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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation 2 Establishing the Basis for Long-Term Cooperation ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ This chapter describes the activities of the committee during fiscal year (FY) 1997 to develop the basis for long-term collaboration involving defense scientists working on dangerous pathogens. Insights gained during consultations with a large number of Russian specialists and lessons learned during the initiation of six pilot projects at two key Russian facilities are discussed. Then a policy and program framework is suggested for carrying out more ambitious programs that build on successful experiences to date. IMPORTANCE OF RUSSIAN PARTICIPATION IN JOINT PLANNING During the fall of 1996 and the spring of 1997, the committee undertook a number of activities in Russia to assess the opportunities for a long-term program of cooperation between U.S. and Russian specialists with special expertise in the epidemiology, prophylaxis, diagnosis, and therapy of diseases associated with dangerous pathogens. These activities were particularly important in initial assessments of the benefits that could be anticipated from such cooperation, as well as the challenges and costs of establishing appropriate arrangements. The committee gave special attention to the participation of Russian specialists who had been involved in the former Soviet biological weapons (BW) program. To involve Russian specialists at a very early stage in the development of recommendations for a cooperative program, two complementary approaches were used: Consultations were held with a range of Russian officials, managers of research institutions, and research scientists. The topics of interest included the general character of a long-term cooperative program, the availability of specialists and facilities to carry out a program, and the likely results of cooperation. An important purpose of the consultations was to help ensure that the committee 's assessments of the technical basis for cooperation were authoritative and that proposed activities were realistic. Also, because the support of a number of Russian organizations will be an essential aspect of such a long-term cooperative program, the involvement of Russian officials and specialists from the planning stages was intended to give them a sense of genuine partnership in program development. Pilot projects were initiated at two Russian facilities. These six projects are providing experience in the practical aspects of conducting joint projects, with most of the research activity carried out in Russia (see Box E-1 and Appendix E). At the same time, they are producing research results that, in and of themselves, are important. Also, they are making timely contributions at the scientist-to-scientist level to provide insights about the capabilities of the two countries in carrying out research on dangerous pathogens—insights that are critical for sustaining a broadly based long-term program of cooperation. Finally, funding by the Defense Department of the pilot projects recommended by the committee helped convince Russian colleagues that the committee's undertaking was a serious endeavor with strong backing from the U.S. government, thereby encouraging them to participate actively in planning the long-term program. With this two-track approach, the committee quickly engaged a number of important Russian officials and defense scientists in its activities.
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation PLANNING FOR SUSTAINED COOPERATION IN THE LONG-TERM The development of recommendations for long-term cooperation involved consultations with Russian colleagues through a variety of venues. Nine U.S. and sixteen Russian specialists took part in a roundtable hosted by Biopreparat in the Moscow suburb of Petrovo-Dalnyee in April 1997 to consider the general framework for cooperation. Specialists from Biopreparat and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) joined public health-oriented researchers and other specialists to discuss the organizational framework, financial aspects, technical dimensions, and research themes for a cooperative program. A joint summary of the conclusions of the meeting can be found in Appendix G. Discussions continued at a smaller follow-up meeting organized by the NAS committee in Moscow in June 1997, attended by representatives of Biopreparat and directors of several of its key research institutes. This meeting brought into sharper focus future project directions and approaches for joint planning and development of specific research activities. At that time, Biopreparat informed the committee that it was organizing a Russian working group to serve as the point of contact for future discussions of bilateral cooperation, with the invited membership listed in Box 2-1. If all invited members of the working group choose to participate, it will have an excellent composition for this purpose. Box 2-1 The following organizations have been invited by Biopreparat to form the working group for future discussion of bilateral cooperation: Biopreparat President's Committee for Conventional Problems of Chemical and Biological Weapons Ministry of Defense Ministry of Health Ministry of Science and Technology Russian Academy of Sciences Russian Academy of Medical Sciences Individual institutes invited include the following State Research Center for Virology and Biotechnology, “Vector” (Koltsovo) State Research Center for Applied Microbiology (Obolensk) Institute of Immunology (Lyubuchany) Institute for Biological Scientific Instrumentation (Moscow) Plague Research Institute, “Microb” (Saratov) Central Scientific Research Institute for Epidemiology (Moscow) NOTE: Biopreparat officials have indicated that other organizations will be involved as appropriate. