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July/August 2005

Sigma Xi International Newsletter
Volume 4, Number 7/8
July/August 2005

This electronic bulletin is designed to keep subscribers updated on developments in Sigma Xi’s 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

Campaign to Connect Rural Villages in India
Spearheaded by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), “Mission 2007: Every Village a Knowledge Center” is a project designed to bring the benefits of information and communication technology (ICT) to all rural villages in India. A National Alliance of more than 100 entities from the private sector, cooperatives, NGOs, R&D institutions, educational institutions, government agencies and the mass media was formed in 2004 to craft a national strategy and officially launch Mission 2007. The goal of this project is to provide access to knowledge for all 600,000 rural villages in India through a network of 30,000 hubs by the 60th anniversary of India’s independence in 2007. These hubs would utilize the Internet, television, radio and vernacular newspapers. The project will incorporate existing infrastructure, including regional knowledge centers established as early as 1997; approximately 670,000 km of fiber optic data cable that was previously deployed; and the National Virtual Academy for Food Security and Rural Prosperity (NVA), created in 2003 to help bring expert advice for solving local problems to rural communities. Designed to provide information that local people need and to help them to use this information to their advantage, the centers are staffed by local volunteers who have received training from the MSSRF. Mission 2007 would like to see at least one woman and one man per village selected through a peer review process to be fellows in the NVA by the 2007 target date. The relevance of this type of network was recently reinforced when the public address systems in two different knowledge centers were used to warn villagers of the impending tsunami this past December. [Source:
INASP Newsletter]

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Free Journal Access Portal
The Global Development Network (GDN) has partnered with Project MUSE to create the GDN Journal Access Portal, which enables social science researchers based in developing or transitional countries to access a searchable, full-text, online database of more than 120 well-known social science journals. Eligible GDN-registered researchers can now download full-text articles at no cost to themselves or their institution through the
GDN Journals Access Portal.

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DFID Launches Online Consultation
Recognizing the important role that science, engineering, technology and innovation play in development, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is crafting a Science and Innovation Strategy. An
online consultation was recently created under the direction of Gordon Conway, DFID’s new Chief Scientific Adviser. This consultation poses a range of questions about how the department engages with science and innovation, whether internally as part of the international community or in developing countries. The information gleaned is intended to help the organization increase its effectiveness and to establish future priorities for supporting science and innovation for development. DFID is seeking the views of its partners in developing countries, former partners or people who are simply interested in their work by 19 September 2005. [Source: SciDev.Net]

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European Public Outreach Campaign for Science
The European Commission is conducting a targeted campaign from June to November of this year in order to raise public awareness of science in Europe. Specifically, the
“Researchers in Europe 2005” initiative aims to address the decreasing number of young people pursuing careers in science. Within the next five years, it is estimated that the European Union (EU) needs to train between 600,000 and 700,000 new researchers, not even accounting for impending retirements. Events are being held throughout the EU and the Associated States to inject a sense of creativity and “cool” into young people’s perception of science. By concentrating a large number of awareness-raising events and activities over a period of six months, the Researchers in Europe 2005 initiative hopes to focus media and public attention on the essential role of science and research in our society and on the many reasons why one should pursue a career in science. The project Web site lists events happening in the 33 countries.

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International Scientific & Engineering Academies
In the past few years, the academies of science of many countries have come together to form networks. Some of these are based on geographic region, but others are based on economic status or other factors. Here we highlight both the “umbrella” networks composed of the national academies from various countries as well as the transnational academies composed of individual members, linking to their Web sites or contact e-mail addresses and listing the years the respective organizations were founded.

Regional networks of academies

Transnational academies

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China and US Extend Student/Researcher Visas
The US Embassy in Beijing recently announced a mutual agreement between China and the US to offer 12-month, multiple-entry student, exchange and vocational training visas to each other’s students and researchers. This change went into effect on 20 June 2005 and is expected to be a major improvement over the previous six-month visas that were valid for only two entries. The recipients will not have to renew their visas so frequently, saving time and money as well as facilitating visits and emergency travel home. [Source:
Chronicle of Higher Education]

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Wellcome Trust Furthering Open Access
The Wellcome Trust and other major science funders in the UK recently announced plans to create an open access digital archive of research papers, dubbed UK PubMed Central. This freely accessible, public archive will be similar in structure to (as well as a mirror of) the US National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central and will provide links to other online resources such as gene and chemical compound databases. One week after announcing the conception of UK PubMed Central, the Wellcome Trust released its new mandatory open access policy. Beginning 1 October 2005, all new research projects funded by the charity, the UK’s largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research, must deposit papers in either the US or the UK PubMed Central within six months of publication. Existing research projects have until 1 October 2006 to implement the new policy. In a related note, the eight UK Research Councils, under the umbrella of Research Councils UK, have also proposed mandatory deposition of papers arising from Council-funded work in openly available repositories. The Councils are seeking views on their 28 June position statement and are receiving comments through an
online consultation, which ends on 31 August 2005. [Source: Open Access News]

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Centers of Excellence to Form Network
After publishing the concept for a network of developing country centers of excellence in a report, the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) received its first pledge of funding for this network at its May 2005 meeting. The Italian government promised a contribution of US$500,000 for the network, which will support the short-term training of developing country researchers at the centers of excellence throughout the global South. This network will not only provide training but should also facilitate resource sharing and research collaboration. CSTD has appointed a steering committee to choose an initial 10 institutes to form the network from a list of more than 100 institutions prepared by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). At an estimated annual operating cost of US$1 million, the network expects to fund three months of training for 50 scientists and engineers each year. CSTD plans for the network to be operational by the end of 2005. [Source:
SciDev.Net]

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Academics Across Borders
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced the anticipated launch of its new “Academics Across Borders” program in November 2005. This project is aimed at reducing the high-level training and research gap between industrial and developing countries. The program seeks to identify volunteer academics from industrially developed nations and match them with targeted higher education needs in developing and transitional nations. Expatriate academics, in particular, are encouraged to return to their countries of origin to assist in strengthening universities and research institutions. UNESCO is currently developing a database of distinguished academics and researchers from developing countries in the fields of medicine, engineering and natural sciences, and computer sciences who may be willing to return to their home countries to participate in the program. US-based individuals interested in volunteering should write to
dcunesco@state.gov , while potential volunteers based in other countries should contact Winsome Gordon. [Source: Americans for UNESCO Newsletter Prospects &Retrospects]

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Did You Know?
The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) awards modest grants to sponsor short visits of international experts through its
Working Visits of International Expertise to Research Institutions in the Member States mechanism. This program was designed to support the process of capacity-building in scientific and technological research and to facilitate cooperation and interaction among the scientists and research institutions in the Islamic countries. Prospective host institutions in the member states must submit applications through their respective national points of contact.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Standing Committee on Scientific &Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH)-ISESCO Research Grants program was designed to reinforce and promote scientific research, strengthen the endogenous research capacity and reduce the exodus of scientific talent from the OIC region. Young researchers with a PhD in agricultural biotechnology, health biotechnology, frontier areas of science and technology, engineering sciences, medicinal plants, information technology or material sciences can apply for the two-year grants of up to US$10,000. The next deadline for applications is 31 July 2005. [Source: SciDev.Net]

Each year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recognizes an individual or small group of individuals in the scientific or engineering community for making an outstanding contribution to furthering international cooperation in science and engineering through the AAAS Award for International Science Cooperation. There are no restrictions with regard to nationality or citizenship. Nominations must be received by 1 August 2005.

The US Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) is soliciting proposals for its Cooperative Grants Program (CGP). CRDF’s primary goals for this program are to support high-quality, innovative, basic and applied research and development by establishing sustainable US-Eurasian research collaborations; to provide an alternative to emigration for Eurasian scientists; and to fully employ former weapons research scientists in civilian research. The CGP provides one- to two-year support to joint research teams of US and Eurasian scientists and engineers in all areas of basic and applied research and development. This particular competition cycle is for the fields of biological, biomedical, chemical and geological sciences. Additionally, targeted funding is available for Russian scientists working in the fields of nanotechnologies and materials; life sciences; environmental sciences and conservation biology; and safety and anti-terrorism research. The next proposal deadline is 2 August 2005.

The Wellcome Trust and its partners recently unveiled a new Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative. This program was created in response to the UK Clinical Research Collaboration’s assertion that the provision of support for experimental medicine is key to addressing UK national deficits in clinical research capacity. They further named several priority areas—clinical research facilities, enabling technologies (imaging, proteomics, genomics, diagnostics, devices), capacity for early medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical support. The sponsors of the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative are soliciting proposals for the development of new and existing clinical research facilities; support for enabling technologies/infrastructure for clinical research; and a number of 3T whole-body MRI scanners and supporting costs, which will be funded by the Medical Research Council. Preliminary proposals are due on 1 September 2005.

The European Commission’s Sixth Framework Program (FP6) has several open calls for proposals for international cooperation projects through Specific Support Actions (SSAs) and Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREPs). Calls for SSAs intended for developing countries, Mediterranean partner countries and the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union have a deadline of 7 September 2005. The calls for STREPs intended for Mediterranean partner countries and developing countries have a deadline of 13 September 2005.

The Association of Academies of Science in Asia (AASA) is currently receiving proposals for financial support for meetings related to AASA Joint Projects. Several modest grants will be awarded to support workshops, seminars and other scientific meetings hosted by its member academies. Proposals for meetings in either 2005 or 2006 are due by 15 September 2005.

The Centre Training and Awards Program (CTAP) of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) offers personal and professional development of citizens and permanent residents of Canada and developing-country nationals by supporting academic study and offering opportunities for hands-on experience in its three program areas: environmental and natural resource management, information and communication technology for development, and social and economic equity. Masters, doctoral and post-doctoral level fellowships, as well as internships and sabbaticals, are available. Deadlines for the individual awards are spread throughout the year.

The Rothamsted International African Fellows Programme aims to provide problem-focused training in Europe for mid-career African scientists. The program addresses the problems of achieving sustainable agricultural production, improving rural development and conserving biodiversity. Fellowships are awarded for 4–12-month research visits. Pre-proposals for the next program cycle are due on 14 October 2005. [Source: Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)]

The Wenner-Gren Foundation offers individual research grants for dissertation fieldwork and postdoctoral research in anthropology. The foundation particularly invites projects employing comparative perspectives or integrating two or more subfields of anthropology. The next deadline is 1 November 2005.

The Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO) administers competitive Grants to Institutions in the South for Joint Research Projects. This funding scheme is designed to encourage and support joint research projects involving two to three competent research and training institutions from different countries in the global South where at least one of the cooperating institutions is from a least developed country (LDC). A maximum grant of US$30,000 may be awarded for up to two years. Completed applications are due on 1 December 2005.

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Upcoming Meetings
International Meeting on Frontiers of Physics; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 25–29 July 2005

World Information Technology Forum: ICT for Accelerated Development; Gaborone, Botswana; 31 August–2 September 2005

EuroNanoForum 2005: Nanotechnology and the Health of the EU Citizen in 2020; Edinburgh, Scotland, UK; 5–9 September 2005

2nd African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology; Dakar, Senegal; 27–30  September 2005

World Federation of Engineering Organizations 2005; San Juan, Puerto Rico; 16–21 October 2005

Global Forum on Education: The Challenges for Education in a Global Economy; Santiago, Chile; 24–25 October 2005

World Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development; Durban, South Africa; 31 October&8211;2 November 2005

1st DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference: Integrating Biodiversity Science for Human Well-Being; Oaxaca, Mexico; 9–12 November 2005

World Science Forum 2005: Can Science Be Profitable?; Budapest, Hungary; 10–12 November 2005

Past, Present and Future of Research in the Information Society; Tunis, Tunisia; 13–15 November 2005

Communicating European Research; Brussels, Belgium; 14–15 November 2005

World Summit on the Information Society; Tunis, Tunisia; 16–18 November 2005

II International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education: The Financing of Universities; Barcelona, Spain; 30 November–2 December 2005

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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

 

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