research university, Dr. Mote faced few constraints in concluding research collaboration agreements with foreign governments, academic institutions, and companies. He estimated that the University of Maryland at College Park has over 50 agreements with entities in China alone.
Agreements are not only concluded at the University of Maryland’s central administration level—schools, departments and even individual faculty and student groups can conclude agreements with non-U.S. counterparts to pursue collaborative research. Particularly in the case of broad memoranda of understanding, special permissions are not generally required.
The types of governmental organizations participating are also proliferating. They can include multilateral organizations (such as the World Bank) and governments at all levels (including municipalities and tribal governments). Industry partners may be large, established multinational enterprises or small start-ups.
Partnerships become more vulnerable to pitfalls at the point where collaborative research is made operational through the allocation or transfer of funds, the specification of deliverables, and the development of concrete research plans. One primary goal of the workshop, Dr. Mote said, is to better understand the risks involved in international research collaboration for organizations and individual participants, and the mechanisms that can be used to manage those risks.
Kathie L. Olsen, Vice President for International Programs at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), now Founder and Managing Director of ScienceWorks, LLC, was a keynote speaker at the workshop. She pointed out that the advantages of international research collaborations are being more widely recognized. At the same time, globalization poses some challenges to the United States. These challenges also represent opportunities to renew U.S. strengths.
For example, students may represent a competitive strength for the United States. Many campuses have multiple international research efforts. U.S. industry needs employees who are comfortable working in international settings. How can research be integrated with year-abroad and other educational programs to provide expanded opportunities for U.S. students? What should academic research programs look like in five or ten years? Can U.S. universities plan strategically so that students are prepared, research is enhanced, and U.S. global competitiveness is strengthened?
Dr. Olsen explained that part of the context is that the number of foreign students in the United States far exceeds the number of American