogue with aid-recipient communities, researchers, aid recipients, and other stakeholders can collaboratively develop nuanced and localized solutions to global challenges. Such solutions are more likely to be adopted by community members themselves because they resonate with their beliefs, values, and aspirations. Bringing SEBS research evidence to address complex development objectives increases the likelihood that community members will feel engaged and committed to taking part in addressing the challenges. When done well, SEBS research can contribute to a community’s self-reliance.

For the current cycle of PEER, the program welcomes applicants to submit pre-proposals that deepen our understanding of a broad range of social, cultural, economic, and behavioral factors, and the interactions between and among them, which strongly impact development outcomes. This understanding can enhance our ability to achieve country and/or regional development goals. PEER encourages the use of quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods research. In all applications, PEER will evaluate the quality of the proposed research and its potential to shed light on topics of importance to USAID. Research findings must contribute to policy or programmatic changes that impact local, regional, and national level populations’ and governments’ abilities to address these challenges.

For illustrative purposes, possible research areas may include, but are not limited to:
  • Disparities that underlie food or water insecurity, and drive inadequate access to resources or services
  • Structural barriers that keep communities and individuals from realizing their own potential, free from violence and fear
  • Social, political, and economic factors that contribute to or detract from communities’ ability to weather environmental events
  • Increased understanding of the conditions that contribute to greater efficiencies for quality reproductive health programs
  • The role of communications, policy, or public institutions in managing disaster risk
  • The impacts of inequality on individual and communal health and wellbeing
  • The socioeconomic effects of a forest restoration and conservation program
  • The factors influencing the education and employment outcomes of young adults
  • Pathways for aid-recipient communities to help define development objectives and solutions, and shape Theory of Change models
  • Development and testing of new interventions in fields such as health, agriculture, and education, that are behaviorally and socially based or that include behavioral and social components
  • Secondary analysis of existing quantitative data relevant to a global health related development problem with findings elucidated by conducting qualitative research for a more in-depth understanding of factors contributing to the problem and possible ways of addressing them
  • Exploring ways factors that could either constrain or facilitate behavior change to better support maternal and child nutrition

PEER seeks to support applicants who draw on SEBS to provide contextualized analysis and insights addressing relevant development challenges, particularly those prioritized in USAID’s CDCS or RDCS.

Applicants must thoughtfully consider inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable populations in their proposals and provide an analysis of the implications of the study on marginalized and vulnerable groups 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: Are these groups of people affected differently by the research question, or how the research is being conducted? Are there any potential harmful and/or unintended consequences or risks of this research, or the subsequent findings and recommendations on participants or impacted communities? Are there any potential benefits of participating in the research that would favor one group over another? The degree to which these issues are taken into account in the proposed project will be strongly considered in the review and selection process.

Consistent with the goals of PEER, applicants should outline how their research findings will lead to development-related policy or programmatic change. All projects must also contribute to USAID higher education objectives by strengthening engagement with junior researchers and undergraduate/graduate students. Proposals that include multidisciplinary research teams, multi-country collaboration, and/or engagement with policy actors and other development stakeholders such as NGOs are desired, but not required. Once selected, awardees will need to submit proof of institutional or country ethics review and approval or exemption.

Country specific USAID health objectives are articulated in USAID Regional and Country Development Cooperation Strategies (RCDS and CDCS). Applicants should closely read the appropriate RDCS and/or CDCS, and USAID Mission website in the country or countries where the PEER project will take place before submitting a proposal. Proposed research projects must also adhere to the requirements of the USAID Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy.

Duration of Project:

Projects should be designed to be implemented in one to two years with budgets of $40,000 to $80,000 (USD) per year for one institution (single institution award) and $100,000 (USD) per year for awards involving support for more than one institution (multiple institution awards). Proposals received for projects greater than two years in length will not be considered for funding. Women are strongly encouraged to apply.