Examples of International Scientific Collaboration
Examples of International Scientific Collaboration
and the
Benefits to Society

· Advancing the frontiers of exploration: A well known example of international scientific collaboration, sixteen nations are partnering to build and operate the International Space Station (ISS) as a world-class research center in the unique environment of space.  The participating nations are striving to solve crucial problems in medicine, ecology and other areas of science.  This endeavor will also lay the foundation for developing space-based commerce and create greater worldwide interest in space and science related education by cultivating the excitement, wonder and discovery that the ISS symbolizes.  (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/iss/home.html)

· Battling hunger through developing sustainable agriculture: Sustainable agriculture has been substantially advanced through international cooperation, enabling the global community to better respond to the interrelated issues of poverty, hunger, population growth, and environmental degradation. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) produced one of the first of the modern, high yielding, varieties of rice that helped stave off the mass famine that was predicted for Asia in the1970s.  IRRI is just one of the sixteen international agricultural research centers that makeup the global network known as the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR mobilizes the world’s best in agricultural science on behalf of the world's poor and hungry.  (http://www.cgiar.org/)

· Unlocking the roots of disease through the Human Genome Project: The Human Genome Project is an international scientific effort to map all of the approximately 100,000 genes on the 23 human chromosomes and to sequence the 3 billion DNA base pairs that make up the human genome.  Through international collaboration of the countries engaged in these efforts, the project will help reveal the basis of genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer's. (http://www.ornl.gov/TechResources/

· Discovering unprecendented information about the origins ofthe universe from the Gemini telescope:  The Gemini North telescope in Hawaii was built by an international partnership of seven nations and is the first of two large telescopes that can explore the entire northern and southern skies in optical and infrared light.  Gemini North andits twin, Gemini South under construction in northern Chile, are expected to obtain unprecedented views of stars, galaxies, and the most distant outposts of the known universe. They will allow today’s scientists to collect data on astronomical events that took place billions of years ago. (http://www.gemini.edu/public/)

· Protecting our planet’s ozone layer: Beginning in the early1980s, hundreds of scientists from around the world worked under the auspices of the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization to identify, understand and communicate the seriousness of the threat to the ozone.  The common international scientific understanding provided by their collaborative efforts led to an international agreement to correct the threat, by eliminating nearly all production of the offending chemicals in the industrialized countries, and by working to reduce them in the developing countries.

· Saving lives from natural disasters.  Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program and their with counterparts worldwide have worked together to improve volcano monitoring and eruption warning schemes.  Just prior to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, these systems enabled Philippine authorities to evacuate 60,000 people from villages in the region of destruction, and the U.S. military to evacuate18,000 families from Clark Air Force Base before it was covered in ashand debris.  In September 1999, U.S. and Ecuadorian scientists began monitoring two volcanic crises in Ecuador.  As these two volcanoes could remain active for many months, their collaborative efforts will protect tens of thousands of people nearby.  (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/)

· Uncovering the Building Blocks of Matter:  A good example of international scientific cooperation is CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research that has 20 European member states and half a dozen“observer states,” including the U.S.  It has been a world leader in particle physics for half a century, and is currently building the world’s biggest particle accelerator, the LHC – “Large Hadron Collider.” The LHC will smash two beams of protons against each other to permit large detectors to probe the structure of protons, that is to address specific questions about the fundamental building blocks that make up all matter. This is something like trying to learn about electronics by smashing Volkswagons against each other at such high speeds that parts of their radios fly out. The LHC will have two detectors built by two international collaborations. One of these, called ATLAS, is being built by a collaboration of over 500 scientists, from over a hundred institutions, from more that 30 countries, I bet that more than one student here today will do graduate research using the LHC. For the rest of us, the results will both change our views of what matter is made out of and shed light on the first instants of the big bang. (http://www.cern.ch/)

· Preventing the Spread of AIDS:  The U.S. Government has joined the International Partnership Against HIV/AIDS in Africa (IPAA) to expand and intensify response to the growing AIDS pandemic and its serious impact.  In fiscal year 2000, the U.S. Government is launching the Leadership and Investment in Fighting an Epidemic (LIFE) initiative with U.S. support to fourteen countries in Africa and India to help: 1) reduce HIV transmission through primary prevention of sexual, mother-to-child, and blood-borne transmission; 2)  Improve community and home-based care and treatment of HIV/AIDS; and 3) strengthen the capacity of countries to collect and use surveillance data and to manage national HIV/AIDS programs.(http://www.cdc.gov)

· Stopping the Transmission of Polio  -- STOP:  In the past 100 years, we have had many great successes in the area of public health.  For example, because of the invention of vaccines, fewer and fewer children are getting diseases like measles and mumps, and even chicken pox!  However, since diseases don't recognize country borders, the need for vaccines continues until a disease has been eradicated from the world.  Small pox was the first disease to be eradicated, and within the next five years, polio will be next.  You may not know much about polio, but if you ask your parents or grandparents, they'll probably remember when thousands of kids became crippled from polio each year.  Right now there is an incredible international team effort to make the world polio-free.  This partnership includes health professionals, scientists, and others from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International, WHO, and many other individuals and organizations throughout the world, all working together to vaccinate young children at risk, find suspected cases of polio, and confirm cases through laboratory tests.  These STOP Teams are assigned to countries where polio is common and spend approximately three months in the countries working. Currently, there are 180 countries around the world that have been declared polio free, but there are still 25 countries where polio is common, infecting thousands of children each year.  Achievement of global polio eradication will set the stage for tackling other vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles. (http://www.cdc.gov)

· Promoting Peace:  Cooperation in science and technology provides a springboard for economic prosperity and sustainable development when relations between countries are good.  Yet, in times of strained international affairs, scientific lines of communication between countries typically remain open even when most other forms of contact have collapsed. Even during the chilliest periods of the Cold War, U.S. scientists maintained ties with their counterparts in the Soviet Union, and these relationships were of substantial value in promoting the transition to warmer relations.

International scientific collaboration with Russia and the countries of the Former Soviet Union is exemplified by its support of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), an intergovernmental organization established by the European Union, Japan, the Russian Federation, and theUnited States, and a counterpart organization, the Science and Technology Center of Ukraine (STCU).  The ISTC and STCU coordinate with governments, international organizations, and private sector industries to give former Soviet Union weapons scientists an opportunity to redirect their talents to peaceful activities, such as cancer research and commercially viable technologies for use in environmental studies. (http://www.irf.lviv.ua/istc.html& http://www.irf.lviv.ua/istc.html)

Office of Scienceand Technology Policy
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Global Science and Technology Week - May 7-13, 2000

Examples of International Scientific Collaboration

President’s Letter

Proposed Events

Teachers and students working in COMB's SciTech Center

Letter from Dr. Neal Lane, Issues in Global Education

The Explorers

About ASTC

A Message to the American Forum for Global Education

A Message to the National Science Teachers Association

Proclamation: Global Science and Technology Week, 2000

Building International Science & Technology Workforce Partnerships

Examples of International Scientific Collaboration

Global Science & Technology Week

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