. "6 Reshaping U.S.-Russian Cooperation in the Biological Sciences and Biotechnology." Biological Science and Biotechnology in Russia: Controlling Diseases and Enhancing Security. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.
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Biological Science and Biotechnology in Russia: Controlling Diseases and Enhancing Security
decreased and eventually phased out. In the long run, paying salaries is clearly a Russian responsibility. Western financial contributions could be directed more toward supporting institutional infrastructure needed for effective cooperation. Covering the costs of selected modern equipment and supplies and the costs of modern communications networks is increasingly important.
U.S. projects implemented through the ISTC highlight this issue. ISTC’s approach favors support for salaries over support for non-salary items such as equipment, typically awarding less than 50 percent of the total amount to non-salary items in a given project. This is based on the belief that the provision of salary support is the most important factor in reducing incentives for the proliferation of expertise. This short-term argument is important, but it needs to be balanced against the longer-term viability of Russian institutes to continue operations after completion of individual projects. Whether or not there is external financing, the Russian government is usually compelled to provide at least minimal support for salaries whereas financing large equipment purchases is considered optional. As a result ISTC’s best investment in many cases may be to spend 60 to 70 percent of project funds on equipment that will help sustain the research groups into the future. This approach has been successfully integrated into a related Department of State program, the BioIndustry Initiative. These and other shifts in the sharing of responsibility at the project level can often contribute to fostering genuine partnerships as well as helping to ensure the sustainability of cooperative activities.
Collectively, the recommendations in this report, and particularly those in this chapter, should help restore Russia’s capacity to join with the United States and the broader international community in leading an expanded global effort to control infectious diseases. The proposed bilateral intergovernmental commission can play a pivotal role to this end.