research activities at selected Russian universities. Immediately following the breakup of the USSR, Russian academics and scientists began a clamor for greater attention to strengthening research capabilities at Russian universities. However, financial resources were not available. With considerable support from the U.S. university community and limited financial support from U.S. foundations, a few model programs were launched to expand research at Russian universities. Also, following another U.S. model, medical faculties with both educational and research agendas were established at several leading Russian universities. Building on this experience and other activities financed by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the Russian government has designated 29 universities as “research universities” and has supported a variety of international research partnerships involving these universities—some on a bilateral basis with the United States and others on a broader international basis. These universities in Russia seem destined to become a significant dimension of the overall international outreach effort in the life sciences, as well as in other fields.
8. Increased international interest in the importance of biodiversity and practical steps to catalog and preserve biodiversity. Both Russia and the United States are treasure troves of animal, insect, and plant species that have been of broad international interest. Programs to help preserve biodiversity, while recognized internationally as being important for all countries, have considerable difficulty attracting financial support beyond base budgets needed to keep scientific institutions active. With the economic crisis in Russia, special efforts were needed to raise the profile of these activities and to document the importance of past findings and future opportunities in this field. Joint work by institutions in the two countries played an important role in ensuring that collections of plants, seeds, and animals—unique in the world—were maintained even in the most difficult economic times.
In summary, the recent joint achievements of two former adversaries are many fold. Partner organizations have sponsored important research activities at sensitive facilities and remote field sites and also maintained long-standing cooperative activities in scientific areas distant from dual-use or other types of security concerns. The two countries have brought to the table both common and different assets and aspirations in the biological sciences that can continue to provide strong platforms for joint efforts. The lessons that they have learned during development and implementation of a wide variety of programs are of considerable value to other organizations interested in cooperative efforts in a variety of political settings. In short, the bilateral relationship has led to significant rewards for the global community in the past and can continue to set a rapid pace in advancing responsible biological science activities in the future.