USAID Announces Awards To 7 Universities To Help Innovate, Design Low-Cost Solutions To Health, Poverty, Conflict

“In a further move to bolster the role of science and technology in foreign aid, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) [on Thursday] announced major awards at seven universities in the United States and abroad to support ‘development labs’ that will design innovative, low-cost approaches to improving health and reducing poverty and conflicts,” ScienceInsider reports. The new program, called the Higher Education Solutions Network, is set to provide up to $130 million over five years, with the universities expected to provide at least a 60 percent match, according to the news service, which notes, “Each of the seven institutions will receive grants of up to $5 million a year for projects aimed at developing useful technologies” (Stokstad, 11/8).

Each of the seven universities — Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California-Berkeley, Michigan State University, Duke University, Texas A&M University, the College of William & Mary, and Uganda’s Makerere University — will establish Development Labs, which USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said “will recapture the legacy of science, technology, and innovation as core drivers of development — as well as inspire and support the next generation of development leaders,” according to a USAID press release (11/9). At the event launching the network, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Eventually, our dream would be that this would be a global network, and that development labs would be working around the world, all networked and creating very positive outcomes for millions and millions of people who might never hear of what we are doing, but would see the results of all of your work,” according to a transcript of her remarks (11/8).

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