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) sponsored an international symposium in the Kirov region in June 1997, with ISTC taking the lead in the organization: 30 Russian scientists, joined by 14 American, 6 Japanese, and 3 European specialists, covered a wide range of topics of broad interest. Some of the Russian participants presented specific project proposals. A number of biotechnology activities and facilities previously associated with the former Soviet BW program are located in and near Kirov, which is 1,000 km east of Moscow. The symposium and subsequent visits to various organizations in Kirov provided opportunities for initial discussions with local specialists and with experts from other parts of Russia about future cooperation. A brief report prepared at the meeting and a list of attendees are included in Appendix H. The facilities visited are listed in Appendix C. In addition to the organized meetings and visits, committee members participated in a number of
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation informal discussions with Russian organizations and individual specialists, beginning in November 1996 and continuing into the summer of 1997. Among the most useful discussions were conversations between committee members and Russian scientists during visits to the Russian institutes where pilot projects have been established. The comments of Russian colleagues underscored the importance of high-level support for a long-term program by the Russian government. Several Russian colleagues informed the Russian Defense Council of NAS interest in expanding bilateral cooperation, and Biopreparat representatives subsequently advised the committee that the council strongly supported the initiative. Overall, interactions between committee members and Russian specialists provided valuable insights into Russian capabilities and activities. Russian colleagues were very sensitive to both national security considerations (e.g., maintaining security for pathogen strain banks and sensitive research findings that could be misused by terrorist groups) and scientific opportunities, and they offered many useful suggestions about future cooperation. They also indicated strong support for the types of recommendations included in this report. An important exception to the success of these consultations, however, was the refusal of the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) to participate in discussions of cooperation. Biopreparat and other Russian officials offered two explanations for this reluctance. First, for political reasons the difficulties encountered in the trilateral discussions on BW-related issues made MOD unwilling to become involved in cooperative activities of interest to the committee. Second, MOD was undergoing a major reorganization and was initiating a substantial reduction in the size of the Russian armed forces; therefore, MOD officials were not in a position at that time to discuss international cooperation. Consequently, the committee received no direct indications of MOD views on future cooperation. However, in 1996, MOD and its research institutes participated actively in an ISTC-sponsored international workshop in Pokrov, northeast of Moscow, which indicated some flexibility in the long-standing policy of keeping laboratories isolated from foreign contacts. Also, in Kirov, committee members and staff met with representatives of several civilian organizations that involve specialists from the MOD research institute located in the city in their activities. These Russian colleagues appeared optimistic that in the future the institute will become interested in international cooperation. The Biopreparat invitation to MOD to participate in the working group, as indicated in Box 2-1, is also of interest. Should MOD remain reluctant to participate in bilateral endeavors, a number of key Russian personnel and several very important facilities would not be involved in the Pathogens Initiative discussed in Chapter 3. However, the Biopreparat complex provided much of the critical research and development support for the Soviet program; thus, the committee has concluded that Biopreparat is sufficiently important to warrant a Pathogens Initiative. Effective bilateral cooperation with specialists from Biopreparat institutions, supplemented by specialists from institutes subordinate to other Russian organizations, would be a significant contribution to reducing the likelihood of proliferation and expanding research that supports public health goals. INITIAL PILOT PROJECTS With Russian colleagues, the committee developed the cooperative pilot projects at two Russian institutes that are identified in Box E-1 and described in more detail in Appendix I. DOD provided financial support of about $420,000 to the institutes and an additional $80,000 to U.S. collaborators to support travel and related expenses. The first six projects began in June 1997 and are scheduled for completion by September 1998. In July 1997, DOD transferred funds for the projects to the ISTC for prompt disbursal to Russian participants. Encouraged by the progress achieved in implementing the six projects, DOD subsequently
