of European funding organizations, particularly the European Union’s Framework Program. In the United States, traditional financial supporters of scientific cooperation—both government agencies and private foundations—are increasingly looking to other areas of the world where security and international development concerns are viewed as more immediate, including the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Also, some funders are more interested in supporting ambitious global programs, such as programs that address broad-ranging energy and biotechnology challenges, rather than more limited regional or country-specific activities that may be better suited for implementation by academies. The academies need to convince governments that “going global” should enrich rather than displace successful regional and bilateral activities.

Eastern Europe is a unique cluster of middle-income countries with strong scientific capabilities in a number of important areas and with a long history of scientific interchange with the United States that unfortunately was disrupted for nearly one-half century. The legacy of scientific and educational excellence throughout the region is strong, and the desire to strengthen partnership with U.S. colleagues is omnipresent. Considerable funding for research from Brussels has oriented much of the scientific enterprise toward cooperation with partners on the same side of the ocean.

The challenge for the U.S. government and other American funding organizations is to capitalize on the capabilities and enthusiasm for cooperation of Eastern European colleagues at a time when Washington’s attention is focused elsewhere. While the future of U.S. scientific relations with the region must fit into the broad general framework of international academic relations, the special attributes of the region should be fully recognized. No other geographic cluster of middle-income countries can boast the likes of a Charles University in Prague, a Warsaw University, a Szeged Biological Center in Hungary, and a Bucharest Polytechnical University, for example. Also, the strategic importance of the region is obvious. And the American reputation is clearly on the line in the struggling areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Kosovo. The era for science diplomacy in the region has not ended. It is continuing.

Of special concern is the growing role of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in leading U.S. efforts to promote bilateral scientific cooperation. For example, the opening of new air bases in Romania and Bulgaria and other future strategic initiatives by DOD in the region will probably be accompanied by new interactions between American and local



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement