ing expertise and costs to establishing global standards and assuring market access for final products. The global nature of many technological challenges and the enormous expense associated with developing new technologies has made international cooperation an essential element of national science and technology policy.

Successful cooperation, both among nations and among firms, requires care and commitment. Care is necessary because much depends on the choice of partner and the clear articulation of goals and responsibilities. The sustained commitment of individuals and effective organizations combined with sustained funding are essential for cooperative activities to bear fruit. To fully realize the benefits of international collaboration, substantial vision and commitment are required of researchers and policy makers alike.

The Committee has sought to foster such cooperation across international borders among researchers and policy makers. At the request of the White House, the State Department, and the European Union, the Academies Committee organized in June 1998 a major two-day conference, convened at the National Academies, to celebrate the signature of the 1997 Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the United States of America and to inform the U.S. and European research communities of its relevance. While the agreement itself represents a significant achievement, creating a bridge between the R&D systems on both sides of the Atlantic, its full potential can be realized only if it can encourage mutually beneficial cooperation.29

The conference served as an important opportunity to publicize the agreement within the research community and among policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic. By bringing together experts in substantive areas where opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships were believed to exist, the conference was able to examine crosscutting issues of common interest in such areas as the framework for R&D cooperation, small business development, and the internationalization of the technical workforce. As intended, the conference identified technology areas of interest to the United States and our European partners, helped to clarify the modalities of U.S.-E.U. cooperation, and furthered mutually beneficial science and technology cooperation between the European Union and the United States—two of the premier research areas of the world.

29  

See National Research Council, New Vistas in Transatlantic Science and Technology Cooperation, C. Wessner, ed., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999.



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