Friday, August 11, 2006

National Science Board Task Force on International Science

In September 2001, the U.S. National Science Board released a report entitled, Towards a More Effective Role for the U.S. Government in International Science and Engineering (NSB-01-187). Unfortunately, many of the valid recommendations from that report are largely unfulfilled. There have also been major changes in the international landscape since 2001. Now the NSB is to carefully reexamine the role of the U.S. Government in international S&E.

The Task Force held its first Hearing and Roundtable Discussion on International Science Partnerships on Thursday, May 11, 2006. A brief Task Force meeting was held on Wednesday, August 9, 2006, which I attended as an observer.

The Task Force reviewed the draft report of the March Roundtable which focused on:
The rationale for U.S. government interest in international science and engineering
* The challenges of increasing international cooperation in science and engineering
* Global engagement in science and engineering
* New modes for participation in international science and engineering

I note especially Dr. Patricia Golloway's comments in support of the importance of communication with UNESCO as part of the deliberations of the Task Force. Dr. Golloway, an engineer with long service to the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, emphasized the importance of UNESCO's role in international science and engineering.

The Task Force will complement its Roundtable Discussion on International Science Partnerships with additional meetings:
* In Singapore in late September to be held in conjunction with the 31st Meeting of the Industrial Science and Technology Working Group of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organization.
* Informal meetings in the Middle East later this year
* A meeting in Europe in the Spring of 2007 in conjunction with a meeting of European Ministers of Science.
The Task Force is to complete its report to the President in the Summer of 2007. I expect the report to be made public, and to strongly recommend new initiatives to improve international scientific cooperation.

The Acting Executive Secretary of the Task Force is: Clara A. Englert
(703) 292-7000

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