in countries where broad bilateral umbrella agreements provide frameworks for large numbers of programs (e.g., Japan, South Africa, Egypt).

  1. Obtaining and disseminating information concerning (1) changes and other developments in the STH policies of the host government, (2) local STH achievements that are noteworthy, and (3) international STH activities supported by the host government of relevance to U.S. interests: Such information is particularly useful in countries that retain close control over information sources (e.g., China, Russia).

  2. Providing an informed point of contact for local officials and specialists interested in STH policies, organizations, and technical achievements in the United States: Countries with growing and vibrant STH communities repeatedly look to the United States for contacts and guidance in STH endeavors (e.g., Israel, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil).

For several decades, many Science Counselors and a number of more junior Science Officers at the embassies were scientists and engineers with advanced STH degrees.1 Some had extensive laboratory experience, and almost all were well informed about the STH communities in the United States and knowledgeable about the interests of U.S. departments and agencies. They knew where to obtain technical support expeditiously when an issue required specialized expertise that was not available within the embassy.

After a peak of 22 in the 1980s, the number of Science Counselor positions has declined steadily to 10 in 1999,2 while the number of full-time Science Officer positions (including Science Counselors and environmental hub officers) has increased to 57. Despite this increase, the number of Department officials in embassy and mission Science Officer positions with degrees in science or engineering has shrunk in the past 15 years from more than 25 to about 15.3 The current distribution of full-time and part-time Science Officers assigned to embassies, totaling more than 200 U.S. diplomats, is set forth in Table 4-1. This large number of

1  

 Over the years the terminology used for specialists assigned by the Department to the embassies has varied—Science and Technology Counselors; Environmental, Science, and Technology Counselors; Science Attachés; Science Officers; and Environmental Officers, for example. For this report the titles Science Counselors and Science Officers are used to include positions with slightly different names as well.

2  

 The estimate of 22 was provided by a former Department official knowledgeable about their activities. More precise information is not readily available from the Department.

3  

 The Department provided the committee with partial information suggesting that perhaps 20 percent of these full-time incumbents have undergraduate or graduate degrees in science or engineering (not including political science and other social sciences).



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