THE MIDDLE EAST REGIONAL COOPERATION PROGRAM – MERC
USAID’s MERC Program funds peer-reviewed collaborative research projects between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Established as a result of the Camp David Peace Accords to promote ArabIsraeli cooperation, MERC has expanded beyond its original participants, Egypt and Israel, and also funded Arab-Israeli projects with researchers and institutions in Jordan, Morocco, West Bank/Gaza, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Other Arab countries are also eligible, including those in the Maghreb and Gulf regions. MERC currently supports nearly 40 active Arab-Israeli projects across a wide range of topics. The dual goals of the MERC Program are: 1) To contribute to development and the quality of life in the Middle East region through the application of research and technology. 2) To contribute to Arab-Israeli cooperation by establishing strong working relationships that last beyond the life of the project.
TOPICS OF INTEREST
MERC projects are not restricted to a particular technical sector. The program seeks applied research and technology development proposals within the broad areas of the natural, physical, and social sciences and engineering. Investigators are also encouraged to integrate social science approaches, economics, and the use of information technology into the research where appropriate. However, it is not considered appropriate or innovative to include sophisticated methodologies when they do not address the overall development goals of the project. The program aims to promote researcher-initiated ideas; therefore USAID does not assist in proposal development. Ideally, MERC projects should apply research and technology to regional problems rather than issues of strictly local or even global concern. Examples of the types of development impacts MERC aims to achieve include, but are not limited to: economic growth that increases incomes of the disadvantaged, improved environmental management, increased food production, water conservation and efficient use, and reduction of the burden of disease through better treatments or health-management strategies.
Deadline for receipt of Pre-proposals is December 17, 2018