2009 Marks Anniversaries
of Cooperation Between U.S.
and Chinese, Russian Scientists
In October the National Academy of Sciences hosted representatives from the U.S. and Chinese scientific and policy communities as the nations celebrated 30 years of science and technology cooperation and collaboration. Officials from more than a dozen U.S. government science agencies and research institutions attended.
At an opening ceremony, welcoming remarks were given by NAS President Ralph Cicerone, followed by addresses by Assistant to the President for Science and Technology John Holdren, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones, Minister Wan Gang of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, and Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong.
The ceremony commemorated the 1979 signing of an agreement between President Jimmy Carter and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping that became a foundation for ongoing cooperation among scientists from both nations. Collaborations in the three decades that followed have spanned efforts as diverse as combating birth defects, countering invasive species, and supporting research in high-energy physics.
In addition, the ceremony opened the 13th biannual meeting of the Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation, a joint governmental body that facilitates scientific collaborations between the two countries. Delegates explored ongoing and possible future areas of collaboration, including nuclear safety, biomedical research, and clean energy development. During an evening reception at the Chinese embassy, Holdren read a greeting from President Obama, who noted the importance of the collaborative foundation the agreement established “given the challenges we all face in areas of energy, climate, agriculture, health, nutrition, and education.”
This year also marked 50 years of cooperation between the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences. In June U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent letters of congratulation to the academies’ leadership, and officials from the academies met in Moscow the same month to celebrate the anniversary and discuss future cooperation on energy and climate change, biomedicine, and international security.
Collaboration between the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Chinese and Russian academies has been extensive and wide-ranging, including ongoing discussions about nuclear security and nonproliferation and the release of collaborative reports. For example, in 2007 the U.S. and Chinese academies released a joint report on energy and urban air pollution, and the following year the U.S. and Russian academies published a collaborative report on how to prevent weapons proliferation as more nations seek nuclear energy. — Sara Frueh