Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research (LASER)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is currently seeking Requests for Applications (RFAs) for a new cooperative agreement, the Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research (LASER).
Through LASER, USAID will leverage the intellectual prowess, knowledge, and in-country experience of our university partners to co-create research solutions to pressing development challenges. The LASER implementing partner will be responsible for creating and supporting a large and varied network of university researchers, organizations, and faculty (in the U.S. and in USAID partner countries) to partner with USAID missions, bureaus, and independent operating units (M/B/IOs). Through the LASER Prime and Network, USAID will engage local stakeholders to identify and refine critical development research questions across a wide variety of technical sectors and then fund research projects that address those questions so that the entire research system - from universities to policy-makers and civil society - can be engaged, educated, and contribute to the success of the research project. Co-creating research projects with USAID and other development actors will help researchers maximize their impact by addressing questions that are pressing and actionable to development actors and are primed for translation to development practice or policy. Additionally, USAID seeks to increase the human and institutional capacity of LMIC HEIs through LASER. This will occur as they engage in collaborative research opportunities with U.S. researchers and receive technical assistance in research translation through the implementing HEI. The resulting LASER network will not only generate new knowledge with USAID, but will also carry forward a sustainable union of collaborating institutions characterized by equitable partnerships with developing country universities, improved academic focus on development challenges, and stakeholders that are better equipped to use research to further their development outcomes.
Eligible organizations interested in applying for an award in response to this RFA are invited to submit a Concept Note through this site. Concept Notes not submitted through this Application Portal will not be considered. Concept Notes in response to this RFA must be submitted electronically in MS Word or .pdf format and Excel for the budget and shall be due no later than January 24th, 2018 at 05:00:00 p.m. EST. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all necessary documentation is complete and received on time. Late Concept Notes will not be considered for award. In developing the Concept Note, the applicant should carefully consider all information contained in this RFA, including the technical narrative instructions for the full application located at the grants.gov link below. The Concept Note must be based on the overall description of the funding opportunity described in Section A of the RFA. USAID may opt to exclude from further consideration any submission which is not within these parameters. Only applicants who have submitted a Concept Note will be eligible to submit a Full Application, if requested.
Only higher education institutions may submit applications and serve as Prime Awardee. However other organizations, non-profit, or for-profit entities may participate under this RFA in partnership with the Prime Awardee.
For reference, higher education institutions is defined as follows, consistent with guidance provided by USAID/E3/Education: “A tertiary education institution is an organization that provides educational opportunities that build on secondary education, providing learning activities in specialized fields. It aims at learning at a high level of complexity and specialization. Tertiary education includes what is commonly understood as academic education but also includes advanced vocational or professional education. This may include public or private universities, colleges, research institutes, training institutes [including teacher training institutes], etc.” Please see full eligibility requirements in section C of the RFA located at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=299303.
USAID welcomes applications from organizations which have not previously received financial assistance from USAID. Applicants must have established financial management, monitoring and evaluation processes, internal control systems, and policies and procedures that comply with established U.S. Government standards, laws, and regulations.