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Research & Analysis

Middle East Regional Cooperation Program


Established in 1981, the MERC Program at USAID provides grants to Arab-Israeli research teams to encourage innovation in applied sciences and foster cross-border partnerships.

CUBRC, in partnership with J.E. Austin Associates, Inc., supports USAID by providing technical and logistical support for the MERC program.

man walks through Middle Eastern orchard

The Middle East Regional Cooperation Program (MERC)’s current portfolio of over 40 active grants spans topics including climate resilient agriculture, water resources management, public health, and environmental and marine conservation. MERC emphasizes training, outreach, and dissemination of research outcomes to support and inform sustainable resource management, economic growth, and policymaking in the Middle East and North Africa.

As contractors, we interface with Middle East researchers as they navigate research regulations and grant application procedures. Our team also recruits U.S. researchers to serve on peer review panels that analyze proposals to the MERC Program. Also, we monitor and evaluate grant progress to ensure that research and cross-border cooperation is being carried out according to grant agreements.