Global Connections: Emerging Science Partners

Appendix B: Project Approach

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Challenges for International Scientific Partnerships

The CISP project developed a preliminary set of recommendations for scientific collaborations with ESPs and identified mechanisms that the United States could use to make these collaborations more effective and equitable. These mechanisms were subsequently workshopped with more than a hundred researchers from ESPs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa in a series of soundings, including conference sessions at the 15th Annual Meeting of African Science Academies (AMASA-15) in Accra, Ghana, in November 2019; a government-led funding-agencies workshop in London in January 2020; and a series of virtual conferences held in spring 2020. On page 55, we include a map that visualizes the locations of scientists with whom the CISP project engaged over the course of the ESP project work during AMASA-15 and in global regional soundings, workshops, and panel/conference sessions.

15th Annual Meeting of African Science Academies (AMASA-15)

In November 2019, a delegation of the ESP working group of the CISP project attended AMASA-15 in Accra, Ghana, run by NASAC and hosted by the Ghanaian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

AMASA first arose from annual meetings of ASADI, whose inaugural convening was in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2005.270

African scientists, science academy presidents and officers, and science policy experts representing national, regional, and global organizations from Africa and abroad attended AMASA-15, which included a series of scientific presentations, plenaries, and interactive workshops in addition to networking events. The CISP project held two sessions at AMASA-15 to discuss African perspectives on partnerships with the United States and the West in general and to seek feedback on project recommendations.271 These interactive sessions were the project’s first international sounding exercise and contributed significantly to the final version of the recommendations presented within this report and its discussion of key themes for engagement.


Global Regional Soundings

In spring 2020, the CISP project held a series of virtual workshops with scientists, policy-makers, and science administrators in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa to develop project recommendations and discuss mechanisms for strengthening partnerships between the United States and ESPs. These workshops were originally intended to be held in person, but the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible.

With borders closed, the project adjusted to a newly virtual world, reworking its agendas and structure to hold multiple convenings with regional representatives. The virtual context provided unforeseen opportunities for engagement, including greater flexibility in scheduling meetings and inviting participants, along with multiple modalities for receiving feedback (e.g., via email, online chat, and verbal discussion). The project soundings provided a wealth of examples of successful, ongoing scientific collaborations and tangible actions for strengthening U.S.-ESP partnerships.

The final recommendations included in this report were revised extensively based on feedback from scientists, administrators, and policy-makers from the United States and around the world.

In addition to providing feedback on the proposed mechanisms presented in this report, workshop participants also provided insight into the challenges they face within their countries and regions when partnering with the United States. Although scientists, disciplines, countries, and regions face their own unique challenges, recurrent themes arose throughout these discussions.

Over the course of developing the ESP recommendations and report content, the CISP project engaged with policy-makers and scientists from the countries indicated above in project soundings, meetings, conferences, panels, and informal discussions. Map image © by Free Vector Map. 

COVID-19 and International Scientific Collaboration

The CISP project was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required many regional workshops to be conducted virtually. The pandemic itself also became a project topic and has significantly shaped conversations about the future of scientific research and collaboration.

What should scientific research look like in a post–COVID-19 world? How can we use the tools and technology that have allowed scientists to stay connected during the pandemic to continue fostering connections and making scientific conferences, data, and networking more accessible? How can the scientific community leverage this opportunity to reinvent norms and rebuild its systems with diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice at the forefront? Scientists and policy-makers alike must continue to grapple with these questions even once the COVID-19 pandemic has receded.

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