Letter from the Editor

bridges vol. 23, October 2009 / Letter from the Editor

By Caroline Adenberger

Dear Reader,

For the sixth time, the Austrian Science Talk took place in North America, this year in New Orleans. More than a hundred Austrian scholars and scientists gathered on October 3 to meet with an Austrian delegation consisting of policy makers from the Ministry of Innovation, Transport and Technology, and from the Ministry of Science and Research; experts from various Austrian research promotion agencies; and fellow scientists who had gained experience abroad but returned to Austria, where they now have successful careers in research and research management.

This diverse mix of people was further enriched by the new Austrian Ambassador to the United States, Christian Prosl – who not only delivered the official welcome remarks but stayed and mingled with the Austrian scientists for the entire length of the event – and by Günter Bischofberger, an Austrian who crossed the big pond more than two decades ago to make his professional mark in the US. Bischofberger is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the biomedical industry with his company “Gilead,” best known as the producer of Tamiflu. The motto of the Science Talk this year was “Under Crisis Conditions – Using Research and Technology as a Means to Step Out of the Crisis.” To read the full event report, click here. The same week that the Austrian Science Talk took place in the US, another exciting event happened: On October 1, BILAT-USA finally came into being.

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick – all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest}
The official launch will take place in Brussels on October 22, 2009, at the Austrian Representation to the European Union. Coordinated by FFG, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and its Division of European and International Programs, BILAT-USA brings together five project partners: FFG in the role of project coordinator; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea from Italy; the Hungarian Science and Technology Foundation; and INTRASOFT International S.A.

This newest member of the BILAT family will be complementary to the Link2US Project, which is coordinated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and aims to support EU access to national research and/or innovation programs of the US. Sabine Herlitschka, project coordinator of BILAT-USA at FFG, explains in her article how those two projects aim to strengthen research capacity on both sides of the Atlantic.

Examples of what successful transatlantic cooperation can look like are presented by Hans Kordik, Counselor for the Environment and Agriculture at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC, and Astrid Fellner, hailing from Stanford University and (since October 1) chair of North American literatures and cultures at Saarland University in Germany. Kordik gives a comprehensive overview of how Austria has cherished the concept of sustainable development for more than two centuries, and is now in a great position to help the US satisfy its growing demand for sustainable solutions for green energy production; and Fellner’s account of cooperation between the University of Vienna, Austria, and Bradley University in the US, shows how true academic exchange can establish lasting cooperation between students and faculty, to the benefit of both nations.

Two guest contributors from the US agreed to share their expertise on the US innovation system and science policy making: A feature article by Steve Ezell from ITIF analyzes why the US is lagging behind in its innovation policies compared to other countries, while David Goldston’s article presents the findings and recommendations of a report issued by the Bipartisan Policy Center last summer on the issue of science in regulatory policy.

In every issue of bridges, Roger Pielke Jr. critically addresses a hot policy issue: As we approach the Copenhagen Summit in December, his column considers the weaknesses of the current climate negotiations. Norm Neureiter shares his extensive “travel diary ” from a recent trip to North Korea, where he attended the opening ceremony of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

And last but not least, it is my great pleasure to announce a new cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science  which is now bridges’ exclusive partner for Bills in Brief , in which we provide you with the latest legislative news from the Hill.

With introductions of three Austrian scientists working in North America, news from the various ASciNA chapters in the US and Canada, and of course the latest moves & milestones of Austrian researchers and scholars in North America, I hope you will find something that interests you in this Fall 2009 issue of bridges.

I wish you a pleasant and rewarding reading experience.

With best regards,

Caroline Adenberger
Editor {/access}