Science Collaborations Across Borders

In 2009, the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program, Transnational China Project and Technology, Society and Public Policy Program hosted an international workshop to identify and examine key issues preventing fruitful scientific collaboration among researchers working on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Officials from and scientists from universities in Beijing, Chapel Hill, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Nanjing, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Tainan, and Washington D.C. met at Rice University to discuss ways to facilitate scientific and engineering research across borders. While all of the participants shared an interest in improving cooperation in science and engineering research, a number of policy issues proved problematic. Difficulty in obtaining visas to attend science conferences, the framing of benign projects as security-sensitive, and even the decentralized research structure in the United States hindered collaboration with Asian partners. As cooperation between researchers in the United States and Asia increases in scale and importance, it is essential that any barriers to successful partnerships be identified and corrected.

The goal of the workshop was to develop a set of findings and recommendations based on the workshop deliberations that described best practices for collaborations; determined cultural and policy barriers; recommended actions for universities and granting agencies to promote collaboration; and showcased successful collaborations as models for practices in the future.

Support for this program was generously provided by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation. Additional travel support was sponsored by the Quantum Magnetism Lab, Krishna Palem's Lab, Evan Siemann's Lab, and senior fellow Neal F. Lane.

The full list of participants in the Science Collaborations Project is available here.