|Office of International Research Engagement and Cooperation
*Cow photo courtesy of Getty Images
The Office of International Research Engagement and Cooperation (OIREC) is the main contact for ARS international engagement, and provides leadership and coordination for the agency's international relationships. OIREC enhances and complements the ARS research mission through a deep understanding of global issues and an extensive international network of experts in science, agriculture, politics and diplomacy, and security. We use these assets in combination with our comprehensive knowledge of ARS policy and process to expand and enhance ARS's international reach.
OIREC is part of the ARS Office of National Programs (ONP) and collaborates with the ONP program areas to cultivate strategic partnerships that enhance the productivity, effectiveness, and impact of ARS research through mutually beneficial international research projects. OIREC also supports and advises ARS leadership in global science and technology engagements so that ARS can identify emerging ideas and solutions wherever they arise, increase the impact of research and development spending, and deliver new knowledge and technologies.
Additionally, OIREC coordinates and oversees efforts by the ARS Overseas Biological Control Laboratories. These four strategically located research laboratories enable ARS to study and partner with countries where invasive plants and insects originated, supporting the future mitigation of those threats in the United States.
What we do
OIREC empowers ARS researchers to innovate with new ideas, approaches, expertise, and resources from beyond our borders by working within ARS and partnering with other USDA, Federal, and international research entities to:
- Catalyze and manage international partnerships that enhance the agency's national programs to address critical needs of U.S. agriculture
- Manage the European Biological Control Laboratory and other overseas biological control laboratories through agreements with partners who study weed and insect species that are invasive to the United States
- Network with other U.S. government agencies and the international community to promote ARS’s interests and increase the value of ARS work for the U.S. taxpayer
- Provide subject matter expertise on international affairs and guidance to ARS researchers as they develop and implement collaborative, mutually beneficial international research activities
- Amplify international engagement and travel awareness best practices to help maximize the benefits of open international science and technology collaboration while protecting U.S. economic and national security
Why ARS Works Globally
While advances in agricultural science have always been critical to ensuring we help feed the world, its impact and importance is even greater now, more than ever, as population grows at a rapid rate, the availability of arable land steadily declines, and we have to deal with natural disaster, disease, and other emerging threats that impact the production and availability of food. Science and technology solutions are essential to meeting growing demand for food, maintaining market competitiveness and adapting to and mitigating risks. And because many agricultural challenges are transboundary, international research is often an essential component of ARS projects. ARS international research cooperation provides solutions to current and future agricultural productivity and sustainability challenges, beyond what can be achieved through purely domestic research.