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International Activities of the U.S. National Academies

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Home - Scientific Cooperation

Scientific Cooperation

Seeking scientific solutions to common problems is an international priority requiring a foundation of strong relationships among national academies and scientific organizations worldwide. The Academies are dedicated to bringing together talented, concerned, and motivated scientists to communicate ideas, learn from each other, and develop shared values, even when formal relations between countries are strained or nonexistent.

Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Program
Based on the success of the long standing Kavli Frontiers of Science of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Frontiers of Engineering program of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Academies introduced an Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine program. This program brings together outstanding young scientists, engineers, and medical professionals from the United States and the 22 countries of the Arab League for a series of symposia to discuss exciting advances and opportunities in their fields. The goal is to enhance the scientific exchange and dialogue among young researchers in Arab countries and the United States, including the Arab science diaspora, and through this interaction facilitate research collaboration within and beyond the region.

Smart Grid Development in China and the United States
A bilateral workshop was convened by the leadership of the US and Chinese National Academies of Engineering and Sciences to examine the status, plans, and prospects for the development and deployment of modernized "smart" grids in China and the United States. The events falls under the auspices of the Academies’ 2013 US-China Strategic S&T Policy Dialogue that brings together the leadership of the US and Chinese Academies of Science and Engineering every 1-2 years for discussions around topics of mutual interest.

IANAS Fellowship for Latin American and Caribbean Scientists and Engineers
Recently, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. National Academies, and the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Science (IANAS) announced a collaboration establishing the IANAS Fellowship for scientists and engineers. The purpose of the IANAS Fellowship is to increase and strengthen science and technology capacity in the Americas and cooperation between researchers and institutions in the Americas in various scientific fields. Applicants to this program will be citizens of a Latin American or Caribbean country who plan to conduct research at a host research institution in the United States for a period of one to two months. The application is now closed.

Network of Diasporas in Engineering and Science
On July 25, 2012, Deputy Secretary Bill Burns announced the launch of the Network of Diasporas in Engineering and Science (NODES), a joint effort by the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State (STAS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). NODES will assist science diasporas in partnership with U.S. Government agencies, academia, and science and technology focused non-government organizations. By leveraging existing activities and networks, NODES will help diaspora groups build capacity and understand how to influence effective policies, and connect their talent with the needs of their countries of origin. The AAAS annual meeting will serve as an anchor for NODES in order to mobilize new constituencies, develop new capacity-building activities and exchange resources.  

Building Bridges in the Middle East
For nearly two decades, the Academies and the science academies of Jordan, Palestine, and Israel have worked to promote scientific cooperation in the Middle East. In 1994, the Association of Middle East and U.S. National Academies of Sciences was formed and published the joint study Water for the Future: The West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel, and Jordan (1999). The Association has held technical workshops on nutrition, biodiversity, water, and telemedicine, and initiated a series of symposia for young scientists.

Cooperation with Iranian Colleagues
Former president of the National Academy of Engineering William A. Wulf eloquently voiced the sentiments of the National Academies when he asserted that there exists “a historic opportunity to continue our work with Iranian colleagues on problems of global importance that will not only advance international science and engineering, but also build trust and respect for one another throughout our societies.” Even in the midst of political tensions, the Academies brings together specialists in science and engineering from Iran and the United States for such workshops as The Experiences and Challenges of Science and Ethics (2003, PDF 864 KB) and Water Conservation, Reuse, and Recycling (2005, PDF 14.5 MB).

Defending and Promoting Human Rights
Academies worldwide are encouraged and assisted by the Committee on Human Rights to defend professional colleagues who are unjustly imprisoned for peacefully exercising their universal human rights, including their freedom to publish, assemble, voice opinions, travel, seek and impart information and ideas, and share in scientific advancement. The committee has defended hundreds of colleagues. Most have been released, including a geologist and two medical doctors who, collectively, spent 37 years in a Myanmar prison.

Frontiers of Science and Engineering Symposia
For more than two decades, the Academies’ Frontiers of Science and Frontiers of Engineering series have brought together some of the country’s finest young scientists and engineers to discuss cutting-edge advances, research challenges, and exciting new opportunities in their respective fields. The enduring success of this annual symposium, along with that of the later-established Frontiers of Engineering series, has inspired the creation of similar programs with partners in Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, India, and the Middle East.

Travel Grants
Understanding the importance of allowing U.S. scientists and engineers the opportunity to network internationally, the Academies provide travel grants that allow them to attend international congresses and meetings, manage new programs, and share their work and experiences with foreign scientists and engineers. Their insights can then be shared with the broader U.S. science community. 

International Conference on Women’s Issues in Transportation
Following an interest in Women's Issues in Transportation, the Academies organized a series of four conferences starting as early as 1978, at a time when only scholars were interested in this topic. By the time of the next conference, in 1996, concerns about women’s issues had moved well beyond the research community into policy making and the planning and engineering processes. The third conference, held in 2004, continued the trend of expanding the sponsorship, the breadth of topics covered, and participants’ backgrounds. This event was designed to identify and explore additional research and data needed to inform transportation policy decisions that address women’s mobility, safety, and security needs and to encourage work by young researchers. The fourth conference, held in October 2009, added the latest findings to a research base on women's transportation issues developed over the past four decades.

Inter-Academy Agreement: U.S. National Academy of Sciences & Russian Academy of Sciences
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) renewed their mutual cooperation and signed a five-year, inter-academy agreement  to utilize their expertise in science, engineering, and medicine to jointly address their countries' most pressing challenges on April 4, 2013. Advances in biomedical research and the transforming energy sector are among the many issues that NAS and RAS hope to address through 2018.  Other areas of cooperation include biological sciences, counter terrorism, nuclear safety and security, and issues addressing aspects of global climate change. The agreement builds on decades of collaboration between the two organizations.  In 1959, NAS and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR -- now RAS -- signed their first agreement to promote "scientific cooperation between American and Soviet scientists."

Science Academies' Input to Economic Summits (G8)
For the last five years, the science academies of the G8 countries, plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa, provided common inputs to the G8 summits on topics of the summit agendas. This year, they issued a joint statement on Climate Change and the Transformation of Energy Technologies for Low Carbon Future” and called on their leaders to "seize all opportunities" to address global climate change that "is happening even faster than previously estimated."

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