The US Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded six research grants worth a total of USD 500,000 or Nu 37 million to foster partnerships in scientific cooperation between Bhutan and the United States on topics including public health, food security, and climate change.

The research grants were awarded through USAID’s Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program. The PEER program invites scientists in low- and middle-income countries to apply for funds to support research and capacity-building activities on topics with strong potential development impacts, in partnership with U.S.-based researchers.

Through this program, implemented by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in coordination with the Bhutan Foundation, six Bhutanese scientists will conduct research on reducing deforestation and timber use, conserving water basins, saving freshwater biodiversity, promoting climate-smart agriculture, balancing human and primate biodiversity needs, and improving quality of life and psychological well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS.

In its more than 10 years, the PEER program has enabled more than 400 local researchers in 57 countries to find evidence-based solutions to development challenges in a variety of sectors and regions, according to a press release from the US embassy in India.