Saturday, November 24, 2007

International Sceince and Engineering Partnerships

The National Science Board has recently issued a report (in draft form) titled:

International centers serve as another means to build international S&E collaborations. Examples of these centers include: the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, the International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics (ICPAM), the Trace Elements Institute of UNESCO, and the International Centre for Chemical Studies (ICCE). ICTP is supported by UNESCO, IAEA, and Italy to provide education and stimulate research in a wide variety of scientific fields for scientists in developing countries. With modest additional funding from other developed countries, this center could serve as an important broker to establish productive international collaborations between scientists and engineers in developed and developing countries....

The new Library at Alexandria exemplifies a different kind of capacity building based on infrastructure development. This magnificent complex was established by Egypt in partnership with UNESCO, the EU, and a number of private sources near the site of the ancient Library; it includes a Planetarium, a Conference Center, and numerous research institutes and educational support facilities, in addition to, a modern library with extensive digital collections, data bases, archives and journals. The Library also provides extensive educational and research support services and stands as an important monument to the peoples of Egypt and other Arab speaking nations......

The U.S. Government supports international S&E partnerships for multiple beneficial reasons. However, little is really understood about the benefits of such partnerships both by the public and in Congress. The benefits of international science and engineering partnerships are not only vital to the future of the U.S., but also stand at the forefront of solving the most pressing issues facing the entire world. Climate change, natural disasters, food shortages, sanitation and drinking water, energy resources, and the spread of disease are only a few of the issues that have global consequences and require a collaborative global effort from not only scientists and engineers, but from policy makers at all levels. The U.S. is uniquely positioned to help shape the direction of international cooperation and provide leadership in building S&E partnerships that can address these important global issues.

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