Schweitzer, Glenn E.. "1 New Approaches to Cooperation." Interacademy Programs Between the United States and Eastern Europe 1967-2009: The Changing Landscape. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Interacademy Programs Between the United States and Eastern Europe 1967-2009: The Changing Landscape
reports that identified their international contacts and key foreign scientists whom they encountered abroad. While at home, they also reported on international activities including exchanges of journal articles. Given such inhibitions, researchers in the region were often out-of-date with international scientific achievements; and frequently they had no alternative to relying on abstracts describing international advances in their fields of interest.
Of particular interest for this report was the adoption in most of Eastern Europe (that is, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the GDR) of the Soviet model of an academy of sciences. In this model, the academies assumed responsibility for managing many of the best basic research groups within the countries. The academies were advocates of rigid top-down planning and centralized financing of research activities, often carried out pursuant to strong guidance from government agencies.
The conflicts between the new role of the academies and the longstanding prerogatives of the universities as guardians for graduate students and associated research activities quickly became apparent. In general, universities successfully resisted the erosion of their pedagogical responsibilities, a struggle that continued into the 1990s. The new structures for science continue to direct basic research in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, although the academies are less dominant as central planning mechanisms and less arbitrary in addressing personnel appointments, budget allocations, and program priorities. From university research laboratories to technology-oriented firms, few scientists of the region were left on their own to explore and apply science according to local needs and personal interests. Indeed, local needs and interests were soon defined by leaders of the Warsaw Pact as the collective needs and interests of the states of the region. More often than not, the Soviet Union was the leading state and often the primary beneficiary of collective actions.
An important mechanism for exerting direction of the research and development activities of the Eastern European countries was to be a newly established Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA). The facilities for CMEA’s headquarters were constructed in the late 1950s and became fully operational during the early 1960s. The offices were located in Moscow, very close to the American Embassy, where they served as a frequent reminder for American diplomats of the reach of the Soviet empire. CMEA was staffed by more than 2,000 people, including many technical specialists from the Soviet Union and small scientific cadres from the other countries.
As to the scientific interests of CMEA, an important concept was to take advantage of the special technical strengths of the individual coun-