Federal Research:

Information on International Science and Technology Agreements

RCED-99-108: Published: Apr 22, 1999. Publicly Released: May 26, 1999.

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Victor S. Rezendes
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the U.S. government's international science and technology (S&T) agreements that support and encourage international cooperation in research and development, focusing on the: (1) number of international S&T agreements active during fiscal year (FY) 1997; and (2) number of these agreements that resulted in research projects or other activities.

GAO noted that: (1) during FY 1997, the 7 agencies GAO reviewed participated in 575 international science and technology agreements with 57 countries, 8 international organizations, and 10 groups of organizations or countries; (2) 54 of the agreements were between the U.S. government and the government of another country; (3) the remaining 521 agreements were signed by representatives of an U.S. agency and representatives of an agency of a foreign government(s) or international organization; (4) more than 90 percent of the international science and technology agreements resulted in research projects or other research-related activities, such as consultations among scientists and exchanges of data and personnel; (5) the percentage of agency agreements that resulted in projects and other activities ranged, by agency, from 61 percent at the National Institutes of Health to 98 percent at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and (6) agencies' officials told GAO that changes in either country's science priorities or inability to fund projects after negotiating an agreement are frequently the reasons some agreements do not result in research projects.

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