The U.S. and UK have a long history of collaboration in science and technology, reflecting the two nations’ mutual recognition that research and development—along with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education—are essential elements of economic prosperity, enhanced health, environmental sustainability, and national security. Today President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron reaffirmed their shared commitment to strong collaboration in science, innovation, and higher education, highlighting recent joint efforts.
Predicting and Protecting Against Space Weather Events: The U.S. and UK continue to build a close partnership to understand atmospheric dynamics and monitor and model space-weather events. Following last year’s commitment to collaborate in this domain, the two countries held one workshop in 2011 and another is planned for 2012 to further integrate U.S. and UK expertise and develop relevant policies. The U.S. will continue to work with the UK in the development of a real-time UK operational space-weather service. These joint actions will lead to improved forecasting capabilities to mitigate damage to our electric power infrastructure and disruptions to GPS-enabled capabilities.
Bolstering Global Food Security: The U.S. National Science Foundation and the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council will collaborate on a nitrogen-fixation Ideas Lab. Research on nitrogen fixation and utilization in plants and microbes could lead to reductions in fertilizer run-off, a reduced agricultural carbon footprint, more nutritious food, and improved food supplies.
Measuring Subjective Wellbeing: The U.S. National Institute on Aging and the UK Economic and Social Research Council are jointly funding a National Research Council panel on metrics relating to the experience of wellbeing. The panel met in November 2011 and will meet in the U.S. and UK in 2012.
Promoting Better Access to Data in Health and Life Sciences: The U.S. and UK will launch two meetings in 2012 to bring together policy makers, entrepreneurs, clinicians, and life scientists to build global momentum for more effective application of open data principles to health data to improve clinical care and speed creation of intelligent health systems that empower patients and providers.
Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases
Understanding new and emerging diseases: In September 2011, more than $5.5M in joint U.S.-UK funding for research was announced to control the transmission of diseases in humans, animals and the environment. Initial projects will investigate: factors affecting the transmission of bacterial diseases in Tanzania; a viral disease in Colobus monkeys that may help explain the genesis of the AIDS epidemic; and host-specific viral mechanisms of infectiousness.
Engaging in a Higher Education Policy Dialogue: Members of this bilateral Dialogue met in the UK in October, with both nations working to establish a framework to provide more mobility and opportunity to U.S. and UK students, researchers, and faculty.
Better Informing Our Troops: Since 2006, an International Technology Alliance of industrial and academic organizations from the U.S. and UK, led by U.S. Army Research Laboratory and UK Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, have been jointly conducting collaborative research to enhance information-sharing and distributed, secure, and flexible decision-making to improve networked coalition operations. These technologies will be demonstrated during a joint U.S.-UK field trial in the UK in March 2012.
Better Protecting Our Troops: Building on 25 years of shared studies on armor technology, the U.S. and UK are developing a research program on the physics of novel armor materials with the objective of lighter and stronger protection systems for use on multiple warfighter platforms.
Applying Naval Research in Support of Technology Advances: The U.S. Office of Naval Research Global, which has had a London office since 1946, awarded 22 research grants in the UK for $3.2M in FY 2011, continuing a history of bilateral collaboration in basic research areas, including graphene and other advanced materials with potential applications in defense and other sectors; design of highly efficient third-generation solar cells; and use of data from bistatic radar trials to develop models that improve detection of small maritime targets.
Designing the Aircraft of Tomorrow: The U.S. and UK are collaborating on the development of advanced engine technologies for the Joint Strike Fighter and for future military aircraft. The co-developed technologies include lighter-weight materials and advanced engineering to provide lighter, safer, more powerful and repairable jet engines for military and civilian aircraft applications.
Reducing Reliance on Fossil Fuels: The USAF and RAF have developed a cooperative relationship to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and minimize aircraft engine emissions. The Air Forces are focusing on analysis and testing of alternative fuels and other ways of reducing the cost of energy in theatre.