The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new initiative to recruit higher education and research institutions to improve the agency’s and the broader development community’s ability to solve large development problems.
“We hope to bring together all components of the campus from engineering to anthropology, from global health to entrepreneurship, and from agriculture to environment to focus on the problems that impede humanity’s advancement,” according to an email from USAID staff.
The initiative proposes to create new “development centers” that will, according to the draft RFA:
- Address USAID’s need for development data and analysis
- Test and scale new models and technologies for development; and
- Engage new solvers and incentivize new solutions, and new approaches for development.
The awards will be funded at two levels, with single university centers funded at $1-2 million annually for five years, and consortia centers (consisting of three to four academic institutions including developing country partners) funded at $5 million annually for five years. The partnerships will last longer than the award terms, and “higher education institutions will be encouraged to serve as network nodes for development and work with novel partners, such as NGOs, foundations, and the private sector.”
USAID is inviting questions and comments on their draft request for applications (RFA) through January 30 from the public, private higher education institutions, and other interested parties . A pre-solicitation workshop webinar taking place today to discuss and receive input on the draft RFA is over-booked, but video and transcripts will be posted to the website shortly. Registration for a second workshop webinar, scheduled for January 30, is now open. USAID anticipates release of the final RFA in early February with applications due April 3, 2012.