U.S.-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health (2000-2009)
Opportunities, Constraints, and Impacts
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent an official policy of the National Academies.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-15574-8
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COVER: Aftermath of the earthquake in Bam. Yousef Bozorgnia. Visit to a Health House to the northeast of Tehran: William Keene. The river Zayandeh flowing through the city of Isfahan: Esko Kuusisto.
Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
The large numbers of American and Iranian scientists who have participated in the program described in this report deserve many accolades for their contributions to science and to international understanding. Such contributions often have lasting impacts. Should there be opportunities for the opening of more channels for scientific cooperation, these scientists will be good sources of informed suggestions concerning on-the-ground program activities and associated enthusiasm for moving forward.
The Iranian Academy of Sciences and the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences were the initial partners in Iran for this program. The support of their leaders and staffs over many years is deeply appreciated. They in turn have encouraged other Iranian institutions to become active participants. The contributions of these institutions are also gratefully acknowledged.
The Department of State has played an important role in facilitating the program of the National Academies. The leadership and responsible staff officers of the department have encouraged a wide variety of exchange activities. They have generously shared their insights with the National Academies on developments in Iran. Also, they have been attentive listeners to the observations and suggestions from participants in the program of the National Academies.
Several organizations in the United States and abroad, which have provided substantial financial and in-kind support for the engagement program, deserve special recognition. They include the former W. Alton Jones Foundation, which helped launch the program; the Richard Lounsbery
Foundation, which contributed critical support as the program matured but continued to encounter turbulent times; the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has provided substantial resources to sustain the program; and the Ploughshares Fund and the International Council on Life Sciences, which supported important projects. The Fondation des Treilles, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Program, and the University of Helsinki have provided excellent venues for six workshops and meetings. The University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of California at Davis have played central roles in organizing workshops and related events in California. Finally, throughout the decade of engagement, the leadership of the National Research Council has provided strong support and consistent funding to ensure that the program would continue despite political and administrative barriers to implementation.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Karl Matthews, Rutgers University; Richard McCray, University of Colorado; Najmedin Meshkati, U.S. Department of State; Soroosh Sorooshian, University of California, Irvine; James Walsh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and William Wulf, University of Virginia.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author and the institution.