although this chapter has repeatedly highlighted the most difficult portion of the road—commercialization by the private sector.
Against this background of both public- and private-sector interest in applications of science, the committee reached two different but equally important conclusions.
1. Private-sector companies in each country, including state-owned Russian companies, will continue to need considerable government incentives to give greater attention to investment opportunities in the other country.
Over the years, there have been important examples of investments by U.S. firms in Russia and Russian organizations in the United States in areas other than biotechnology that have paid off for the investors. Lessons learned from these successes should be considered by the governments as they seek to promote international investments in both directions in biotechnology.
Several U.S. programs to link Russian research institutions with small U.S. biotechnology firms have been important, and particularly programs supported by DOE. However, protection of intellectual property being developed in Russia and intellectual property being considered for use by U.S. firms in their operations involving Russian organizations will be even more essential with the advancement of technologies. Also, the governments can work together to strengthen the legal framework for a business-friendly environment in Russia. Such steps are essential if expanded efforts of the private sector are to result in an increase in profitable undertakings.
2. Cooperative environmental projects are now conspicuously absent from the list of bilateral activities. There are many opportunities to combine efforts in this field. Among the newly emerging tools for conducting assessments of environmental problems are computational toxicology and methodologies for environmental sampling over large wetland areas.
Maintaining a stable environment can be a theme that unites scientific efforts of the two countries. While a focus may be on the biological sciences, the involvement of specialists from a wide variety of disciplines has become essential in carrying out many types of environmental assessments. The two examples cited above would attract scientists from a variety of specialties. And the long-term results of such activities could enhance the lives of significant segments of the populations in the two countries.