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Scientists, Engineers, and Track-Two Diplomacy: A Half-Century of U.S.-Russian Interacademy Cooperation Appendix H Press Release of the National Academies Dec. 17, 2003 Cooperation Between U.S. and Russian Science Academies Encourages Russian Investments in Innovative Research WASHINGTON—A partnership between the U.S. National Academies and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) to strengthen links between Russian researchers and private companies is showing promising results, the U.S. National Academies announced today. An increasing number of Russian companies are now providing tens of millions of dollars annually for applied research that is overseen by RAS. In addition, Russian businessmen are financing hundreds of grants each year for young researchers working in cutting-edge fields. Last month, for example, the Norilsk Nickel Co., one of Russia’s largest companies, made a commitment to provide RAS with $30 million annually for five years to support research on hydrogen energy. Last year the companies Gazprom, Neftegazprovodi, and Neftegastroy, in cooperation with the RAS, set up a number of “innovation centers” at RAS institutes. “The support of the U.S. National Academies in our efforts to intensify interaction with Russian industry has been a major stimulus in convincing Russian industrial leaders that we are prepared to respond to their needs quickly and authoritatively,” said Nikolay Laverov, RAS vice president and the Russian leader of the interacademy partnership. Albert Westwood, former vice president of Lockheed Martin and chair of the National Academies committee that guided the cooperative effort,
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Scientists, Engineers, and Track-Two Diplomacy: A Half-Century of U.S.-Russian Interacademy Cooperation emphasized the importance of having scientists work closely with industry. “Effective applied research requires scientists to spend sufficient time in the plants of their industrial clients to understand their actual needs and to identify their specific problems. More often than not, the problems revealed could not have been perceived in the laboratory. Research targeted in this way can be both innovative and cost-effective.” Under the interacademy program, U.S. and Russian specialists have concentrated on two major efforts—the development of a new innovation center at the RAS Institute of Geology and the expansion of an established center at the RAS Institute of Control Sciences. The program aims to strengthen connections between the centers’ researchers and existing or potential industrial clients through workshops, consultations, and improved electronic networking capabilities. Both centers have significantly expanded their customer bases since the partnership began. The interacademy effort has brought new attention within Russia to opportunities for improving the technological capabilities of Russian industry, participants said. For three years the Rutter Foundation in San Francisco has supported the interacademy effort in this area. Additional funding has been provided by the International Sciences and Technology Center in Moscow, the Civilian Research and Development Foundation in Arlington, Va., and the Russian Aluminum Co. The National Academies provide science, engineering, and medical advice to the federal government under a congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.
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