AsianScientist (Jul. 19, 2011) – The United States government has launched a new program called the “Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research” (PEER) to support and build scientific capacity in Indonesia.
Capitalizing on competitively-awarded investment, the program was launched by U.S. Science Envoy Bruce Alberts, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Ted Osius, and USAID Mission Director Walter North during the First Indonesian-American Kavli Frontier of Science Symposium.
The program was initiated during the symposium to foster scientific collaboration to solve critical development challenges such as alternative energy, climate change, infectious disease, marine science, bio-materials, and rice genomics.
In 2010, the U.S. and Indonesian governments signed a bilateral agreement for science and technology to broaden and expand relations between scientific communities in both countries. PEER is expected to contribute to this agreement by facilitating research projects in Indonesia.
“PEER builds on scientific investments in U.S. institutions awarded competitively through the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to similarly award USAID funding directly to international counterpart scientists in Indonesia,” said North.
PEER will also use a merit review process in evaluating research proposals, a mechanism similar to what the NSF uses to fund research in the U.S. USAID announced that they have selected the U.S. National Academy of Science to administer the PEER program, and that it has allocated US$1 million for Indonesian scientists. Grants should average around US$50,000.
PEER and the Kavli symposium are parts of U.S. diplomacy to strengthen international collaboration between the U.S. and developing countries, especially within the Muslim world, by enhancing scientific partnership.
During the opening of Kavli symposium, the Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology, Suharna Surapranata, said:
“This collaboration is very relevant with our mission to improve science and technology.”
NSF Director Subra Suresh also said that the program is a win-win partnership.
“The U.S. scientific community benefits from more robust international partnership and increased awareness of how research can be used to address global development challenges,” said Suresh.
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