Long-term Assistance and SErvices for Research (LASER)

Through LASER, USAID seeks to leverage and support international university networks, inclusive of universities from both the United States (U.S) and lower-middle income countries (LMIC), to improve development research opportunities, evidence generation, and uptake by development actors and policy makers.



part of the Cooperative Agreement, USAID will support a recipient to identify new research questions, fund research activities, translate research results into development impact, and build capacity of local higher education institutions and researchers.

USAID seeks to support a recipient with a defined plan to achieve these goals, with the specific details and workplan proposed by the recipient, in consultation with USAID.

USAID specifically seeks to support an implementing partner whose workplan includes the creation, engagement, and/or growth of a large, international network of university researchers, centers, and institutes across disciplines that can 1) independently identify and address new and impactful research questions with high relevance to the international development community AND 2) partner with USAID Missions, Bureaus, and Independent Offices (M/B/IOs) to address unique research needs identified by USAID.

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.

Through the LASER-implementing HEI and its network, USAID will engage local stakeholders to identify and refine critical development research questions and conduct research projects that address those questions.

This is to ensure that the entire research system - from universities to policy-makers and civil society - will become engaged, capacitated contributors to the success of the research project.

The resulting LASER network will not only generate new knowledge for USAID, but also leave behind a sustainable union of collaborating U. S. and developing country institutions.

These collaborations will be characterized by equitable university partnerships, improved academic focus on development challenges, and stakeholders that are better equipped to use research to further their development outcomes.

The project will be linked to, and coordinate with, its sister project, the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) (see Section 2:
Background for description of RTAC).

These projects will both contribute to USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), a university-based programming portfolio which seeks to improve USAID’s partnerships with universities as thought partners in solving today’s greatest development challenges.

LASER and RTAC address a clear need for increased collaboration between USAID and the international university community.

LASER and RTAC allow for rapid access to scientific advisement, world-class evidence generation, joint ownership of and commitment to research, and effective translation of research results into actionable policy or program recommendations.

LASER will meet this need through timely facilitation of USAID research partnerships with researchers that have deep technical and/or geographic expertise in areas relevant to the development research need.

Additionally, LASER partnerships will be characterized by participatory engagement between USAID, local stakeholders, and the international research community.

Ultimately, a successful LASER program fulfills CDR’s Science Objective:
Increase the use of scientific research for improved development outcomes, by creating a network of universities and researchers with increased understanding of USAID and expertise in solving development challenges.
Related Programs

USAID Development Partnerships for University Cooperation and Development

Agency for International Development

Agency: Agency for International Development

Office: Agency for International Development

Estimated Funding: $99,947

Who's Eligible

Obtain Full Opportunity Text:
Application Submission Portal

Additional Information of Eligibility:
Only higher education institutions are eligible to apply to serve as the Prime for the LASER agreement.

Consortia applications that include non-HEI organizations are allowed and encouraged; however, these applications should identify an HEI as the Prime recipient of the award.

For purposes of LASER, 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.” In accordance with 2 CFR 700.13 no funds will be paid as profit to any for-profit entity receiving or administering Federal financial assistance as a recipient or subrecipient.

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.

The successful applicant will be subject to a responsibility determination assessment (Pre-award Survey) by the Agreement Officer (AO).

The Recipient must be a responsible entity.

The AO may determine a pre-award survey is required to conduct an examination that will determine whether the prospective recipient has the necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational controls, and technical skills – or ability to obtain them – in order to achieve the objectives of the program and comply with the terms and conditions of the award.

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