About Sigma Xi Programs Meetings Member Services Chapters Giving Affiliates Resources American Scientist

Programs » International » Newsletter » Past Newsletters »
May/June 2005

Sigma Xi International Newsletter
Volume 4, Number 5/6
May/June 2005

This electronic bulletin is designed to keep subscribers updated on developments in Sigma Xiís international activities and to provide links and articles on topics of interest to researchers around the world. To submit an item to the newsletter, contact the Manager of the International Program at international@sigmaxi.org. You can also download and print a PDF version of this issue. To subscribe to this newsletter, please use this online form.

Past Issues

In This Issue

Sigma Xi Promotes Expertise Database
Created as part of the Packard International Science Networking Initiative,
Sigma Xiís Expertise Database allows scientists and engineers around the world to post and search scientific profiles in order to find potential research collaborators or peers to help edit their manuscripts. Anyone can post a basic profile (name, contact information, primary language and keywords), but the profiles of active Sigma Xi members display additional information such as education, research interests, other languages and publications. Although certain fields are not displayed in non-member profiles, all fields are searched in all profiles. In the coming weeks, the Society will be promoting the database internationally, so now is your chance to enter your profile so that it will be seen by potential thousands of people.

Back to top

Intellectual Property Resources
Intellectual property (IP) can be defined as creative ideas or products of the mind that possess commercial value and can be protected by certain legal rights such as patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights. The term “IP” is often used interchangeably with the legal rights associated with intellectual property. Most commonly, researchers deal with IP when they have developed something in their research that is useful for commercial applicationólicensing technology to corporations can be a useful source of income for institutions to support further research. For those interested in obtaining a patent, some national/regional patent offices and large research institutions have specific divisions to help inventors through the process of filing for one. However, another important reason for researchers to be aware of IP is that patent databases can contain knowledge that is complementary to the academic literature. Industrial researchers who could not publish in the academic literature have oftentimes filed for patents. In order to gain the most thorough background on what has already been done with respect to a particular field or problem, it is a good idea to consult patent databases. We list here a few resources that could be useful.


  • British Library Patents directory
    directory with many useful categories, including links to the patent offices in more than 90 countries and regions
  • IPR Helpdesk
    European Unionís free service supporting creativity and innovation in Europe
  • IP Menu
    comprehensive directory assembled by a private IP firm
  • Science Commons
    exploratory project to encourage stakeholders to create areas of free access and inquiry using standardized licenses and other means; works on publishing, licensing and data

Searching Patent Databases

Other regional patent offices

Back to top

SINAPSE e-Network Launched
The new
Scientific Information for Policy Support in Europe (SINAPSE) e-Network was launched at the Science in Society Forum in Brussels in March 2005. A freely accessible electronic platform, SINAPSE was designed as a tool for the exchange of information between the scientific community and decision-makers. It provides an interactive library of scientific opinions and advice, as well as an early-warning system for better detection of potential crises and awareness of important scientific issues. [Source: World Science Forum Newsletter]

Back to top

World Environment Day
First observed in 1972, World Environment Day (WED) is commemorated annually during the week of 5 June with an international exposition. This year, the primary WED celebrations will be hosted by the city of San Francisco, California; this is the first time that WED has been hosted in the US. The theme for 2005 is “Green Cities,” and the slogan is “Plan for the Planet!” The UN uses WED to stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action. Mayors from more than 200 cities around the world have been invited to convene in San Francisco to plan for a sustainable urban future by signing the San Francisco Urban Environmental Accords, a coherent set of objectives based on existing and emerging best-practices. As detailed on the
official WED 2005 Web site, events are expected to take place in more than 100 countries.

Back to top

Governments Seeking More Foreign Students
According to recent reports, the governments of both South Korea and Canada have announced deliberate measures to increase the number of foreign students in their respective countries. The South Korean Ministry of Education has set a goal of effectively tripling the number of foreign students over the next five years to have 50,000 foreign students enrolled in their higher education system by 2010. In order to achieve this, they plan to promote the new “Study in Korea” Web site, add more scholarships for foreign students and establish more Korean high schools and cultural centers throughout Asia. South Korea currently has 16,000Ė17,000 foreign students from nearly 100 countries in its higher educational system. In a similar move, the Canadian government has effected changes in the countryís immigration policy that are designed to help its higher educational institutions recruit and retain more foreign students. Students will be allowed to transfer among Canadian institutions, work off-campus during their studies and work in most Canadian cities for up to two years after graduation, all without having to change their study permits. These changes were in direct response to the results of the “Canada First” survey conducted by the Canadian Bureau for International Education.

