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Greater Global Scientific Cooperation Needed in Pandemic Fight

Sandra Feder
Stanford University News

A study group of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences led by two Stanford physicists recently released a statement calling for global cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 and for the U.S. to take a leadership role in that effort.

Since 2016, the “Challenges for International Scientific Partnerships” (CISP) project, led by Peter Michelson and Arthur Bienenstock, studies and articulates, particularly for audiences in the U.S., the benefits of international scientific collaboration across many disciplines. The group’s recent statement was prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak and its rapid global spread.

“Important lessons on disease management can be learned from around the world as each nation brings its expertise and experience to bear on addressing this crisis,” the statement reads. “In some countries, testing and case-tracking have been extensive. In others, previous experiences with other highly contagious diseases such as Ebola and SARS have informed their pandemic preparedness and response … Collaboration with both well-established and emerging international scientific partners alike is critical.”

Michelson, senior associate dean for the natural sciences and the Luke Blossom Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Bienenstock, professor emeritus of photon science, proposed that the AAAS undertake a study of U.S. participation in large-scale scientific facilities several years ago.

“We perceived the future facilities in high energy physics and other fields would be too expensive and complex to be funded solely by, and located in, the U.S,” said Bienenstock.

The academy agreed and asked Bienenstock and Michelson to co-chair a broader project. “They saw that the scope of scientific challenges the world faces requires the participation of researchers across the globe and cooperation among them,” Michelson said.

The issues and challenges being examined by CISP range from shared scientific facilities to distributed networks of collaborators in a variety of disciplines. There are now two active working groups. The one Michelson and Bienenstock are a part of explores Large-Scale Science. The other one explores issues particular to U.S. scientific collaborations that are peer-to-peer with partners in other countries, particularly those with limited resources seeking to increase their scientific capacity.

Here, Michelson and Bienenstock discuss the current need for greater global scientific cooperation and the ways multi-national teams have and should continue to work together to fight COVID-19.

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View full story: Stanford University News



Challenges for International Scientific Partnerships

Arthur I. Bienenstock and Peter F. Michelson