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International, Interagency PEER Program To Launch At NSF On July 7 By Suresh, Shah And Holdren

July 1, 2011

PEER implements NSF-USAID collaboration that furthers science diplomacy in the developing world

Next week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch a new international, interagency joint initiative, PEER, “Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research.” PEER addresses environmental challenges that affect both the United States and the developing world by reinforcing existing relationships and creating new connections.

Join NSF Director Subra Suresh, USAID Administrator Raj Shah and White House Office of Science and Technology Director John Holdren at an event to renew and celebrate this innovative partnership and to rollout the PEER program.

What: Official Launch of NSF and USAID’s Interagency, International Initiative, PEER

When: Thursday, July 7, 2011, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Preceeded by 9:30 a.m. reception in the director’s office

Where: National Science Board Room (1235 Stafford I), NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.

PEER unites NSF’s competitively-awarded scientific investments in U.S. institutions with similarly awarded USAID funding directly to international counterpart scientists in the developing world to support and build scientific and technical capacity. PEER builds bonds that will endure beyond the tenure of the program awards.

So far, there have been six pilot projects in Tanzania, Bagladesh, Mali, Kenya and Burkina Faso that explore issues related to ecosystems, climate change, seismology, hydrology and biodiversity. The principal investigators of one project–Michael Steckler from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and his international collaborator Syed Humayun Akhter from the Seismology & Geodesy Division of the Department of Geology at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh–will present on their project which explores life on a tectonically-active delta employing a convergence of earth science and geohazard research.

Fostering strong international science and engineering collaborations is consistent with administration policies for advancing America’s future and enhancing its efforts to address global development challenges. President Barack Obama’s 2009 speech at the National Academies of Science embraced the importance of science, noting that science is “more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, and our environment than it has ever been.” The president’s “New Beginning” initiative, announced in his historic speech at Cairo University in Egypt, has furthered the administration’s commitment to realize the foreign policy and development benefits of international science engagement

If you wish to cover the launch of the PEER program and its promise for the future, please RSVP to Lisa-Joy Zgorski, lisajoy@nsf.gov, no later than Tuesday, July 6, 2011, so that security arrangements may be made. She may also be contacted for additional information and/or with individual interview requests.

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