Within the past three years, the governments in a host of other countries, including Germany, Jordan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Thailand, have also announced strategies for increasing foreign student enrollment. These countries share many of the same reasons for targeting the recruitment of foreign students. Most significantly, foreign students can bring a considerable boost to a nationís economy. For example, foreign students contribute an estimated 13 billion dollars to the US economy each year. Another goal is to decrease the student exchange deficit caused by having significantly more citizens leaving to study in other countries than foreign students entering their institutions of higher learning. Some countries are trying to recruit more highly skilled workers to supplement their science and technology workforces. Other countries look to exchange students to improve their foreign relations. In addition to the previously mentioned methods, strategies employed for boosting the number of foreign students have included: adding to the number of courses taught in foreign languages, hiring more foreign faculty, recruiting expatriates and encouraging foreign institutions to establish local branches. [Source: Chronicle of Higher Education]

Back to top

European Commission Unveils Next Research Framework Program
As part of the effort to raise European research funding to the equivalent of 3% of the European gross domestic product (GDP), the European Commission recently released its proposal for the 7th Framework Program (FP7) with a budget totaling nearly €73 billion. The Framework Program (FP) is the European Unionís main instrument for funding research and development. Utilized since 1984, FPs cover a period of five years with the final year of one FP overlapping with the first year of the next FP. The current FP is FP6, which runs through the end of 2006. Under FP6, the €17.5 billion allotment initially encompassed a research budget for 15 countries; in mid-program (2004) 10 new countries joined the European Union, bringing the total to 25 countries. Although the proposed FP7 is to cover 25 countries over a period of seven years instead of the usual five, this still represents a significant increase in research funding. FP7 includes the themes of health; food, agriculture and biotechnology; information and communication technologies; nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies; energy; environment (including climate change); transport (including aeronautics); socio-economic sciences and the humanities; and security and space. Several programmatic and administrative changes were introduced in FP7: all activities now fall under one of the new overarching programs of cooperation, ideas, people and capacities; FP7 establishes a European Research Council loosely modeled on the US National Science Foundation; FP7 will not only emphasize research themes rather than instruments, but it also aims to simplify administrative procedures; international cooperation will be integrated into all four overarching programs; and FP7 aims to develop regions of knowledge and promote private-public partnerships. It is estimated that implementing the proposed FP7 would create approximately one million more jobs in Europe by 2030. Proposed by the European Commission in April 2005, FP7 will be subject to a co-decision procedure involving the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament and will be finalized and adopted in 2007. [Source:
International Engineering Education Digest]

Back to top

Feedback Sought on Proposed Changes in US Export Administration Regulations
As reported in the
November/December 2004 Newsletter, the US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is proposing changes in the Export Administration Regulations that could affect institutions in the US where foreign nationals are studying or researching certain technologies. Persons that are working with specific “controlled technologies” and are from specified countries must apply for a “deemed export” license from BIS. Exceptions to this rule include persons who have been granted US permanent residency, citizenship or “protected individual” status. BIS is seeking public comment on recommended changes in the definition of the term “use” and the method of assigning a researcherís country of origin. These changes could dramatically increase the number of required deemed export licenses; currently BIS grants ~1,000 per year, mostly to Chinese nationals. According to Acting Under Secretary Peter Lichtenbaum, BIS would like to receive answers to the following questions:

» How would a change in the current definition of “use” technology affect the licensing and regulatory burden for your research laboratory? (It would be useful to provide quantitative estimates of the potential licensing and compliance impacts.)

» What would be the licensing impact of changing the current policy of recognizing a foreign nationalís most recent country of permanent residency to the foreign nationalís country of birth?

» Would the change raise regulatory issues for the overseas operations of US industry?

» How do the requirements to obtain permanent residency in other countries compare to US requirements?

