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International R&D Cooperation Complementarily of Bilateral and EC Cooperation with the U.S. Paolo Fasella Director Generalfor Reseach, Italy My comments are a short sequel to the presentations by Dr. Bordogna and Dr. Routti. I will focus on the bilateral science and technology (S&T) collabora- tion between the United States and a single European Union member state- Italy in view of the new situation created by the U.S.-EU agreement. S&T international collaboration is of growing importance for all countries and poses new and diverse problems. The diversity of problems requires diverse solutions. We therefore welcome the new U.S.-EU agreement, and I am personally grateful to the organizers of this conference for having invited me to participate. THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY In choosing which activities to propose for pursuit in the framework of the U.S.-EU agreement and which ones at the bilateral level, the principle of "sub- sidiarity," widely used in the European Union, is a valid reference. According to this principle, a sort of European research version of the 10th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the EU framework should be used for those actions that are required by commission policies or which can be carried out more efficiently at the community rather than the national level. I shall give some examples as to how this principle could be applied in the context of bilateral S&T collaboration between the United States and a single member state of the European Union. These collaborations are, in fact, quite important. Italy is a founding member of the European Union and for more than 10 years has benefited from a bilateral agreement with the United States. The EU-U.S. agreement foresees reciprocity and a balance of benefits for the two partners. These must be pursued in a situation that is de facto nonsymmetric, 38
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PAOLO FASELLA 39 given the resources available on the EU side. The EU Framework Programme covers only a small percentage of government-supported research in Europe 4 to 5 percent in terms of direct contributions by the European Union. This actually corresponds to a chiffre d' affair (or turnover) that is twice as high, since most EU interventions cover only 50 percent of the costs, with the remaining 50 percent contributed by other sources. The European Union cannot guarantee the access of U.S. partners to national or regional research activities (more than 90 percent of publicly supported research in Europe) over which it has no authority or com- petence. On the other hand, most of the multibillion dollars of the U.S. federal research budget is managed by powerful and authoritative institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, which enjoy a large degree of autonomy, including most decisions about international collaboration. TYPES OF U.S.-EU COLLABORATION Even with these constraints there are many research actions that can be con- ceived and implemented jointly by the United States and the European Union on the basis of the new agreement. In large-scale research and development (R&D) ventures, the European Union can be a partner of a size comparable to the United States; this is to the advantage of both partners. This whole meeting is dedicated to the EU-U.S. collaboration, and I shall only confirm here the will of the Italian government that Italy, as a member of the European Union, will participate vigor- ously in these activities. However, I also want to talk about other forms of S&T collaboration involving the governments of the United States and Italy. They are worth considering because they are complementary to those foreseen by the U.S.- EU agreement. One form of collaboration concerns large European intergovernmental re- search institutions. They are generally dedicated to specific branches of science and technology, such as CERN for particle physics, the European Molecular Bi- ology Laboratory, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European South- ern Observatory for astronomy. They were created after World War II as the means to achieve, through collaboration, the level of human and economic re- sources required by world competition in areas too expensive for single European countries. After some trials and errors, they have been quite successful. CERN has become the world leader in some branches of physics and has attracted the participation in financial as well as scientific terms of the United States and Ja- pan. ESA collaborates and also competes with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). As we shall see later, this does not exclude bilateral collaboration between the United States and Italy in some space projects. Coop- eration by the United States with these and other non-EU European research or- ganizations provides an additional channel for U.S. and Italian researchers to
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40 INTERNATIONAL R&D COOPERATION work together and must be kept in mind when planning bilateral U.S.-Italian collaboration. Another set of opportunities is provided by "wider than Europe" and "world- wide" organizations to which both the United States and Italy belong. The Euro- pean Union has representatives in many of these organizations. In this case, EU member states, including Italy, can participate in joint activities individually and/ or as members of the European Union. Some of these organizations, such as the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develop- ment (OECD) cover a wide range of interests. Others, such as the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, are sectoral. In the OECD it is customary for EU member states to consult generally before meet- ings, under the chairmanship of the country charged with the pro tempore presi- dency of the EU Council and with the participation of the European Commission. Other examples of "wider than Europe" activities are the Human Frontiers Sci- ence program for molecular biology and neurobiology, ITER (for controlled nuclear fusion), and the International Center for Science and Technology, for the conversion to peaceful purposes of military S&T research in the former Soviet Union. The experience that EU member states have gained in intergovernmental S&T collaboration involving many countries has been valuable, as has been the case with the OECD Megascience Forum. Membership in the European Union still allows individual member states latitude to undertake internal initiatives. Italy, for instance, launched the Interna- tional Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics, both in Trieste; U.S. scientists par- ticipate in both. Collaboration between the United States and individual EU mem- ber states, like Italy, could be further developed within these organizations in research areas such as biosafety, bioethics, biocomputing, global change, and oceanography. BILATERAL COOPERATION Besides the above-mentioned multinational framework, the United States and Italy have created a bilateral system. Here I shall mention some activities imple- mented, or under consideration, at the bilateral level, taking into account the prin- ciples of complementarily and subsidiarily. One example concerns space. An agreement between NASA and ASI (the Italian Space Agency) has recently been signed; the collaboration includes the development of mini pressurized logistical modules for the International Space Station and the successful launch of the Cassini mission to the planet Saturn. The other example concerns biomedical research. As Professor Routti said, collabo- ration between the United States and the European Union is envisaged in the areas of biomedicine, even though the KU' s Fifth Framework Programme does not assign a high priority to research on cardiovascular diseases. This is not
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PAOLO FASELLA 41 because this sector is not considered important. Rather in the spirit of subsidiarily (relevance and adequacy of national programs), it is thought that research on biomedicine should take place on a national basis or, where appropriate, using bilateral mechanisms. The United States and Italy think that collaboration in this field, and espe- cially in what has been called a "rational approach" to epidemiology, is a very worthwhile development. Under these circumstances, collaboration in this area could be suitably carried out in the framework of the agreement between the United States and Italy. Other research areas, which are widely covered in the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme, such as prevention and control of infectious diseases and biomedical problems related to aging, could be the object of collaborations within the new EU-U.S. agreement. In conclusion, the very rapid and diversified worldwide development of S&T requires new forms of collaboration. The position of the United States and the European Union in world science and technology is such that the interactions among them are particularly relevant and useful. The agreement discussed at this meeting is a new and very promising tool for mutually advantageous R&D ven- tures. At the same time, bilateral collaboration between the United States and single EU member states continues to play a significant and complementary role, especially for collaboration in those fields that are not included in the EU Frame- work Programme.