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation indicated a readiness to consider additional pilot projects; the committee then selected two more proposals prepared by Russian investigators that it considered interesting. These proposed projects, which are also included in Box E-1, are currently being processed by the ISTC. With regard to the goals of the pilot projects set forth earlier, the decision to fund six projects at the beginning of the study proved sound for several reasons: Lessons learned about the roles of Russian ministries and institutions and of the parties to the ISTC in the development, approval, and implementation of these projects have been important in formulating the recommendations in this report. Also, the projects provide a base of experience that can assist in designing and implementing more ambitious projects. The projects provide an opportunity for U.S. and Russian scientists to establish personal contacts that will help sustain and expand research relations. The research topics are of considerable interest in Russia and the United States with regard to both scientific advancement and practical applications. Ties to health authorities and to industry, as well as to scientific institutions, are an important aspect of some of the projects. The projects test the practical aspects of transparency, with scientist-to-scientist contacts playing a significant role in this regard. Transparency is important for providing increased assurance that joint work on dangerous pathogens is not being misused to provide technical contributions to illegitimate BW-related activities. Reciprocal access to laboratories within the context of these projects offers new insights about biotechnology activities in key Russian facilities—an important contribution to confidence building. Selection of the Institutes Given the short lead time available for establishing these projects, the NAS committee, with DOD concurrence, decided to locate them at the State Research Center for Applied Microbiology in Obolensk and the State Research Center for Virology and Biotechnology, “Vector ” in Koltsovo. This decision was based on the following considerations: As a result of the important roles the two institutes played in the BW program of the former Soviet Union, they have some of the strongest research capabilities related to dangerous pathogens in the country. These institutes have strong linkages with other institutes of the Biopreparat complex, institutes of MOD, and other institutes with capabilities related to dangerous pathogens. Therefore, they provide good initial points of entry in the development of a program of national scope. Through previous NAS activities in Russia, committee members were personally acquainted with the directors and other personnel of the two institutes and believed that they would be receptive to projects involving active bilateral collaborators. ISTC had been successful in initiating a few projects at the two institutes, beginning in 1994, which indicated that these institutes were prepared to overcome administrative hurdles in developing cooperative activities and would agree to provide access to their facilities. In short, the two institutes are important in terms of their capabilities, experience, and organizational links to the former Soviet BW complex and to public health. In addition, they were ready to quickly initiate projects involving U.S. collaborators. Selection of the Initial Projects In late 1996, small teams of committee members and staff visited Obolensk and Koltsovo, where they reviewed proposals and consulted with leaders of the institutes and principal investigators of
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation proposed projects. They also made preliminary assessments of some capabilities of the institutes. These teams developed their project recommendations, taking into account the constraints of limited funds and the need to complete the projects by September 1998. Obtaining early experience that would be useful in developing the long-term program was an important purpose of the projects. Thus, it was desirable to have the projects operational as soon as possible. This requirement meant that Russian institutes needed to have formal government approvals in hand or that this approval could be obtained easily. Therefore, a number of promising but yet-to-be-approved proposals prepared by the institutes were excluded from consideration because a delay of several months could be anticipated for both scientific and security reviews in Moscow. The committee recommends that some of these proposals be given priority for consideration in the Pathogens Initiative. However, the committee also strongly recommends that U.S. participants adopt a more proactive role in identifying possible topics and proposals for funding under the initiative now that the time constraints of the past year are diminished. The committee approved the recommendations of its members who had visited the institutes and developed the following criteria for project selection during the course of its deliberations: Importance of the topic: the project will make an important contribution to the epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, or therapy of any disease that is associated with dangerous pathogen(s) or that is (1) historically linked with BW applications or (2) a source of substantial public health concern. If successful, the project will open up a new area of important research on dangerous pathogens. Quality of the proposal: the project is scientifically and technically sound; anticipated results are clear; the project is feasible; there is a strong work plan; budget and manpower estimates are appropriate; and there are measurable milestones. Quality or capacity of the principal investigator, research team, and facilities: the proposing