the United States or Russia. At the outset, the commitments of key interlocutors and scientists should be clear to both sides. The commitments should, to the extent possible, include reciprocal travel to consult on progress of the programs. If appropriate, important organizations from other countries might be considered as additional participants in the planned activities.
4. Cooperation that builds on mutual strengths of the two countries and extends ongoing joint activities of their institutions is usually on a solid footing. However, initiation of bilateral activities in some subfields of biology wherein one country has relatively limited experience will require considerable patience, with full recognition of the differences in capabilities. The expectations as to mutual scientific benefits need to be carefully considered, depending on the comparability of capabilities and interests.
5. Strong commitments and support by institutions in both countries that are participating in bioengagement are essential. Such support includes releasing key participants from other duties when necessary; providing appropriate working facilities for participating scientists; ensuring access by research teams to water, power, communications, maintenance, and transportation infrastructures of the institutions; and arranging facilitative services for visiting scientists.
6. The importance of up-front planning, including pilot efforts if appropriate, prior to initiating significant program activities cannot be overemphasized. A get-acquainted phase that involves clarification of tasks, agreements on responsibilities and time lines, and preliminary identification of desired outcomes may be essential.
7. Development of strategies for achieving long-term support of important activities deserves high priority. Government agencies and other organizations operating on year-by-year budget allocations often have difficulties in considering the implications of long-term programs. But continuation over the long term is often a key to significant payoff from some programs.
In short, wide-ranging consultations on details of proposed projects and discussions of preliminary plans for extending successful efforts are highly desirable early steps. Metrics include, for example (a) follow-on activities such as success in applying for additional grants, (b) realization of plans for publications, (c) filing of patent applications that draw on collaborative research results, (d) improvements of facilities to overcome technical weaknesses in the laboratories that may emerge during initial cooperative activities, (e) adoption of new protocols or procedures that have demonstrated success, and (f) enrollment in the cooperative activities of talented young investigators who are interested in linking their early careers to international projects.
8. The two governments have expanded their initial visions of narrow nonproliferation approaches, recognizing that strengthening broadly based institutional infrastructures is a key aspect in addressing bioterrorism and proliferation concerns. Indeed, a capacity-building approach when considering biosecurity and biosafety is imperative.