The US-AID and NSF collaboration called PEER has just wrapped up. Although our Lake Baikal project was not supported – darn! – it looks like many other exciting international collaborations were funded.
The thing that is most striking to me about today’s announcement of the awards is that the statistics reveal an overwhelming need for funding international science collaborations. From what I understand, this was the first year that PEER operated, and the guidelines were fairly restrictive – e.g., foreign scientists from only certain countries had to propose collaborations with US scientists currently funded by NSF.
But even with such restrictions, and in its maiden voyage, the response was enormous. They received 488 proposals, and funded only 42!
US-AID and NSF clearly have identified a critical gap in science funding – funding that can support the international researchers who are vital members of our science teams, but who are not eligible for U.S. science funding and with far less scientific support at home. I’m so glad to see these great projects funded, and hopeful that the apparent need for international support fuels more competitions with similar goals!