Science, Engineering & Medicine - Working Toward a Better World
International Activities of the U.S. National Academies

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Capacity Building
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Advising the U.S. Government

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Home - Capacity Building

Capacity Building

A strong science and technology base facilitates progress and creates a promising future for a nation and its people. The Academies work with associations of academies worldwide to strengthen the science, technology, and health initiatives of developing countries. We help science academies create awareness among their policy makers and provide science-based advice to their governments. We also enlist talented scientists and engineers to work with their foreign counterparts to solve pervasive problems and support educational programs.

Cooperative Program with Pakistan
The jointly funded Pakistan–U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Program is a true collaboration that has strengthened ties between the two countries. The program has improved education and research at Pakistan’s higher-learning institutions, allowed both public and private science to support industry competitiveness, and improved the quality of life for the Pakistani people.

Strengthening African Science Academies
The 10-year African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) supports eight African science academies in their transformation from largely honorific societies to organizations that provide independent, evidence-based advice to their governments. With ASADI support, the science academies of Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa have produced peer–reviewed reports on such critical health issues as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and nutrition, and have conducted symposia on a broad range of national topics, including health systems, malaria, blood safety, and biosecurity.

Visiting Math Lecturer Program in Cambodia
Mathematics is the international language of science and technology, yet many universities in developing nations such as Cambodia lack the capacity to educate their students fully. The Academies, in cooperation with partners in France and Japan, help build capacity in mathematics and mathematics education through its Visiting Lecturer Program. The program provides advanced undergraduate-level courses and fosters productive interaction between the mathematics community of the developed world and the vast, often untapped, talent in the developing world.

Strengthening Science-Based Decision Making for Sustainability
The Academies led a series of “science in decision-making” workshops in developing countries that provided an opportunity for scientists and policy makers to discuss practical applications of science in decisions related to sustainability. The workshops focused on key issues such as water and sanitation, persistent organic pollutants, and biodiversity that were of particular concern to the host country.

Population Data in Support of Humanitarian Relief Efforts
Each year, millions of people are displaced by natural and industrial disasters or social and political upheaval, necessitating swift and effective emergency responses. The report Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises (2007) identifies ways to improve the collection and use of population data for more effective crisis management and recovery programs.

Improving Road Safety
The World Health Organization estimates that more than a million people in developing countries die each year from traffic accidents, with about 20 million suffering serious injuries—and these numbers are growing rapidly. A 2006 Academies report on this crisis highlights how the United States, with its long history of motorization, can help government agencies in affected countries reduce road traffic casualties through capacity building in the transportation, health, traffic enforcement, and public administration sectors.

Science Academies' Promotion of Human Rights
Created in 1993 by the Academies’ Committee on Human Rights, the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (IHRN) is a coalition of more than 80 national academies that assist colleagues worldwide who suffer severe repression solely for exercising their fundamental human rights. The IHRN has stood in solidarity with sister national academies to support their independence and autonomy and has promoted institutional consciousness-raising through its biennial human rights symposia and workshops.

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