USAID Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research
LASER PULSE is a consortium dedicated to bringing together the worlds of academic research and practitioners to address the major development challenges facing USAID priority countries. This five-year, $70 million cooperative agreement harnesses the collective research and engagement power of Indiana’s leading universities with the international development and academic expertise of their non-governmental and international partners.
Led by Purdue University, the consortium also includes:
- University of Notre Dame’s Pulte Institute for Global Development
- Indiana University
- Catholic Relief Services
- Resilient Africa Network (Makerere University, Uganda)
LASER PULSE engages universities in co-created, long-term (typically 1 year or more), technical and research assistance with USAID Missions, Bureaus, and Independent Offices (M/B/IOs) as they seek to solve their most pressing development challenges. It is designed to allow interested USAID M/B/IOs the opportunity to rapidly access a network of international universities and associated researchers that are interested in refining and solving development challenges together with USAID.
Through the network, researchers will partner with USAID M/B/IOs to identify new research questions, conduct demand-driven research, translate research results into development impact, and build technical and research capacity of universities and researchers in developing countries. Beyond USAID M/B/IOs on their specific research needs, LASER will independently identify research questions that cross regions or sectors and then fund associated research activities to provide knowledge that will benefit USAID and the development community as a whole. As of January 2020, the program has already held Research for Development conferences in Uganda and Colombia, with plans to duplicate these in Vietnam, Indonesia, and South Africa. It is also collaborating with a number of USAID M/B/IOs such as Kenya, South Sudan, South Africa, the Private Sector Engagement Office, and the Middle East Bureau.
The Pulte Institute heads up Monitoring and Evaluation and Knowledge Management functions for LASER PULSE and is contributing to several buy-ins. The Consortium’s initial network comprises 56 universities from 24 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), in addition to 8 US universities, including 5 minority-serving institutions. The LASER PULSE consortium will run from 2018-2023 and the network of universities will continue to grow and expand throughout this time period. It is part of the Higher Education Solutions Network 2.0 portfolio, together with the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER), the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC), and the Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships Annual Program Statement (STIP APS).