laboratory must have strong technical capabilities in the general research area, and the personnel and facilities proposed must have adequate capabilities to carry out the project. Provision for strong U.S. collaboration: the project involves a topic that will attract strong and relevant U.S. expertise, and the commitment of the U.S. collaborator(s) is clear. Engagement of former Soviet BW expertise: the project involves former or current defense scientists, or facilities or it provides important contributions to a larger program that involves such scientists or facilities. Promotion of transparency: the project meets standard ISTC access criteria, and reciprocal laboratory visits between collaborators are an integral aspect. Projects that meet such criteria and also offer access to facilities or personnel not previously engaged in collaborative projects are of particular interest. The selected projects scored high when measured by the foregoing criteria. Also, in considering these and other aspects of each project, the committee made the judgment that the project's potential contributions to public health or U.S. national security interests outweighed the potential risk that it might contribute to the development or improvement of offensive BW capabilities. Use of the ISTC Mechanism The committee decided that the ISTC was the best mechanism to use for entering into agreements with the Russian institutes and for transferring funds to them. Because the objectives of the initial projects were entirely consistent with its purpose, the ISTC formally accepted NAS as one of its
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation partners. This status enabled the Academy to use well-established and reliable international mechanisms to develop and implement the projects.1 Reliance on the ISTC solved many problems encountered in supporting research activities in Russia, including issues of foreign access to project sites, sharing of intellectual property rights, allowable costs, financial auditing, reporting requirements, overhead charges, wage scales, and exemptions from taxes and customs fees. In all of these areas, NAS adopted standard ISTC approaches that were also fully acceptable to the two Russian institutes and to the U.S. and Russian governments. Of special importance is the ISTC procedure of providing funds for salaries directly to individual researchers, thereby circumventing opportunities for intermediaries to divert a portion of these funds. The committee now feels even more strongly about the correctness of its decision to use the ISTC mechanism in light of reports that some U.S. agencies have employed other mechanisms that lack special waivers associated with handling funds for scientific research and, as a result, have lost up to 50 percent of their funding to Russian tax collection and pension accounts.2 Perhaps a broadly based bilateral agreement between the two countries can address these issues, but in the absence of such an agreement the ISTC remains an important institution for facilitating joint projects. Value Added by the NAS Committee In working with ISTC staff and reviewing related ISTC projects, the committee recognized that it could offer value added to the usual approach of the ISTC. In general, the governments that are parties to the ISTC agreement have had little influence over the proposals related to dangerous pathogens that Russian institutes have chosen to submit for consideration; they have simply considered any proposals that are submitted to the ISTC. These governments have then searched for appropriate collaborators for the most interesting proposals, relying on the collaborators to obtain their own funds for active participation in the projects. Value added by the NAS was reflected in the following: U.S. specialists selected by the Academy were involved not only in choosing the research topics to be developed into fundable proposals but also in modifying the research plans. Therefore, the NAS was in a strong position to ensure that proposals were oriented toward priority scientific interests of the United States as well as toward Russian interests. Also, the early involvement of U.S. specialists improved the quality of the proposals submitted for approval to both the committee and the U.S. government as an ISTC party. The committee includes leading U.S. scientists in the fields of interest, with experience in research directly related to biological defense. Therefore, it was in a good position to critically review not only technical merit but also linkages to BW, including the potential contribution of research projects to offensive BW capabilities. In view of the committee's extensive connections with the U.S. research community, it was able to enlist U.S. collaborators who are well qualified for the tasks and, recognizing the direct benefits of collaboration, highly motivated to work closely with the Russian teams throughout the lifetimes of the projects. 1 In 1996 the parties to the ISTC decided to encourage other government and nongovernment organizations with access to financial resources to use its legal, management, and financial frameworks for developing and implementing projects that are consistent with ISTC objectives. The U.S. government recommended that the ISTC accept NAS as a partner for supporting cooperative activities directed to dangerous pathogens. Projects proposed by the Academy are thus subject to the review and approval of the U.S., Japanese, and Russian governments and the European Union during ISTC deliberations. 2 See Lelyveld, M. S. 1997. Skimming Cuts Aid to Russian Scientists. Journal of Commerce May 13.
