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Interacademy Programs Between the United States and Eastern Europe 1967-2009: The Changing Landscape
specialists in a variety of technical areas.1 DOD already supports many research projects in the region—particularly in the Czech Republic and Poland. These projects raise concerns over the imbalance of the American approach. Indeed, senior officials from the region have commented that too many cooperative research activities are devoted to security issues, particularly dual-use topics.
Given the reduced presence of the U.S. Agency for International Development in the region, with the exception of a significant presence in some states of the former Yugoslavia, there are few stable U.S. civilian programs available to support scientific exchanges. The Fulbright Program and the Open Society Foundation offices are important, although they provide relatively little support in the natural sciences. In a significant exception to the clamor to “go global,” the National Science Foundation has entered into a program with the Czech Ministry of Education to support researchers in the two countries engaged in joint research projects.
Set forth below are several approaches whereby the academies can assist in promoting scientific cooperation that should benefit the participating countries.
The InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP), headquartered in Trieste, is a consortium of about 100 academies of science. Almost all academies in Eastern Europe as well as the National Academy of Sciences are members. Its core function is to build the capacities of science academies in all countries and to enhance their capabilities to provide high-quality scientific advice to governments. The IAP carries out consultations and issues statements on topics of global concern (for example, science education, water management, biosecurity, and access to digitized knowledge). The topics are selected by the members, and each member determines how active it will be in carrying out IAP projects. This well-established forum offers many opportunities for interactions among U.S. and Eastern European scientists (see www.interacademies.net/iap).
The InterAcademy Council, located in Amsterdam, prepares in-depth reports on topics of interest to the member academies. In 2009 the
Representatives of the research offices of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force based in London were not able to provide information concerning the extent of their support of research institutions in Eastern Europe. However, based on conversations with the U.S. embassies in the region, the support in some countries is in the millions of dollars each year.