enhancement of health, agriculture, and environmental conditions while reducing security apprehensions. This transition to openness and cooperation, while still incomplete, and the associated development of long-term professional and personal relationships across borders have been quite remarkable.
In recent years, the two countries have been on parallel paths to develop their capabilities in the biological sciences and biotechnology. They are giving special attention to enhancing research capabilities of universities and other scientific centers and expanding industrial efforts to provide new biotechnology products and services. At the same time, they are encouraging entrepreneurial endeavors of young and energetic entrants into the field of biology, who increasingly populate the research institutions of the two countries.
Of course, the paths of the two countries aimed at successful development and use of biological assets are far from identical. The different starting points vividly stand out when comparing the (a) international rankings of university laboratories and (b) different experiences in commercialization of biotechnology products. In both areas, U.S. biological accomplishments are much higher on the scales of achievements. But still, the paths of the two countries often cross as the governments and nongovernmental institutions support different types of engagement, ranging from large intergovernmental projects of broad political as well as scientific interest to people-to-people contacts based on common professional experiences of individual specialists.
In recent efforts to catch up with other industrialized countries, Russia has been slowly increasing support for basic research in the life sciences, particularly in the universities where they have lagged far behind. At the same time, the government is investing relatively large sums of money in applied activities as discussed in Appendixes E.3, E.5, and F.3. These trends should enhance opportunities for mutually beneficial U.S.-Russian interactions.
OUTCOMES OF COLLABORATION
In the area of national security, U.S. financial support during the 1990s and early 2000s of Russian endeavors to enhance biosecurity and biosafety approaches and capabilities substantially reduced the risks associated with possible misuse by malcontents of the biological assets of Russia. As an important component of this effort, the United States joined with Russia in supporting redirection of thousands of underemployed Russian scientists in the defense sector to jobs in the civilian sector that provided pay supplements during economic downturns in the country. The joint activities have also upgraded the equipment bases and related infrastructure weaknesses of Russian research institutions, which then have hosted redirection activities. And at times, the programs have responded in a modest way to the Russian government’s near-term priorities for development of saleable products and services, which in turn help with self-financing of research activities.