As the process of political decentralization accelerates in the Soviet Union, it is being matched by the decentralization of the country's massive science bureaucracy. The Ukrainian Scientific Association, founded in Kiev in June, is among the latest independent scientific organizations springing up throughout the USSR that are seeking direct contacts with foreign institutions.

These organizations hope scientists from the United States will help them take quick advantage of perestroika and glasnost. They are appealing for joint projects, faculty and student exchanges, and improved communications.

The Ukraine, the second most populous republic in the Soviet Union with 52 million people, already has a scientific agency, the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, that controls virtually all government funding for science and is modeled on the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

But according to Alexander Demchenko, a biochemist who is a member of the new organization's executive board, the Ukrainian Academy is too...

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