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 FY12, under this agreement ARS continued to fund the ARS collaboration costs of 47 on-going research projects with Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen. Examples of these ongoing projects include 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. In addition, ARS extended two projects with Ukraine for one to two years ranging in funding from $100,000 - $200,000 with funding held by the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU). These extensions will allow the collaborators to continue to expand their research on monitoring of avian influenza and Newcastle disease among wild birds from the Azov-Black Sea region and study the basis of immunity formation and metabolism regulation in pathogenesis of animal diseases such as avian influenza. In addition, ARS coordinated the final development and review of one new project with Ukraine on the genomic, epidemiological and biological characterization of Newcastle disease virus isolates in Ukraine. ARS drafted and submitted to its Russian partners a specific cooperative agreement for collaboration on a project 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. The project is pending signature from the Russian side. This agreement with DOS will be extended through August 31, 2013.