Articles

Coordinated Planning for Science in Communist Europe

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Science  17 Feb 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3764, pp. 796-802
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3764.796

Abstract

The Council is not engaged in the supranational formulation of policy and planning on scientific research and technology, but has made considerable progress in coordinating research policies and plans on a limited number of scientific and technical problems of priority interest and of common concern to all members. The establishment of national science-planning institutions in CEMA countries and the adoption of a uniform approach to the formulation of national science policies and plans must be considered basic procedures for achieving international coordination of their efforts.

The creation of organizational units within CEMA to deal specifically with the coordination of science policies and plans represents a strengthening of the institutional framework that is necessary for coordination of an internationally cooperative effort in research and technology. Moreover, CEMA's 1-year plan for science and technology has probably been of considerable value as a pilot project for the formulation of the research plan for 1966-70. The delineation of a limited number of important scientific and technical problems of common interest to the members, and the allocation of research projects to a country having the highest capability to conduct them, hold considerable promise for financial savings and for improved utilization of the limited scientific manpower and research facilities of the CEMA countries. While all these measures are significant in CEMA's attempt to improve coordination of science policy and planning, only time will enable true assessment of their effectiveness. The Council's scheme for the specialization of labor in research and technology has met and will undoubtedly continue to meet, considerable opposition by various segments of the scientific communities because of deep-rooted and long-standing national prejudices, and reluctance of vested interests to give up research activities in which they are interested and to which their professional futures are tied. Moreover, opposition to CEMA-sponsored programs for specialization in research will continue to stem from the desire of some member countries further to reduce Russian influence in their domestic affairs.

While recognizing the financial savings that can accrue to them from division of labor in research within CEMA, the smaller countries cannot be unaware that there is probably a limit to which the Soviet Union, with its vast scientific and technological base, is willing to participate in the division of-labor scheme. As a world power, the Soviet Union can hardly become dependent upon other members of CEMA in any field. Nevertheless, by promoting the coordination of research plans and a division of labor among CEMA members, the Soviet Union stands to gain by having its scientific-research effort augmented in several fields by the efforts of other members.