Good morning. Welcome to this
Research and Science Education Subcommittee hearing on International
Science and Technology Cooperation.
This is the second hearing that this
subcommittee has held on the role of the federal government in
fostering international scientific cooperation and science
diplomacy. At the first hearing we focused on how we might
improve visa policy to facilitate the open exchange of students and
More recently we hosted a roundtable
on the broader topic of international science cooperation with four
distinguished former State and USAID officials who have since left
government. They were able to provide me and our colleagues
who attended the roundtable with insightful observations about what
has and has not worked, as well as engage in creative brainstorming
free from the political and time constraints of a formal
hearing. I learned a great deal and was very impressed with
the amount of international science and technology cooperation that
is already going within the assistance of the federal
government. We will hear more about some of this today.
Unfortunately, I also learned
that we must do more to maximize the effectiveness of science and
technology cooperation. Cooperation should not be pursued
simply as a means of achieving bigger and better science. It
should also pursued for the sake of development, diplomacy, and
informing decision-makers around the world about critical
environmental, security, economic, resource and health issues.
It seems to me that the federal government might need an
organization and a process dedicated to setting government-wide
priorities and overseeing implementation of those priorities.
One of my goals for this hearing is to understand how – or if - the
federal government sets priorities for international science
cooperation, and who is or who should be responsible for
coordinating and overseeing the entire effort.
There have been some attempts in the
past – such as the creation of a Committee on International Science,
Engineering and Technology under the President’s National Science
and Technology Council – to assign that task to a dedicated
organization. Some experts have suggested assigning this task
to the State Department itself. To that end, Congress
created a Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State
in 1999. Dr. Nina Fedoroff is the third renowned scientist to
hold that position. In a demonstration of her commitment to
better integrate science in our diplomatic activities, Dr. Fedoroff
personally lobbied Secretary Rice to broaden her job description to
include Science Adviser to USAID.
While the State Department may be at
the center of many of these efforts, I would be remiss to downplay
the critical role played by a number of other agencies, including
the National Science Foundation; the mission agencies, represented
here today by NASA; and the Office of Science and Technology Policy,
which has responsibility both for advising the President on the
science and technology components of national and international
issues, and for coordinating research and development activities
across the federal government.
Today, representatives from these
agencies will tell us about current efforts and opportunities in
international science and technology cooperation and help us
understand how such cooperation benefits the United States and the