Public comments will be accepted until 27 May 2005; they may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via e-mail to scook@bis.doc.gov where “RIN 0694-AD29” is included in the subject line of the message. Further details can be found online. [Sources: Deemed Exports Workshop || Forum on Science, Ethics and Policy || SciDev.Net]

Back to top

United Nations Incorporates Science into Development
Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), has announced plans to create a high-level advisory panel to help integrate science and technology into the development efforts of all the member organizations of the UN system. Composed of 24 leading scientists, policymaking officials and political leaders, the Council of Development Advisers will advise both Annan and the UN Development Group on the best ways to support the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. In addition, Annan announced the creation of a scientific adviser position to work with the Council, the United Nations system and the broader scientific and academic community. Both initiatives were included in the proposed UN reforms to be discussed in September 2005. [Source:

Back to top

Recent Initiatives to Bridge the Digital Divide
The term “digital divide” was coined to describe inequalities in the availability and usage of technology both within and across national borders. Two new treaties under construction and a new voluntary fund have the potential to help bridge the digital divide. In 2004, Argentina and Brazil put forward a proposal for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to consider the issue of development and to integrate aspects of development in all of WIPOís activities. Consequently, an international Access to Knowledge (a2k) Treaty was drafted independently by representatives of many institutions and organizations worldwide to address the individualís right to access knowledge and how this knowledge can be used to help developing countries. The May 2005 draft of the a2k Treaty was recently discussed at a workshop in London hosted by the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue. Similarly, the Medical Research and Development Treaty was publicly released and submitted to the World Health Assembly Executive Board and the World Health Organization Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Health for deliberation in February 2005. Nations signing this treaty would be pledging to earmark a portion of their gross domestic product to medical research. In a manner akin to the emissions trading in the Kyoto Protocol, countries could earn credits toward their obligatory medical research spending by transferring technology to developing countries. Both of the treaties mandate open access to publicly funded research, among other stipulations.

Finally, the Digital Solidarity Fund, proposed by H. E. Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, was recently established to collect voluntary contributions for creating and strengthening the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in disadvantaged locales. Participating public authorities (local and national) commit to implementing the so-called “Geneva Principle.” Under this agreement, the city or country would either (a) require companies who win its publicly bid ICT contracts to donate at least 1% of the total transaction amount to the Fund, or (b) donate 1% of the amount of its own ICT budget to the fund. The Fundís resources will be distributed according to economic status—60% will go to least developed countries, 30% to developing countries, and 10% to transitional and developed countries—to support existing programs that build ICT capacity and to allocate grants to projects selected by the Fund. Hosted in Geneva, Switzerland, the Fund has received start-up funding totaling Ä1,000,000 from Senegal and the cities of Geneva and Lyon, France. [Sources: Consumer Project on Technology || iConnect-Online eBulletin || Open Access News]

Back to top

Free Electronic Delivery of Journal Articles
FreeForAll is an international collaboration of libraries that provides free journal articles to patrons and librarians in developing and less-developed nations. Users in the targeted regions may request up to five articles per week. The instructions for registering and ordering articles through PubMed may be found
online, or you can contact laurelkgraham@gmail.com for more information. [Source: International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications]

Back to top

Did You Know?
The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) is accepting applications for more than 200 postgraduate, postdoctoral and visiting scholar fellowships through its International Programme for Higher Education and Research (IPHER). This program provides scientists from developing countries with the opportunity to study at centers of excellence in other, more advanced developing countries such as Brazil, China and India. The local organizations cover local study costs and provide a monthly stipend to cover board and lodging, while TWAS covers the cost of travel to the host country and the return trip home. Application deadlines range from 1 June to 1 December 2005, and more information about the program is available under the activities section on the
TWAS Web site. [Source: SciDev.Net]

The International Association for the Promotion of Co-operation with Scientists from the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (INTAS) has issued its 2005-2006 Open Call for Research Project Proposals. With a total budget of €12 million, this program will encompass internationally collaborative, basic and applied research without thematic restrictions; however, the program does not fund projects for market-oriented technology development. The project consortia must comprise at least two teams from two different INTAS member states. Project durations may be 18, 24, or 30 months, and the maximum funding per project is €150,000. The deadline for pre-proposals is 14 June 2005; see the INTAS Funding Opportunities Web site for further information. [Source: Bioecomed Information Service]

The International Foundation for Science (IFS) and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) have announced a call for applications to two new grant/fellowship competitions. In addition to a regular IFS research grant, both of these fellowships include technical supervision support for one year by a UNU-IAS faculty member and academics from collaborating Japanese universities as well as a one-month stay at the UNU-IAS in Yokohama, Japan. The Agriculture for Peace Fellowship (APF) competition is open to young scientists from sub-Saharan African countries whose research contributes to a better understanding of relationships between agriculture and human security in this region. The Science and Technology Fellowship competition is open to scientists working on technology transfer to developing countries under Multilateral Environmental Agreements or policy research on biotechnology development and transfer to developing countries. Applicants for both programs must fulfill all other IFS eligibility criteria, and both programs have application deadlines of 30 June 2005. [Source: IFS eNews]

The African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI) is a distributed network of mathematics research, training and promotion throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by the Mellon Foundation and the International Mathematical Union, the 2005 AMMSI Postgraduate Scholarships are for masterís and doctoral level studies of mathematics, and the 2005 AMMSI Research/Visiting Scientist Fellowships are for postgraduate research/teaching visits of one to twelve months. The deadline for both programs is 30 June 2005, and the maximum award for each is US$3,000. The program details are available online in English and French. [Source: SciDev.Net]

The Engineering Information Foundation Grant Programs support developmental projects, training programs and instructional projects in engineering education and research. Fields of interest currently include the availability and use of published information, women in engineering and information access in developing countries. The next deadline for proposals is 30 June 2005.

