Science, Technology, and Innovation Partnerships
In cooperation with a broad array of U.S. government interagency partners, the Department of State’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation within the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) is responsible for managing over 50 binding bilateral and multilateral Science and Technology Agreements that provide the framework for international collaboration. These agreements offer mechanisms for critical research and development efforts that improve the human condition, facilitate the exchange of scientific data and results, protect intellectual property rights, and establish partnerships with counterpart institutions abroad. We also engage partner countries to discuss a range of science policy issues that promote economic growth, encourage democratic principles, and support the use of science for decision making. Specific science policy priorities include advancing women in science, fostering innovation, and enhancing public understanding of the role of science in society.
Science and technology cooperation takes several forms and advances many priorities, including:
- Joint scientific research and information sharing that aids decision making and shapes programs that address global issues such as climate change, health, food and energy security, and water.
- Science and technology agreements that enhance protections for intellectual property generated by joint research, supporting economic growth and U.S. competitiveness. Science policy dialogues that address obstacles to scientific cooperation, such as regulatory barriers or inadequate data access.
- Initiatives around the world that help U.S. technical agencies that build bridges with foreign counterparts, expand research capacity, and promote sound scientific practices. Coordination meetings with participation from across the range of science agencies that identify cross-cutting challenges and encourage multi-disciplinary approaches.
OES organizes bilateral meetings that integrate into broader dialogues led by the Secretary of State or other senior Department officials. OES works closely with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as well as leaders in U.S. technical agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, and research institutions in other Cabinet-level departments.
These dialogues establish goals based on mutual interests, such as:
- Supporting the role of science, technology, and innovation as a contributor to economic growth, and as a tool to develop solutions that meet pressing public needs.
- Building inclusive educational and scientific communities that expand opportunities for girls and women and foster research designed to deliver broad-based social benefits.
- Promoting public interest in science by increasing students in STEM fields, communicating results and data to the public, and forging partnerships between scientific institutions and citizen groups, including NGOs, trade and industry, and media organizations.
Examples of Recent Engagements
U.S.-Peru Science and Technology Partnership
In August 2016, OES led a delegation of U.S. scientists and government officials to meet with Peruvian counterparts and enhance our science and technology partnerships. The conference was held in conjunction with a Startup Boot Camp through State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative and built on a recent trip to Peru by Presidential Science Envoy Dr. Thomas Lovejoy. These engagements have allowed the U.S. and Peruvian scientific communities to strengthen and expand collaborative relationships that are essential to fostering partnerships across a range of issues such as protecting biodiversity, promoting responsible scientific practices, and encouraging multidisciplinary research in the areas of food, water, energy, and health.
Building on the work of scientists who helped normalize and rebuild relations with Vietnam, OES focused in 2015 and 2016 on enhancing relationships and building economic stability through science, technology, and innovation (STI) in Vietnam.
The 9th Vietnam-U.S. Joint Committee Meeting on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (JCM) in 2015 advanced themes of building supportive environments for budding scientists and young entrepreneurs, fostering S&T networks and exchanges, and assuring inclusiveness in the S&T sphere during the JCM, held in Ho Chi Min City. Fifteen years after signature of a U.S.-Vietnam Science and Technology Agreement, the JCM included participation from a broad range of Vietnamese stakeholders and 16 U.S. universities, institutes, and businesses. Dr. Geraldine Richmond, who began her tenure as Science Envoy for the Mekong in 2015, also participated in the JCM and promoted engagement on women-in-science and health.
In lead-up to the 2015 JCM, the U.S. National Science Foundation funded a workshop for government and university scientists hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey to explore research frontiers through partnerships. Out of these discussions came the Lower Mekong Research Collaboration Initiative (LMRCI) between Can Tho University, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Geological Survey, and Smithsonian, solidified in 2016 with the signing of a Letter of Intent during President Obama’s visit to Vietnam.
The OES-led Global Innovation through Science and Technology initiative and American Center in Ho Chi Minh City hosted a Startup Boot Camp in September 2016 as follow-up to 2015 JCM discussions on innovation. Attended by 19 teams comprised of 39 young Vietnamese entrepreneurs, the three day intensive training covered various topics such as customer and market discovery and polishing a sales pitch. The entrepreneurs also had an opportunity to hear from Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship Nina Vaca.