From 2006 to 2011, the annual investments of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in research at Russian institutions averaged approximately $6.2 million (see Figure C.5-1). The level is declining and represents only 2–3 percent of the overall level of NIH awards to scientists abroad. The areas of research have included drug and alcohol abuse, HIV, radiation exposure, tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases, demographics, genetics, and basic research. In addition, many Russian researchers have participated in the NIH intramural visiting program, with about 100 visitors during 2010. In addition, more than 100 Russian trainees have been supported since 2000, with the majority working in the field of infectious disease research.
In addition, NIH and its National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have managed the BioTechnology Engagement Program (BTEP) supported by the Department of State (see Appendix C.4). During fiscal year 2011, seven BTEP projects were active. These and previous projects focused on:
• High-impact and emerging infectious diseases: tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, plague, and influenza.
• Endemic and other infectious diseases: rubella, rabies, helicobacter pylori.
• Vector, food, and water-borne diseases.
In November 2009, NIH, together with the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, signed an agreement with the Russian Academy of Sciences. This agreement led to the development of a public-private partnership coordinated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. The partner-
ship, initially sponsored financially by Eli Lilly and Co., is tasked with organization of annual meetings, conduct of clinical and translational research training courses, and fellowship support for Russian researchers. The first activity was a meeting titled U.S.-Russia Scientific Forum that convened in Moscow in November of 2011. The forum focused on five thematic areas: cancer, healthy lifestyles, human development, infectious diseases, and rare diseases, with more than 200 participants from the United States and Russia. Meetings on brain sciences and cardiovascular diseases took place at the same time in the United States. Ongoing and potential collaborations emerged during the forum, including interest by (a) Duke University and the Institute of Gene Biology to study nanotransporters, (b) several U.S. medical research centers and the Institute of Biomedical Chemistry to study medical proteomics, and (c) the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Washington University, the Institute for Degenerative Disorders, and several institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences to study preventive treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
In 2012, NIH and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research agreed to support expanded cooperation on HIV and AIDS. After a competition, 13 projects jointly submitted by Russian and American researchers were approved for funding at an overall level of about $2.25 million. NIH will cover most of the costs of these grants, with the Russian side providing about 10 percent of the total funding. In 2012, NIH also announced a 2-year fellowship program for Russian postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research. The two organizations have also cooperated in carrying out projects in the fields of cancer, autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and Alzheimer disease.
Over the years, NIH has encountered a number of issues in carrying out cooperative programs, including the following:
• Russian taxation of grants to Russian scientists.
• Processing and customs delays and fees on international shipments of biological samples and on equipment transfers.
• Complex grant application procedures.
• Delays in obtaining both Russian and American visas.
SOURCE: Information provided by NIH, September 2012.
This page intentionally left blank.