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation The committee and staff have extensive experience in developing and reviewing proposals and are skilled in translating Russian concepts into proposal language that is easily understandable in the West. Thus, they were able to substantially reduce the lengthy development time required for most ISTC projects. The usual time needed to launch an ISTC project includes 6 to 12 months to develop a fundable proposal and an additional 6 to 9 months from ISTC acceptance of a fundable proposal until the operative commencement date of the project—a total of 12 to 21 months. The required time to launch the six pilot projects included three months for the Russian institutes to prepare fundable proposals and three months from the date of submission to ISTC until the operative commencement dates. INSIGHTS FROM THE PILOT PROJECTS Although the pilot projects are still in the early stages of implementation, a few lessons have been learned in developing them that are important in considering future activities. Despite the loss of hundreds of scientists and decline in the quality of laboratories and equipment, each of the two Russian institutes retains a few hundred skilled scientists and strong capabilities to conduct important research. The State Research Center for Virology and Biotechnology has a larger staff and more diverse facilities than the State Research Center for Applied Microbiology. As of June 1997, the two institutes had more than 100 unfunded proposals of highly variable quality. Some had been submitted to funding agencies in Russia and abroad, and others were still in the institutes awaiting indications of even minimal interest from funding sources. Although some proposals appear attractive for cooperative research efforts, a number of the most interesting ones involving dangerous pathogens still require formal approval of the Russian government, which may take three to six months or longer. The institutes have only limited e-mail capabilities and do not have regular access to the World Wide Web. The institutes attach great importance to having active U.S. collaborators working on their projects. In addition to benefiting from collaboration during the projects, institute leaders believe that foreign collaborators can assist in securing funds to expand projects into related areas of interest to the institutes. Effective collaborators have been the exception rather than the rule, however, with foreign-funded projects at the institutes. The institutes consider the ISTC the best mechanism for distributing foreign funds within Russia. As previously noted, some U.S. experiences with other mechanisms have been less satisfactory for a variety of reasons, such as loss of funds to central offices in Moscow, customs problems, and taxes imposed at the local level. At the same time, sending equipment, supplies, and samples from abroad to research institutes in Russia, even through ISTC channels, will be complicated. Although the two institutes have long-standing ties with institutes of the MOD and other institutes in the civilian sector, they seldom propose multi-institute projects for foreign financing, because this adds to administrative complications. In particular, MOD has not yet been involved in research projects that require giving foreign collaborators access to research laboratories at military facilities. As the pilot projects proceed, other insights undoubtedly will be gained. The hands-on experiences of U.S. and Russian collaborators will be of special interest, in both hosting colleagues and working in the laboratory facilities of those colleagues.
