Cooperation as a Scientific and Cultural Experience

“I remain convinced of the value of cooperation, not only in a narrow scientific sense but as a broad cultural experience as well. At a time when so many channels of cooperation and communication with Soviet and East European colleagues have shrunk, the interacademy programs assume greater significance than their modest size would suggest. They offer Americans rare opportunities for access and for joint work with scientific colleagues and opportunities for scientists from those countries to visit the United States. But they will command wholehearted participation only if scientists are respected and treated equitably so they can participate in an unfettered manner in cooperation.”

Walter Rosenblith, foreign secretary, NAS, 1983.

SOURCE: National Research Council (NRC) Office of Soviet and East European Affairs. 1983. Newsletter 5(1).

programs based on formal agreements with the academies of sciences of the region. The academies, with the exceptions of those in Yugoslavia and Romania, had adopted the Soviet model of an academy of sciences, which managed most of the leading basic research institutions of the countries. Box S-1 presents the view of one of the foreign secretaries on the purpose of the programs.

Interacademy cooperation was based on a quota system, which specified the number of exchange months that were available for sending scientists in each direction. These exchange months were divided between long-term visits of up to one year and short-term visits of about one month. The National Science Foundation provided financial support, and therefore the emphasis was on basic research, with agriculture and health projects not generally included. Box S-2 sets forth the quotas in 1978, as an example of the distribution of available resources throughout the region.

Leading U.S. and Hungarian scientists carried out a detailed review in 1989 of a decade of exchanges of individual scientists involving Hungary, with more limited reviews targeted on other countries as well. The positive impacts of the program with Hungary included the following:

  • Stimulating fresh scientific perspectives

  • Exchanging experiences on theoretical and experimental techniques

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