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1998 Forum

International Cooperation in Science and Technology
November 12-13, 1998, Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, BC
In conjunction with the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting, November 13-15, 1998.

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, will host a two-day forum to explore academic, industry, and policy perspectives on international cooperation in science and technology. The forum will chronicle cooperative experiences in areas such as high-energy physics, space, global environment, health sciences, standards development, and international security, and will address the practical issues that complicate collaboration, such as intellectual property, patents, funding mechanisms, and geopolitical influences.

Global Issues
Many countries are sensitive to the strategic economic advantages of knowledge- or technology-based industries. In some cases, governments recognize the benefits of multinational partnerships for research and technology development, but in other cases, such efforts are deemed inconsistent with national interests. In recent years, technological developments have facilitated international cooperation, and declining government sponsorship has encouraged the science and technology community to consider the economic advantages of international collaboration. There is a long tradition of cooperation in areas such as "big science" (e.g. astronomy, high energy physics), global environment (e.g. global warming, ozone, weather and climate), international security (e.g. weapons disposal, nuclear issues), and standards, and the number and scale of cooperative projects is increasing rapidly. Economic globalization complicates cooperation, however, by raising issues such as intellectual property ownership. As R&D moves off-shore, and firms encounter different legal environments, there are increasing political, educational, and scientific implications. Cooperation is further complicated by economic and political disparities, and recent developments in biotechnology raise difficult international ethical issues.

The Topics
The Forum will feature a mixture of scientific and policy-related sessions. A variety of current scientific developments and issues associated with international cooperation will be explored. Possible topics include the following:

  • multinational environmental issues;
  • sustainable development;
  • biotechnology;
  • emerging or re-emerging diseases;
  • nuclear materials and nonproliferation;
  • chemical and biological weapons;
  • the international space station;
  • international telescopes;
  • Arctic/Antarctic research.


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