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE BILATERAL COOPERATION Based on the committee's consultations with Russian colleagues and the experience gained in the pilot projects, three overarching principles were developed to guide future bilateral activities directed toward dangerous pathogens. These principles also appear relevant to other cooperative programs that engage specialists from the former Soviet BW complex. Broad acceptance of such principles will reduce confusion in Washington and Moscow about approaches that are appropriate in this sensitive area and will help ensure that approaches used in different programs are mutually reinforcing. Projects should be collaborative in design and conduct. Only projects that are of interest to specialists in both countries should be undertaken. There are not sufficient funds to support all activities proposed, and an important criterion for project selection is the level of support among specialists in both countries for pursuing the proposed activities. A measure of this interest is the extent of collaboration included in the implementation of a project. All projects should be conducted on the basis of cooperation, not assistance, with each side making intellectual, financial, and in-kind contributions. Carrying out projects that are designed as part of foreign assistance activities, or are perceived as such could lead to misconceptions that limit political support for such activities. Further, both countries have much to contribute, and although the Russian contribution may be largely intellectual at this time, this intellectual resource warrants the label of cooperation on projects. All relevant constituencies in both countries should be able to apply for participation in the program. Bilateral programs will never be large enough to include all interested and important U.S. and Russian specialists. However, the individual activities should be as encompassing as possible, and competition for financial support should be open to all qualified specialists. Projects should be designed and conducted in a way that maximizes transparency. Activities should be carried out in an environment of openness. Free exchange of information between participants in cooperative activities is central to achieving both scientific and national security objectives. Transparency begins at the project level and should be based on regular and sustained contacts between U.S. researchers and their Russian counterparts and on regular visits to facilities where the research is carried out. In this regard the ISTC has developed guidelines for access to facilities at the project level (Box 1-2). Although limited, these guidelines are a good initial basis for cooperation. In time, the broader concept of transparency described in Chapter 1 should encompass a wider range of research activities at the institute level. Direct contacts among specialists should be stressed. Given the sensitivity of the topic, government officials in both countries should be involved in the development and approval of projects. However, once a program has demonstrated that it will be managed responsibly, governments should minimize interference. In short, they should be promoters of responsible cooperation but should give the cooperating scientists maximum flexibility once the ground rules for cooperation have been established. A central coordination point in each government should be apprised of anticipated cooperative activities. Given the increasing number of bilateral efforts, it is essential for central offices to have up-to-date information on such activities. Because the same scientists may be participating in projects under the auspices of different cooperative programs, such a registry will be most useful if it includes all cooperative activities involving defense scientists. Results of cooperative projects should be disseminated to the widest possible interested audience. Whenever possible, research results should be promptly published or made available to international audiences through other channels. A critical aspect of international science is sharing project results. Prompt and broad distribution of findings should have beneficial effects in encouraging
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation reciprocal sharing of information that helps prevent the unnecessary duplication of research activities while broadening transparency. Intellectual property and sensitive findings should be protected. Notwithstanding the desirability of wide dissemination of research results, scientists working with dangerous pathogens that have BW potential have a special responsibility to ensure that, in accordance with the Biological Weapons Convention, sensitive information is not disseminated to irresponsible parties. Also, researchers should be able to protect information that has commercial value. Mechanisms should be developed to help ensure an appropriate balance between the free flow of scientific information and limitations based on these two legitimate reasons for restricting the dissemination of information in certain cases. Intellectual property rights resulting from cooperative activities should be shared by the participating institutions on fair and equitable terms. As cooperative projects develop, mutual confidence that project collaborators will not misuse intellectual property should increase; to this end, project agreements should include appropriate provisions for the rights to such intellectual property. The provisions of the ISTC model project agreement set forth in Box 2-2 provide a point of departure for considering arrangements for specific projects. Box 2-2 Highlights of ISTC Provisions on Intellectual Property Rights All rights to research results reside with the Russian institution that carries out a project. All ISTC parties are entitled to no-cost licenses to use research results for noncommercial purposes. The financing party is entitled to a no-cost exclusive license to use research results for commercial purposes in its territory. The