Revitalization of collaborative efforts can benefit from more sophisticated research, diagnostic, and remediation tools that are now available. The governments have drawn on important experience for more-effective synchronization of parallel activities, such as disease surveillance activities of global interest. At the same time, cumbersome approaches of the past for developing and managing joint efforts can be replaced by streamlined efforts that reduce impediments to cooperation and increase opportunities for positive impacts.
This chapter provides a broad overview of the unique opportunities for obtaining higher returns on investments in bioengagement. The discussion addresses special attributes of the U.S.-Russian relationship that can continue to lead to significant scientific results, while underscoring the importance of government financing to initiate long-term programs. Many examples of specific activities that have led to mutual benefits during the past decade along with suggestions for new approaches are then presented in subsequent chapters.
IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS OF THE U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONSHIP
Extensive Scientific Capabilities of the United States and Russia
Many tens of thousands of scientists and members of their support staffs in both the United States and Russia, with ages ranging from the early twenties to the eighties, are engaged in (a) carrying out research activities in a number of subfields of biology and (b) promoting applications of biological and biotechnology advances at home and abroad. Skilled scientists in the two countries account for an estimated 20 percent of the world’s highly trained specialists involved in activities linked to the life sciences.3 Of course, with the rapid growth of the high-skill labor pools in India and China, the percentage will decline. However, for the next decade, the number of experienced life scientists and skilled young investigators in the two countries will continue to be a significant portion of worldwide capabilities.
Reflecting the importance of the life sciences, a large percentage of the global scientific work force, including both researchers and service providers, is involved in advancing the biological sciences and biotechnology. They assist in protecting human health, increasing the food supply, developing new energy sources, and enhancing the quality of the environment. The intensity of international interest in advances in the biological sciences and biotechnology, which address the very basis of life, continues to rise. At the same time, many countries are becoming more deeply immersed than ever before in interdisciplinary approaches that attract increased attention of specialists in a variety of fields, which intersect with biology—e.g., physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, engineering, and bioinformatics. Adequate recognition of this convergence of various disciplines is important for designing and carrying out research