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But despite the hardships, many Russian scientists and engineers maintain a remarkable sense of optimism. They predict a slowing of the internal brain drain that is sapping science and restoration of respect for science and scientists by Russian society, even as they toil in ill-equipped laboratories and outmoded production facilities. The leaders of the Russian Academy of Sciences recognize that the country’s science and technology infrastructure is in need of technological resuscitation that will be slow in coming, particularly if they rely only on federal budgets for support of the massive upgrading effort. They understand the importance of paying greater attention to the entire innovation cycle, a process that extends far beyond basic research, beginning with identification of real market needs and concluding only when sales to paying customers are a sustainable reality. Meanwhile, they have begun to attract funds from wealthy Russians to support the research activities of particularly promising young scientific leaders, and several oligarchs support an annual prize of $1 million for science and technology achievements in the field of energy (heralded by the Russian government as the “Nobel Prize for Energy”).2 Even the painful task of systematically downsizing oversized research facilities is beginning as a few biophysics laboratories are singled out as standard bearers for the country (Allakhverdov and Pokrovsky, 2003).

No government that is serious about globalization and the emergence of knowledge-based economies can afford to ignore developments in Russia. For decades, the United States has benefited from the achievements of Russian scientists and engineers, and future benefits are clearly in the offing. It is easy to understand the security arguments for engaging in cooperative programs Russian specialists who have weapons-related experience that might otherwise be directed to parties with hostile intentions. At the same time, the benefits that the United States can derive from bilateral research and development efforts in the civilian arena, while perhaps more difficult to appreciate, also can be profound. The academies in the two countries have an unusual opportunity to demonstrate the importance of cooperation in civilian science and technology. This is not an easy task, but, as we have seen, it is a challenge that can be met through projects that translate concepts into practical applications with near-term payoffs.

The examples of ways in which scientific cooperation has cleared up misconceptions about the activities and intentions of counterparts across

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Author interviews with the first Russian recipient of the energy prize and with the administrator of prizes contributed by Russian oligarchs for young scientists, June 2003.



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