Trends in USAID support for CRSPs and other University Involvement in U.S. Foreign Assistance.
S. K. De Datta1, Theo A. Dillaha1, and Jonathan Williams2. (1) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Office of International Research, Education and Development (0378), 526 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061, (2) University of Georgia - Griffin, 1109 Experiment St., Stuckey Bldg., Rm. 148, Griffin, GA 30223
Title XII Amendment of 1974 to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 created the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development to “strengthen the capacity of U.S. land-grant and other eligible universities … to increase world food production” through long-term development activities. The Title was amended again in 2000 and the significant change to the amendment was to shift from “strengthen the capacities of U.S. universities” to “mobilize the capacities of U.S. universities” to carry out the mandates of the Act. The last decade has seen a significant decline in USAID support for agricultural development, participant training, and the involvement of U.S. universities in these activities. In terms of long-term training, numbers decreased from 9,100 students in the early 1990s to approximately 1,200 students by 2003. Reduced USAID support to universities has resulted in the dissolution of university consortia, declining international development degree programs, and decreased university participation in development activities and internationalization of curricula. The primary reasons for this decrease in USAID-U.S. university cooperation are reduced flexibility in USAID’s budget due to Congressional mandates and a significant shift within USAID from long-term to short-term development goals. One major university program, the Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP), has been particularly hard hit by USAID changes, suffering inflation adjusted reductions in funding of from $22 million in 2000 (2007 dollars) to a proposed $18 million in FY 2008 while facing major portfolio modifications. The proposed portfolio changes were developed with little university consultation and limited input from BIFAD as mandated by Title XII legislation. This presentation describes the implications of the trend towards decreased USAID involvement of U.S. universities in U.S. foreign assistance and consequences for foreign assistance goals and U.S. leadership in agricultural research. The principal focus is on the CRSPs, but trends in other university programs are also discussed.