The Sumitomo Foundation awards grants to young scientists (individuals or groups) for environmental and basic science research. Eligible fields include biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and interdisciplinary fields, and the applications must be submitted in Japanese by 30 June 2005.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) have announced the creation of the EMBO/HHMI Startup Grants for Central Europe. Institutions and successful job candidates apply together to gain funding beyond normal start up packages as well as other benefits associated with the EMBO Young Investigator program. The program sponsors are seeking applications from scientists to set up their first independent laboratories in Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia with US$75,000 per year for a period of three years. The closing date for applications is 1 August 2005. [Source: American Society for Microbiology International Alert]

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Long Term and Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship programs provide three years of postdoctoral support for young researchers with a PhD who have previously had no more than three years of postdoctoral research. Supporting basic research focused on complex mechanisms of living organisms, the fellowships are tenable in fields ranging from molecular and cellular approaches to biological functions to systems and cognitive neuroscience. The deadline will be some time in September 2005.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) awards biomedical grants for researchers from Canada and selected countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela). HHMIís International Research Scholars Program will award five-year grants to support promising scientists working in their home countries. The grants, ranging from US$50,000 to US$100,000/year, are to fund fundamental biomedical research on basic biological processes and disease mechanisms. Clinical trials and research on health education, health-care delivery or health services are not eligible. The competition deadline is 14 September 2005. [Source: SciDev.Net]

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Merit Scholarship Program for High Technology aims to develop technically qualified experts and researchers in the fields of applied science and technology needed for the development of the IDB member countries. The program sponsors three years of doctoral studies or a shorter postdoctoral visit for young applicants from the IDB member countries in fields such as polymer science, biotechnology, nuclear engineering, computer science, chemical engineering, medicine and agriculture. The application deadline is 30 September 2005.

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences is accepting nominations for the 2005 Kuwait Prizes. Kuwaiti and Arab citizens in the fields of computer science, water resources development, economy of information and development in the Arab world, and medical science and its history may be nominated for these ~US$100,000 prizes. The nominations are due on 31 October 2005. Contact prize@kfas.org.kw for more information. [Source: Chronicle of Higher Education]

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers several fellowship programs that sponsor 6- to 12-month visits in Germany to conduct postdoctoral research in all disciplines. The Georg Forster Research Fellowships are for scholars under 45 years of age from developing countries; the Roman Herzog Research Fellowships sponsor investigators under 35 years of age from central and southeast Europe; and the Humboldt Research Fellowships are for researchers under 40 years of age from all countries other than Germany. Applications for all three programs are accepted throughout the year. [Source: Global Development Network Funding Opportunities]

Back to top

Additional Readings of Interest

Back to top

Upcoming Meetings
International Symposium: “Whose University Is It?”; Leiden, Netherlands; 8 June 2005

Fourth International Symposium of Science and Art; New Brunswick, New Jersey, US; 9–12 June 2005

BioScience 2005; Glasgow, Scotland; 17–21 July 2005

International Science Conference (ISC) 2005: Science for Humanity; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 3–6 August 2005

Earth System Processes 2 (ESP2); Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 8–11 August 2005

13th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES13); Seoul, Korea; 26–29 August 2005

First World Conference on the Future of Science; Venice, Italy; 21–23 September 2005

4th ASEE/AaeE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education; Sydney, Australia; 26–30 September 2005

6th World Enformatika Conference (WECí05): International Conference on Computer and Information Sciences; Istanbul, Turkey; 26–28 October 2005

Back to top


For more information on any of the programs mentioned in this newsletter, please contact:

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
P. O. Box 13975, 3106 East NC Highway 54
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 USA
Telephone: +1-919-549-4691 or +1-919-547-5246
Fax: +1-919-549-0090
E-mail: international@sigmaxi.org


Back to top | Privacy Policy | Copyright ©2013. All Rights Reserved.