Overarching Goal in Russia and Elsewhere: Work with governments and other stakeholders to build sustainable capacity for biosecurity, biosafety, disease surveillance, and cooperative scientific research.
1. Recent History of Department’s Interests in Biosecurity Activities in Russia
• Support of Nunn-Lugar Initiative: 1991
• Biological Arms Control Activities: 1992 (continuation of earlier activities)
• Policy/Program Direction of International Science and Technology Center (ISTC): 1994
• Biotechnology Engagement Program: 1999
• BioIndustry Initiative: 2002
• Bioengagement Program: 2006 to present
2. Results of Emergency Appropriation of $30 million for BioIndustry Initiative Focused on Collaboration with Russia
• Conversion of Sibbiopharm facility in Berdsk to commercial production of animal feed premixes, biopesticides, and enzymes for alcohol production.
• Provision of U.S. government collateral guarantees for repayment of Russian bank loans to small Russian biotech enterprises.
• Expanded U.S. interactions with components of the Biopreparat complex through the new organization TEMPO.
• Support for commercialization-oriented activities at a number of Russian research institutes, including the upgrading to GLP and GMP standards.
• Support for influenza surveillance in Siberia.
3. Current Russia-related Activities of Special Interest
• Implications of planned withdrawal of Russia from ISTC: 2015
• Transfer of Russian components of ongoing bioengagement programs to Russian ownership, including responsibility for funding.
• Facilitation of connections of Russian scientists with international community.
• Encouragement of Russian support for broad international adoption of international biosecurity standards and guidelines.
• Development of long-term bioengagement strategy.
4. Lessons Learned from Bioengagement Activities with Russia and Other Countries
• Developing deep and broad relationships is critical.
• Partner government endorsement of engagement activities is essential.
• Communication strategies should focus on importance of public health capacity-building.
• Some states may be skeptical of U.S. objectives in promoting engagement activities.
5. Future for U.S.-Russia Partnership
• Identify new mechanisms for partnerships following Russia’s withdrawal from the ISTC.
• Continue to jointly develop biological safety standards and programs in countries and regions of mutual interest.
• Support U.S. partnerships with Russian institutes for carrying out on a highly selective basis collaborative research and development activities.
• Collaborate to develop an open and transparent culture of responsibility among dual-use scientists.
• Strengthen detection and control of infectious diseases through collaboration.
SOURCE: Information provided by Department of State, October 2011 and July 2012.