The International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Program is a unique effort that addresses the interdependent issues of biological exploration and discovery, socioeconomic benefits, and biodiversity conservation. Modern medicine, crop protection, and bioenergy remain very dependent on chemical or biological derivatives of diverse organisms from nature and advances in these areas continue to look to biodiversity for solutions. Discovery research to understand the diverse potential applications of earth's plants, animals and microorganisms is urgent because enduring habitat destruction and the resulting diminishment of biodiversity will make it increasingly difficult to do so in the future.
The Fogarty-managed Biodiversity Program is designed to guide natural products drug discovery, ethnomedical and botanicals research, crop protection science and bioenergy exploration toward international collaborative models that provide local communities, universities and other organizations from low and middle income countries direct benefits from the diverse biological resources of their countries. Benefit-sharing may provide clear incentives for preservation and sustainable use of that biodiversity.
Research supported by the ICBG program focuses upon collection-based exploration of bioactive small molecules, proteins, and metabolic pathways derived from diverse plants, marine organisms, and microbes to identify potential lead candidates for drug development, crop protection and bioenergy development as well as analytical advances for plant-based dietary supplements. Disease targets include cancer, malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, neglected tropical diseases, immune and central nervous system disorders. Associated with the collaborative international research the ICBGs make significant investments in training of U.S. and foreign scientists in laboratory and field work, and structure their partnerships using research and benefit-sharing agreements that are widely used as models for material transfer agreements and international policy discussions regarding biodiversity use and conservation.
Funding for this program is currently provided by the following agency partners:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Fogarty International Center
- National Cancer Institute
- National Institute of General Medical Science
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Office of Dietary Supplements
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
- US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture
- Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Biological and Environmental Research
- National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Oceans and Human Health Program