USAID Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research

Funded by: USAIDDate Range: 2018 - 2023Project Lead: Purdue UniversityNotre Dame Collaborators: Catholic Relief Services, Indiana University, Pulte InstituteContact: Tom Purekal

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 allows 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 independently identifies 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. The program held Research for Development conferences in Uganda, Colombia, and Ethiopia. It also collaborated 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 has contributed to several buy-ins, including a five-year buy-in reviving agro-based cultural practices of minority communities in northern Iraq who were targeted by the Islamic State. The Consortium’s initial network comprosed of 56 universities from 24 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), in addition to 8 US universities, including 5 minority-serving institutions. The initial grant period for the LASER PULSE consortium ran from 2018-2023, and has been extended through 2028. 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). 

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