NDIGD selected as partner on two multimillion-dollar USAID research-assistance consortiums

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Keough School of Global Affairs

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD), part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, will initially receive approximately $1.75 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the only U.S. partner on two separate research-assistance consortiums established to support higher education in developing countries.


As part of the Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research Partners for University-Led Solutions Engine (LASER PULSE) consortium, supported by a $70 million USAID grant, Notre Dame will partner with consortium leader Purdue University to identify new research questions, conduct demand-driven research and translate research results into development impact for USAID. Supporting participants include Indiana University, Catholic Relief Services and Makerere University in Uganda. The consortium will also work to build the technical and research capacity of universities and researchers in developing countries. Notre Dame will lead the consortium’s monitoring and evaluation activities.


Under the leadership of the nonpartisan research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) consortium, funded by a $24 million USAID grant, will help build a network of U.S. and international researchers that will provide USAID with rapid response and on-demand research expertise. The initial network is composed of 254 faculty, graduate students, postdocs and lecturers — many based at Notre Dame — who are available to support the scientific and research-based technical assistance needs for USAID.


“As the Keough School is dedicated to both policy and practice, it is an honor to be selected by USAID to contribute to these global evidence-based research and learning programs,” said R. Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean. “Most importantly, this partnership will help translate that research into impact through practitioners in the field.”


The LASER PULSE award will run for five years, from 2018 to 2023, and the RTAC award will run for four years, from 2018 to 2022. Through NDIGD, interdisciplinary faculty at Notre Dame will be able to support the efforts of either consortium and receive funding to work on evidence-based research and policy work, in coordination with many of USAID’s missions across the globe.


“It is a credit to NDIGD and the Keough School that they have built the capability and track record to be an integral part of these two highly competitive major grants from USAID,” said Robert J. Bernhard, vice president for research. “These grants help us fulfill the greater mission of Notre Dame to conduct research as a force for good in the world.”


Over the past four years, NDIGD has played an integral role in rapidly growing both Notre Dame’s portfolio of grants and its working partnership with USAID, having won 19 USAID grants for the University in that time. Through these grants, NDIGD and faculty at Notre Dame have partnered with USAID across disciplines to improve the lives of thousands in developing countries through cutting-edge methods for evaluation, student fellowships, and other evidence-based research. The USAID grants align well with NGIGD’s mission to address global poverty and inequality through policy, practice and partnership.



Contact: Luis Ruuska, communications specialist, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, lruuska@nd.edu