WASHINGTON—Despite applause from both sides, Soviet and U.S. scientists may be slow to take advantage of two new agreements for joint research. The agreements call on scientists to set up their own collaborations and to find their own funding. Many Soviet scientists are not used to doing this, officials from the National Science Foundation learned during a recent tour of Soviet institutes.

“They seem to have some reservations about how this kind of system would work and how it would be of benefit to scientific research in their field,” says Gershon Sher, senior program manager in NSF’s division of international programs.

The two agreements, signed May 6, give U.S. and Soviet scientists a chance to submit joint proposals to their respective funding agencies (The Scientist, June 12, 1989, page 2). One agreement, between NSF and the Soviet Academy of Sciences, covers eight disciplines, including mathematics and science policy....

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