1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will support the Department of State’s Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) mission through scientific cooperation in agricultural research to: • Reduce the potential for dual-use application of biological sciences and technologies, particularly by terrorists and proliferant states; • Support U.S. efforts to counter biological terrorism; • Improve international bioscience laboratory capacity through research projects on infectious diseases that will lead to improved surveillance, diagnostics and disease control; • Build science, technology and research sustainability; and • Support long-term proliferation threat reduction. ARS’s programs advance agricultural science by establishing new expertise in BEP targeted countries, helping to improve the economy of BEP countries through advances in agricultural science and technology, and while enhancing the effectiveness and productivity of ARS research programs. The Office of International Research Programs (OIRP) of ARS, in coordination with the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation/Cooperative Threat Reduction Office (ISN/CTR), will provide program management and administrative approval and oversight to ensure that all collaborations are consistent with ARS objectives and U.S. foreign policy. OIRP will work with additional relevant partners to engage scientific experts in animal health research, development, monitoring and surveillance.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
The Office of International Research Programs (OIRP) of ARS, in coordination with the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation/Cooperative Threat Reduction Office (ISN/CTR), will provide program management and administrative approval and oversight to ensure that all collaborations are consistent with ARS objectives and U.S. foreign policy. OIRP will work with additional relevant partners to engage scientific experts in agricultural research, development, monitoring and surveillance.
3. Progress Report
In FY11, under this agreement ARS continued to fund the ARS collaboration costs of 41 on-going research projects with Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. In addition, ARS extended 12 projects with Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine for 18 months to three years ranging in funding from $100,000 - $200,000 with funding held by the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) and Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU). These extensions will allow the collaborators to continue to expand their research on brucellosis prevalence, avian influenza, Newcastle disease, and plant disease. In addition, ARS coordinated the final development and review of one new project with Russia titled “Identify, characterize and fuse phage virion associated conserved staphylolytic peptidoglycan hydrolase domains for the purpose of producing triple-acting fusion antimicrobials against Staphylococcus aureus” as a follow on project to an ARS – Russia project completed in 2010. A specific cooperative agreement between ARS and the Russian institute is in the process of being finalized. Funding was also provided for a new research project on Rift Valley Fever surveillance in Algeria. Additional funding was provided for ARS expenses under ongoing research collaborations with: India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt, Yemen, and South Africa. These ongoing projects address Rift Valley fever diagnosis and surveillance; vaccine studies for Foot and Mouth Disease; control of livestock parasites in the Philippines; Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome; and surveillance and control of Newcastle Disease. ARS also received funds to support a multinational workshop on Brucellosis research, targeting countries in Africa and the Middle East where Brucellosis is endemic. This agreement with DOS was extended through August 31, 2012.