Vietnamese scholars and their US partners have earned three awards in a US Government programme to fund scientific research in developing countries, according to a press release issued by the US Embassy in Vietnam.
The result came after the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), under the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) awards, announced its second round of research collaboration grants.

PEER is a USAID-funded competitive grants programme that is being administered by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in coordination with NSF.

Vietnam’s winning research programmes include ‘the conservation genetics for improved biodiversity and resource management in a changing Mekong Delta’, ‘Technical development and field-testing of a self-contained inexpensive wave energy converter device’, and ‘Evaluating the sustainability of groundwater resources: academic and scientific gaps’.

The first programme will examine genetic adaptation of populations to the changing conditions of the Mekong Delta caused by increasing effects of damming, development, agriculture and climate change. The research associates are Dang Thuy Binh from Nha Trang University and Kent E. Carpenter from Old Dominion University.
The second one will work to develop a field-deployable wave energy converter device to provide basic electrical needs for people living in underdeveloped and remote coastal communities in Vietnam. The project will focus on further developing the wave energy converter device to improve mechanical and electrical efficiency, reduce production costs and explore potential uses such as an ocean sensor platform. The research is jointly conducted by Tho H. Nguyen of Tan Tao University and Brian Bingham of the University of Hawaii.

The last one will sample groundwater around Hanoi to assess the risks of arsenic contamination. Young scientists will be trained and carry out the sampling and gather information needed to ensure the safety and sustainability of aquifers. The research is co-hosted by Pham T.K. Trang of Hanoi University of Science and Benjamin Carlos Bostick of Columbia University.
In 2013, USAID and the NSF have awarded 54 new research projects in 32 countries totaling nearly 7.5 million USD to collaborate on areas such as agroforestry, groundwater purification, biodiversity, volcano risk reduction, and drought and climate change.

PEER Science awardees were selected from nearly 300 high-quality proposals and represent over 76 million USD of leveraged NSF funding through collaborations with their US research partners.

The third call for PEER Science proposals is expected to be announced in early September 2013.-VNA