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•   Availability of a plethora of varied habitats and biomes, as well as species not identified elsewhere in the world, which enhance the scope and quality of inventories and databases.

•   Common interests in the biology and ecology of the Arctic region.

•   Talented Russian researchers with experience in working with a wide array of microbial species.

•   Extensive seed collections unique to Russia.

•   Lower costs of research conducted in Russia than of comparable research carried out in the United States.

Challenges for NSF to fund work in Russia include the following:

•   Lack of a mechanism to recoup funds or impose penalties for inappropriate use of NSF funds by foreign institutes or researchers.

•   Total reliance on individual American scientists to identify appropriate collaborators.

•   Competition for limited funds to be used abroad between activities to be carried out in Russia and activities in other regions of high scientific interest (e.g., ecological studies of tropical regions with important biodiversity issues).

SOURCE: Information provided by NSF, December 2011.



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