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Evaluation of Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)


  • PIRE supports collaborations between U.S. and foreign researchers.
  • Abt evaluated the program.
  • Abt found a number of benefits from participation in PIRE.
The Challenge

Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program funds intellectually substantive collaborations between U.S. and foreign researchers where the international partnership is essential to the research effort. The National Science Foundation runs the program and wanted to evaluate the impact PIRE has made in the U.S. and globally. 

The Approach

Abt Associates conducted an evaluation for NSF that: 

  • Compared the research outcomes of PIRE and comparison group awards and personnel, including principal investigators and postdoctoral and graduate student participants; 

  • Compared participant experiences, particularly collaborations with foreign investigators during and subsequent to the award period; 

  • Examined the role of U.S. institutional policies and practices in the implementation of PIRE awards; and 

  • Explored potential contributions to global societal challenges. 

The Results

Our evaluation found that: 

  • The PIRE program appears to foster international collaboration by U.S. scientists and engineers; 

  • PIRE participants are more likely than others who engage in single-award funded international collaborations to continue collaborating internationally after the end of the award; 

  • Early career scientists benefit from PIRE through increased research productivity; and 

  • Postdocs in PIRE see an increase, on average, in the impact of their research, as measured by citations of published journal articles.

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