The NSF provides joint funding with other nations to form special organizations committed to scientific studies. An example is the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), an agreement signed in 1972 to establish a program of cooperative scientific research and related activities to be conducted principally in Israel. The BSF office, located in Jerusalem, coordinates projects in a variety of research areas, including the natural sciences. A similar arrangement with what was then Yugoslavia was established in 1973 to develop a program of cooperative science and technology projects.

In 1984 the NSF, in cooperation with the USGS, agreed to support the development of a global network of seismic stations that would telemeter readings to data centers around the world. Development of the full network is expected to require in excess of $100 million and involve at least 10 years of effort under currently projected funding levels. The resulting global system will provide high-quality geophysical data that can be studied by earth scientists throughout the world to further develop models of the interior, to improve our understanding of earthquake dynamics, and to continue the mapping of mantle convection patterns. This Global Seismographic Network (GSN) program is coordinated by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a private nonprofit corporation currently composed of 62 U.S. universities. The program's activities have been coordinated with those of the Worldwide Standardized Seismic Network (WWSSN) established under the auspices of NOAA, which is now supported and managed by NSF.

The success of the GSN program depends on the cooperation of many nations, several of which have global, regional, and/or national seismic network projects of their own. The most notable of the foreign global networks is the French GEOSCOPE project. This national program, established in 1982, now consists of 25 worldwide stations. The GEOSCOPE network will constitute the French contribution to a worldwide GSN program.

In 1985 seismologists recognized that the seismology community must coordinate its efforts if it was to develop an optimum GSN. Under the sponsorship of the Interunion Commission on the Lithosphere, representatives of 20 institutions met in Karlsruhe, Federal Republic of Germany, and founded the Federation of Digital Broad-Band Seismographic Networks. The federation, which represents 10 countries at present, has adopted standards for the system response of federation seismographic stations and for the formats to be used in the exchange of earthquake data. Future network siting plans have been made by its members, resulting in an improved collective global network. Preparations are now being made for the deployment of seismographic stations meeting federation standards. If current proposals are adequately supported, the federation's global network should comprise at least 90 stations by the early 1990s.

As stated earlier, the ODP is an example of a consortium-based international activity (operated through the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., on behalf of NSF) that continues to produce valuable earth science information. There are several other examples of consortia that have been formed (or are forming) that involve international cooperation in seismic reflection profiling and continental drilling.

Government-to-government agreements and letters of understanding have been proposed by various U.S. government agencies to foster global geoscience collaboration. The USGS uses such agreements as its principal mechanisms for carrying out overseas collaboration in both basic and applied geoscientific research. At present the USGS has 37 agreements in place. Most of the agreements provide a direct working relationship between the USGS and its counterpart bureau, agency, or department in the partner nation.

The U.S. Bureau of Mines has also negotiated a series of cooperative agreements with counterpart agencies in nations throughout the world. Each of the cooperative arrangements addresses a combination of societal, economic, and technical issues of mutual concern to the participants. Geoscientific input is a component of many of these agreements.

Cooperative agreements between the United States and other nations also can enable individual scientists to do field work in foreign countries, facilitate the transfer of funds for operating purposes between agencies, and provide for transmittal of geological data and specimens to the United States. Such provisions may be supplemented to allow future projects to be carried out under "umbrella" provisions added during the term of the agreement. In some cases, such as the Earth Sciences Protocol and the Earthquakes Studies Protocol between the United States and the People's Republic of China, several U.S. agencies may be involved.

In 1986 a memorandum of understanding for the development of scientific cooperation in the earth sciences within the framework of the topic "Evolution of Geological Processes in the History of the Earth" was executed between the United States and the former Soviet Union. This accord was devel-

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement