A Crucial Moment for Science Cooperation

Sunday, 16 February 2014
Toronto (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Frances A. Colón , U.S. State Department, Washington, DC
Despite being in the midst of a "Great Recession," the first Obama administration dramatically increased science and technology investment and elevated science in policy-making. This acted as a carrier-wave for science globally. The second Obama administration may yet shift gear and funding may decline. Regardless, international cooperation in science and technology has gained renewed prominence as a tool for bettering relations with the world, as well as addressing the most urgent global challenges. Building on the insights of previous speakers, this talk will examine whether the development of a truly global scientific enterprise is within reach and assess the obstacles that have yet to be confronted. How should we incorporate rising scientific communities such as China and Africa into the currently Western-oriented scientific structure? How can we cooperate while competing for scarce international resources, evidenced by the newfound scramble for Africa? How can we address explosive tensions between scientific information and societal and political directions? All governments and regions face new challenges in terms of how science is viewed and used. Attitudes and perceptions about science, ranging from issues at the nexus of religion and politics, and competitiveness and immigration, may sometimes seem irreconcilable with science-based progress. This talk will offer educated guesses about how we might share discovery and innovation and protect difference and competition, while tackling widely-held misperceptions and keeping the general public on-board.