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U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel: Cooperative Development Research Program (CDR)

The U.S.-Israel Cooperative Development Research (CDR) Program is a research activity of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and is an integral part of the U.S. program of development assistance. The program seeks to stimulate new and innovative scientific research on problems of importance to developing countries. It provides research grants for researchers in USAID target countries and Israeli scientists to cooperate in joint research after a highly competitive review.

The CDR program was Congressionally chartered in 1985 to make Israeli experience in the application of science to development available to developing countries. It also seeks to encourage broad scientific contacts between Israel and USAID supported countries. CDR focuses on helping scientists from target developing countries obtain Israeli technology and to collaborate with Israeli researchers. Country eligibility changes with the international situation. CDR grants are for no more than $200,000 total funding (usually spread over 3, 4, or even 5 years). The U.S. Agency for International Development allocates $3 million to fund the program and has funded 350 grants worth more than $54 million since it was established.

A second part of the program is a special competition (maximum grant is $200,000) to support Israeli and U.S. collaboration with selected Central Asian Republics (CAR) which are limited to, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and the Republic of Georgia. The focus is on innovative agricultural problems that are especially important in these countries.

The CDR Program seeks innovative research ideas in the natural sciences and engineering that aim to solve serious development problems. In this program, "innovative research" is the testing of a scientific hypothesis or the development of new technology or methodology. Research always involves organized observation in an experimental setting (laboratory or field). CDR concentrates on the initial, particularly innovative phase of an investigation, but with a clear application to development problems.

"Development problems" are significant issues that limit the quality of life, especially of the poor, in target countries. CDR seeks such eventual benefits as contribution to economic growth, reduction of the burden of disease or overpopulation, and protection of the environment. Emphasis is given to problems that are common to several target countries and are not the predominant focus of domestic research funding in the United States.

The CDR Program emphasizes areas in which Israeli technology and expertise could be particularly valuable to the target countries. These areas include, but are not limited to, arid-lands and saline agriculture, irrigation and hydrology, biological pest control, development of appropriate medical technology, solar energy, and desalinization. Investigators are encouraged to integrate social science approaches and the use of computer technology in the research, where appropriate. However, it is not considered appropriate or innovative to include sophisticated methodologies when they do not directly address the overall development goals of the project.

Researchers may be from university, government or private-sector laboratories. Government laboratories are required to provide at least 25% matching funds. Appropriate CDR submissions may also be transferred for competition in the USAID Middle-East Regional Cooperation Program, which funds cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Please note that bilateral technical cooperation between the U.S. and Israel is not supported by the CDR Program (it is, however, currently funded by other U.S.-Israel bilateral programs).

All applications must stand on their own merits and undergo peer review. Predominant benefit to developing countries and full intellectual participation of target country scientists are essential to all CDR projects.

Current CDR Target Countries

As of April 2004, the CDR Program supports collaboration between scientists from Israel and the following target countries.

Central African Republic
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Sao Tome
Sierra Leone
South Africa* (see below)
Sri Lanka

Advanced Developing Countries: research cooperation involving advanced developing countries (e.g., Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Thailand, and Venezuela) is rarely funded, and it must be unusually promising and of demonstrable benefit to target countries listed above, with full intellectual participation of target country scientists.

Central and Eastern Europe: Currently CDR is closed to new applications involving all of these countries.

Central Asian Republics and Republic of Georgia: Currently CDR is closed to new applications involving all of these countries.

Other Developed Countries: CDR does not support research collaboration with developed countries such as Japan, Australia, those in Western Europe, nor the People's Republic of China. Researchers from these countries may participate in CDR projects if funded from other sources.

Other CDR Targets: Palestinian scientists and institutions in the West Bank and Gaza.

United States: U.S. scientists may participate in CDR cooperative projects as a third partner with Israeli and target country colleagues.

The CDR Program supports research involving Israeli collaboration with international centers located in developing countries (e.g., ICDDR-B, IRRI, CIP, CIAT, ILRAD, ICIPE, ICAITI); target country investigators should be included in the teams for such projects.

* South Africa is listed above as a "target country" with the understanding that CDR research activities must clearly target problems facing disadvantaged people. While research in South Africa is not formally restricted to institutions in disadvantaged communities, all pre-proposals should clearly address the questions on "Relevance to Development" and "Capacity Strengthening" (pages 3 and 4 of these guidelines) in the context of CDR's goal of benefiting disadvantaged people.

U.S.-Israel Cooperative Development Research (CDR) Program
U.S. Agency for International Development
EGAT/IP, Room 2.11-152 RRB
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20523-2110, USA

Sources: USAID