USAID ready to fork out millions for bright ideas


(Wally Santana/AP)

Apparently not.

Seems the U.S. Agency for International Development disagrees, and it’s setting up yet another idea-factory to churn out bright and shiny proposals.

And they won’t come cheap. We’re told the agency is trolling its budget for somewhere around $10 million to create a kind of decentralized think tank.

USAID characterized the plan, which it has released in draft form, as a way of tapping into the collective wisdom of academia to create research and development teams across the country. They’ve suggested setting up an unnamed number of centers--some at individual colleges and universities, some comprised of several such institutions--aimed at tackling problems of global development.

“The question is how to make use of the intellectual power that’s out there to define and solve some of the world’s most challenging development issues,” a USAID official tells us.

They say no budget has been set, but an individual college might get a million or so, while a collaborative center made up of a few schools could get $4 million to $5 million.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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