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Texas A&M named partner in global solutions network

Published: Friday, November 9, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 02:11

The U.S. Agency for International Development announced its partnership with seven universities in the U.S. and around the globe — including Texas A&M — to help create new solutions to global development challenges.

The new partnership, called the Higher Education Solutions Network, was designed with the purpose of using new science and technology to address global development challenges.

Texas A&M and six other U.S. and foreign universities were selected as lead HESN partners in a five-year program following what has been called a “rigorous process.” About 500 institutions were under consideration and each of the seven lead universities will receive multi-million dollar funding.

"This national award is a tremendous recognition of our unique talents and ability to collaborate toward meaningful solutions to today's challenges," said A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.

Other institutions selected in this partnership include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkley, Michigan State University, Duke University, the College of William & Mary and Makerere University in Uganda.

The areas of development the partnership will focus on include global health, food security and chronic conflict. The goal is for each of the seven universities to work with USAID experts and Washington staff to create a development lab that will be used to study and solve key problems in these areas.

The main role of the development labs will be to establish technology and knowledge centers across all geographic regions to enhance global research and development.

“The Higher Education Solutions Network is the latest step in USAID's efforts to harness the best ideas from the academic and scientific community and young people worldwide to foster transformational progress in development,” said USAID administrator Rajiv Shah. “Through this network of development labs, we will recapture the legacy of science, technology and innovation as core drivers of development, as well as inspire and support the next generation of development leaders.”

The development lab that Texas A&M is creating will be known as the Center on Conflict and Development. The center’s main purpose will be to study the intersection between poverty, conflict and food insecurity to describe what has worked in the past and plans the future to improve conditions in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Edwin Price, director of the new C&D Center, said this move has been long in the making.

“It is a perfect expression of what we can do working across disciplines to address the problems of poverty, development and conflict in service to our nation and partners around the world,” Price said.

The U.S. Agency for International Development and the universities will provide funding for the endeavor. For every $10 of USAID funding, each of the universities will provide $6.60 toward the partnership.

“It’s a significant honor to be among the select few universities invited to participate in this far-reaching USAID program that stands to help the United States provide assistance to millions of needy people around the world,” Loftin said.


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