ederal investment in research and development (R&D) has beencrucial to many of the nation’s achievements in basic sciences. Inrecent years, however, budgetary pressures have made it difficultto sustain ongoing government R&D efforts and to initiate newventures. These pressures and the growing international character of scientific research have focused greater attention on the potential con-tributions of international cooperation, particularly for large-scale, long-term science projects.The United States has several decades of experience with internation-al scientific collaborations. Numerous successful small-scale scientificcooperative efforts, largely through bilateral agreements, have been con-ducted. High-energy physics, fusion energy, and space are rich with ex-amples of this type of cooperation. However, U.S. experience in the jointconstruction and operation of large-scale experiments and facilities is farmore limited.This background paper, requested by the Chairman and Ranking Mi-nority Member of the House Committee on Science, reviews U.S. expe-rience with collaborative projects in many different fields and their im-plications for future activities. It assesses the factors that facilitateinternational partnerships in big science projects and those that, con-versely, favor the pursuit of purely national projects. The background pa-per also reviews and identifies several important issues to consider instructuring future collaborations. These include maintaining U.S. scien-tific expertise, setting research priorities, developing mechanisms to en-sure long-term project stability, and safeguarding economic and nationalsecurity interests.In the course of this study, OTA drew on the experience of many orga-nizations and individuals. In particular, we appreciate the invaluable as-sistance of the workshop participants, as well as the efforts of the proj-ect’s contractors. We would also like to acknowledge the help of themany reviewers who gave their time to ensure the accuracy and compre-hensiveness of this study. To all of them goes the gratitude of OTA andthe personal thanks of the staff.
ROGER C. HERDMAN