INTAS: Promoting East-West Cooperation in Research and Development

G. Wagenaar

INTAS Objective

East-West scientific and technological co-operation has been given increasing emphasis in recent years. INTAS was set up to meet the need for immediate action in this area. Its objective is to promote co-operation in research and technology among scientists from the new independent states (NIS) of the former Soviet Union and Western Europe.

INTAS aims to help highly qualified scientists from the NIS continue their activities in their own country. INTAS support for east-west collaborative actions enables these scientists to become part of the international scientific community. Collaboration is based on the principle of mutual benefit and will hopefully contribute to social and economic progress and consolidation of democracy in the new states.

Support for the new independent states is necessary to keep alive the scientific traditions developed by these countries, which are currently under threat due to the difficult situation. Co-operation in research and technology also brings important benefits to Western Europe, because many researchers in the East actually belong to the world-class scientific elite.

INTAS was founded as a non-profit international association under Belgian law in June 1993 by the European Union and its twelve Member States. It is open for participation from any country, national or international organisation. Any new Member must agree to contribute a significant amount to the budget and their inclusion should have the approval of all existing Members. In addition to the Founder Members, Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland have joined INTAS.

INTAS consists of three main bodies: The General Assembly is composed of representatives of the Members. It is responsible for the overall policy concerning the conduct and operation of INTAS activities. The Council of Scientists consists of scientists from all INTAS Member States and from the NIS. The Council deliberates on scientific matters, including recommendations on the screening of proposals and selection of awardees. The INTAS Secretariat, located in Brussels, is responsible for the general administration of the Association. It ensures that every decision conforms with the objectives and interests of INTAS. The Secretariat consists of a staff of nationally delegated experts in several scientific fields, a legal advisor and administrative personnel.

INTAS Projects for East-West co-operation At the present time INTAS mainly supports scientists and research teams working on joint research and networking projects. Each project or network associates a minimum of two participants from Western Europe and one from the NIS. In the future INTAS may consider supporting other measures such as fellowships or workshops but will always abstain from military research or from any political or commercial activities.

So far INTAS has selected over 1000 joint research and network projects with a total funding of 50 million ECU, the equivalent of 60 million US dollars. More than 2500 laboratories from the NIS are participating in co-operation with more than 3250 laboratories in INTAS Member States. In its 1994 Call, INTAS received 4700 proposals which were evaluated by experts from the Member States of INTAS and the NIS.

Scientific fields.

Currently INTAS covers all exact and natural sciences, economics as well as human and social sciences. A breakdown of projects selected in 1994:

Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics                        23%
Mathematics, Telecommunications, Information Technology	08%
Chemistry                                               09%
Life Sciences                                           20%
Earth Sciences, Environment, Energy                     16%
Engineering Sciences, Aeronautics, Space                15%
Economic, Social, Human Sciences                        09%

Computer networks.

INTAS supports large and small scale research projects for computer networks. Small scale projects are those requiring equipment, mainly computers, for use in research work and often for communication purposes. Larger scale projects supported by INTAS are those which are concerned with the design and/or the implementation of computer links or networks. The total budget for these two categories is estimated at between 1-2 million ECU. Some examples of projects are given below.

The project "Support for R & D networking in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus" is co-ordinated by DFN-Verein e.V. from Berlin. Participants are the Russian Institute for Public Networks (Moscow), the Institute of Information Recording Problems UAS (Kiev) and the Institute of Engineering Cybernetics BAS (Minsk). The duration of the project is 1< year and the INTAS contribution is 75,000 ECU.

The objective of the project is to assist the NIS with the development and expansion of its R & D computer networks, thus establishing links with European and worldwide networks. These links will help the NIS with integration into European and world-wide scientific co-operation and will contribute to their long term scientific and technological capacity. INTAS support is mainly required for initial installations and adaptation for the connection to European R & D networks as well as for supporting software. The project will also allow researchers in the countries concerned to benefit from existing services.

The project "Euromath network and services for the former Soviet Union - Phase I" is co-ordinated by the Euromath Centre at the University of Copenhagen. Participants from the NIS are the Steklov Mathematical Institute (Moscow), the Euler International Mathematical Institute (St. Petersburg), the Institute for Low Temperature Physics and Engineering UAS (Kharkov), the Institute for Mathematics and Mechanics Ural Division RAS (Ekaterinburg), the Krasnoyarsk State University, the Moscow State University, the Communication Research Laboratory of Mathematical Branch UAS (Donetsk) and the A. Razmadze Mathematical Institute GAS (Tbilisi). The duration of the project is 15 months and the INTAS contribution is 240,000 ECU. The EmNet/fSU project will establish a modern, internationally oriented research infrastructure based on computing and computer networking in the NIS. Initially this will be aimed at the mathematically oriented sciences and will cover the 15 month first phase of EmNet/fSU. This phase is technology oriented and will deal with the transfer of know-how, limited but central implementations of services within communication, document handling, provision of information, access to databases, directories and publishing. An expansion to cover some 70-120 partners in a second phase will be planned during the initial phase.

For further information:

G. Wagenaar
14 a, rue du Luxembourg
B-1040 Brussels

The NIS consists of Armenia, Azerbaidjan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Russia, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

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