International Collaborations: From Science Foundation Ireland to the World Economic Forum

NSF has always
supported basic research that unravels fascinating mysteries and improves our
understanding of the world. Integral to our success is collaboration and
the exchange of information across broad communities.

Last November, I
visited Ireland to discuss NSF’s very productive relationship with Science
Foundation Ireland (SFI), including the exciting collaboration between NSF
Engineering Research Centers and SFI Centres. The centers join the forces of
government, industry, and academia to speed the translation of basic research results to
market. We also renewed our
Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) agreement.


Foundation Ireland President and I signing renewal of 
Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW)
. Photo credit: 

Jason Clarke Photography

In mid-January, I again had the opportunity to speak at the
World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. On several different panels, I
spoke of how NSF’s investment in basic and collaborative research has
benefited our country and other parts of the world—transformative innovations
such as the MRI and discoveries generated by large-scale international
collaboration such as the detection of gravitational waves.


Photo credit: World Economic Forum / Valeriano Di Domenico

Complex global challenges call for collaborative global
expertise and creativity. What discoveries might investment and collaboration
with domestic and international partners lead to? Imagine, for example,

a future where we can
produce plants more efficiently, and therefore more food, with less energy. Past investment and collaboration have enabled us to see inside the
human body and out at the vast expanse of space. Future investment and
collaboration promise to make today’s vision tomorrow’s reality.