Russian institution may use research results for commercial purposes in other areas of the world or may be compensated for licenses for such use. The financing party and the Russian institution may agree on alternative arrangements. Source: ISTC Statute, Article XIII, March 17, 1994. ORGANIZING RESEARCH ACTIVITIES IN THE FUTURE Critical aspects of near-term cooperation will be the criteria used to select the most promising joint projects, the size and scope of individual projects, and the financial arrangements for supporting the projects. Criteria for Judging Research Proposals The criteria developed during assessments of the pilot projects and set forth previously in this chapter are appropriate for evaluating the merits of future projects. The following two criteria are also important if an expanded program is initiated: Likelihood of sustainability: the project should be of interest to commercial, government, or other organizations that want to build on the research results and have the financial means to continue supporting research in the general field after project completion. Many aspects of research on dangerous pathogens are considered to be within the public health responsibilities of governments; therefore public funds are undoubtedly needed to continue activities in a number of areas. However, in some areas such as diagnostic devices and vaccines, efforts to interest commercial organizations in providing financial support are essential. Promotion of linkages between defense scientists or facilities and civilian scientists or facilities: new internal networks should be reflected in project activities. Although defense scientists are very capable, some civilian institutions have more extensive experience and official responsibilities in addressing public health problems. In some cases, multi-institutional projects involving specialists from
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation both communities may be appropriate; in other cases, complementary projects may be the preferred course. In either case, joint planning and coordination activities should contribute to project success and bring the two communities closer together. Size and Scope of Research Projects In general, future projects should be larger and longer in duration than the pilot projects. The ISTC has had quite positive experience in supporting larger projects that reflect the importance of keeping research teams together. Also, establishing large numbers of small projects entails high administrative costs. Three-year projects involving teams of about 10 Russian specialists appear to be appropriate. At the same time, flexibility for supporting smaller or larger projects, depending on specific research objectives, is important. Financial Realities Each side should cover its own expenses associated with cooperation to the extent possible, with equal sharing of all costs as the long-term objective. Given current financial difficulties in Russia and the fact that monetary support is only one type of contribution to a collaborative project, the following approach for covering costs of collaboration in the near term appears appropriate: For cooperative research projects, The United States should cover costs in the United States; and The United States should contribute to costs in Russia in accordance with ISTC regulations about allowable costs (e.g., salaries; equipment; supplies; travel; and technician, computing, and support costs unique to the project) and should pay the expenses of U.S. collaborators in Russia, with Russia covering other facility, administrative, and indirect costs. For technical meetings and workshops in Russia, The United States should cover the expenses of U.S. participants; Russia should cover the expenses of Russian participants; and Both should share additional costs associated with events. For technical meetings and workshops in the United States, Russia should cover the costs of international travel; and The United States should cover all other costs. A GOOD BASIS FOR FUTURE COOPERATION The activities of this committee, together with related efforts of U.S. agencies, have generated considerable interest and growing support in Russia among the community of former and current defense scientists in joint projects with U.S. specialists directed to the biological sciences and biotechnology. Joint projects directed to dangerous pathogens should be an important subset of such cooperation. With the transfer to Russian institutes and U.S. collaborators of approximately $500,000, six pilot projects are under way; two others are in the final stages of development. The process of developing these projects and their first few months of activity are demonstrating that collaborative efforts operated under expert guidance and within an effective administrative framework can engage key Russian defense scientists, attract excellent U.S. partners in academia and government, and support joint work on high-priority topics with the potential to achieve significant benefits. In addition to the costs of supporting research activities at the two Russian institutes and the travel and related expenses of U.S. collaborators, significant costs have been incurred in developing the
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Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation pilot projects and in establishing the base for future cooperation, including joint planning activities with Russian colleagues. However, the percentage of total funds devoted to such supporting activities will decrease sharply if an expanded cooperative program is pursued, as set forth in Chapter 3. In summary, the recent experience of the committee confirms that despite current political uncertainties and economic difficulties in Russia, it is feasible to implement important cooperative programs involving Russian defense scientists that serve the national security, public health, economic development, and scientific objectives of both countries as set forth in Chapter 1.
Representative terms from entire chapter: