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November 2002

Sigma Xi International Newsletter
Volume 1, Number 4
November 2002

This monthly electronic bulletin is designed to keep subscribers updated on developments in Sigma Xi's international activities as well as links and topics of interest to researchers around the world. To submit an item to the newsletter, contact the International Program Coordinator at international@sigmaxi.org. If you would like to, you can download and print a PDF version of this newsletter. To receive notice of this monthly newsletter, please use this online form.

Past Issues

In This Issue

ICSU to Establish Regional Offices
At the recent General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU), formerly the International Council of Scientific Unions, in Rio de Janeiro, the organization made plans to set an international research agenda for the future focusing on science for sustainable development. Professor Jane Lubchenco, ICSU's new president, remarked: "Our top priority is to take an integrated approach to addressing the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainable development."

Part of the strategy to create an action plan for science for sustainability includes concentrating future research efforts on the local level and then linking local research to regional and global issues. In accordance with this directive, ICSU announced plans to establish regional offices in Asia, Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean, and the Arab Region. These offices will serve to strengthen regional collaboration and ensure that scientists from the regions are fully involved in their many international science efforts.

The International Council for Science (ICSU) is a non-governmental organization representing a global membership that includes both national scientific academies (101 members) and international scientific unions (27 members). (Source: ICSU)

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Funding for International Collaboration
Obtaining funding for international research collaboration is a high priority for researchers around the world in a variety of fields. With recent advances in communication technology, it is now more feasible than ever before for researchers thousands of kilometers apart to cooperate on joint research projects. Working together across borders on science and engineering is not only an excellent way for countries to play upon their scientific strengths while compensating for their limitations, but it also allows for cost-sharing of very expensive scientific instrumentation.

Financial support for international scientific partnerships is available on several different levels; funding can be geared toward cooperation within a certain field, with a certain country or region, or with a specific population such as young or female researchers.

Global organizations such as UNESCO and the World Health Organization (WHO) offer broad funding programs that are listed either by country and/or discipline.

National science organizations such as the government science agencies and national academies of many countries have divisions that facilitate collaboration research with other countries. Some examples include: the Australian Academy of Science; Brazil's Conselho Nacional de Desinvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq); Germany's Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG); and South Africa's National Research Foundation International Science Liaison. A listing of 85 scientific academies may be found on the Web site of the InterAcademy Panel, and a page on the ICSU Web site lists a variety of scientific academies and national science agencies.

The disciplinary societies within your field may also offer funding for international research collaboration. For researchers in transitional countries, many different national development organizations such as the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) offer collaborative research grants.

Finally, private foundations also fund international cooperation in scientific research. You can consult a published directory of international foundations such as The International Foundation Directory or the International Encyclopedia of Foundations or search online on sites such as the Directory of International Grants and Fellowships in the Health Sciences or the Development Gateway to identify some of these foundations.

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Sigma Xi Participates in International Meeting About Online Publishing
Rosalind Reid, editor of American Scientist, recently represented Sigma Xi at an open round table discussion on "Developing Country Access to Online Scientific Publishing: Sustainable Alternatives" October 4-5, 2002 at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. The participants, ranging from scientists to publishers, discussed several relatively new, affordable sources of scientific information for developing country researchers. Successes and obstacles of these various services were discussed, and all parties agreed that it is not possible to consistently publish high-quality, free information.

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Did You Know?

The Third World Academy of Sciences has announced the initiation of a new award, the Trieste Prize, which is intended to be something similar to a "developing country Nobel Prize." The $100,000 award will honor researchers who reside and conduct their research in the developing world, and it will be sponsored by the coffee company Illy. The Trieste Prize will be awarded in different disciplines from year to year, and the first prize (2003) will be awarded in biological sciences. (Source: SciDev.Net)

As a partnership between the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Women's International Science Collaboration Program (WISC) aims to increase the participation of women in international scientific research. Small travel grants are awarded to U.S. scientists to plan and design new collaborations with researchers in one of many different countries. The next deadline is January 15, 2003.

The European Union's Heads of Research Councils has announced a new program to support young researchers. The European Young Investigators Awards program is designed to be a pilot for the possible establishment of a European Research Council. Outstanding young researchers from all over the world are eligible to apply for the five-year fellowships to conduct research in Europe. Applications will be transmitted by agencies and institutions from participating countries, and the European Science Foundation will manage the selection process. (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has recently unveiled its pilot project (OpenCourseware) to give free, searchable access to MIT course materials via the Internet. More than 30 courses from 17 departments are already online.

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Upcoming meetings

III World Conference of Science Journalists: Science Journalism and Human Development; São José Dos Campos (SP), Brazil; November 24-27, 2002.

Open Access to Scientific and Technical Information: State of the Art and Future Trends; Paris, France, January 23-24, 2003.

Seventh International Conference on Technology Policy and Innovation: Connecting People, Ideas, and Resources across Communities; Monterrey, Mexico; June 10-13, 2003.

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: 919-549-4691 or 919-547-5246
Fax: 919-547-5263
E-mail: international@sigmaxi.org

 

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