Program/Project Purpose: The Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program is a competitive grants program which directly support developing country researchers working in partnership with researchers supported by federal research agencies including: NASA, NIH, NSF, Smithsonian, USDA, and USGS. The goals of this program are threefold: (1) advance critical evidence to address challenges facing LMICs; (2) support collaboration between local research institutions, host country governments, USG researchers, and USAID Missions and Embassy staff; and (3) build capacity in LMICs thereby enabling local solutions to context specific challenges. The program is implemented by the National Academies of Science (NAS). Structure/Method/Design: The 2013/2014 PEER solicitation was jointly supported by two federal agencies: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This high level partnership was designed to directly support Indonesian scientists working at the intersections of tobacco and maternal & child health and Filipino scientists working on tobacco and tuberculosis. Following the release of a jointly drafted solicitation, over 30 pre-proposals were received from Indonesian and Filipino applicants. Sixteen pre-proposals were invited to continue to the full proposal stage. Full proposals were evaluated in an 'NIH style review' hosted by NAS. A survey sent out to PEER applicants indicated that only 25% of Indonesian and Filipino scientists had previously worked with their USG partner. To promote productive partnerships and high quality full proposal submissions, USG partners where sponsored to travel to Indonesia or the Philippines to meet with PEER applicants and draft a full proposal application. Ninety percent of USG partners took advantage of this opportunity. Following the partner visit, all USG partners reported that they planned to continue working with their Indonesian or Filipino colleagues whether or not they received PEER funding. Outcomes & Evaluation: Six diverse grant partnerships were awarded in Indonesia and Philippines. Three of these awards are supported by the National Cancer Institute and three are supported by USAID. Health awards in Indonesia will generate critical evidence addressing prenatal exposure to household tobacco smoke and preterm/low birth weight outcomes. In the Philippines, research will focus on the impacts of tobacco use on childhood TB outcomes. Going Forward: Developing a research program which reflects priorities of both donor agencies poses unique challenges. One challenge was defining clear areas of overlaping research priorities. The National Academies provides a neutral platform for federal science agency.
Raulfs-Wang, C., Kostelecky, B., Amayun, M., Bateman, M., Bess, C., Chittenden, K., … Wayman, A. (2015). PEER: USAID & NCI jointly support LMIC researchers in Indonesia and the Philippines. Annals of Global Health, 81(1), 167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2015.02.881