Scientists Without Borders Unveils Web Portal to Drive Global Scientific Collaboration

New online initiative by the New York Academy of Sciences and partners will connect experts and organizations to improve lives in developing nations.

Published May 12, 2008

NEW YORK, NY — Scientists Without BordersSM, a new global initiative conceived by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) and the United Nations Millennium Project, today unveiled a Web site and database designed to match needs and resources among individuals and organizations working to improve quality of life in the developing world.

"Scientists Without Borders is a pioneering initiative that will link and mobilize institutions and people who apply science to improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries," said NYAS President Ellis Rubinstein, who chairs the Scientists Without Borders Advisory Council. "Whether exploring low-cost green energy technologies, improving strategies for sustainable agriculture, or developing tools to prevent and treat disease, science builds knowledge that advances global efforts to enhance health and prosperity."

Scientists Without Borders' first project is a Web site whose cornerstone is a simple yet powerful database that will link institutions and individuals across boundaries. Through a collection of structured and easily navigated profiles, the database provides registered users with a platform for addressing gaps and sharing knowledge, resources, needs, and expertise—allowing individuals and organizations to collaborate more effectively.

"Across the globe, groundbreaking science-based activities have the potential to transform the lives of people and communities," said Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to the United Nations on the Millennium Development Goals and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. "Scientists Without Borders will bring them together across organizations, disciplines, and distances to match needs with resources and benefit the world's poorest citizens."

To date, nearly 400 experts, 80 projects, and 150 organizations from across the globe have completed profiles. The database captures key data from scientific institutions, projects, and individual researchers, and gives other users access to this information. New members enter their details and those of their projects. An easy-to-use interface and comprehensive search tool allows individuals and organizations to quickly locate potential partners, match needs with resources, and discover who is doing what where.

"Scientists Without Borders offers tremendous new opportunities for international scientific collaboration—but to succeed, we need more individuals and organizations to sign up, submit profiles, and log on," said Rubinstein. "While Scientists Without Borders has received generous financial support from a range of companies and institutions, we call on international donors to help us maintain and expand our efforts."

The initiative offers a low-bandwidth version of the Web site and is developing mobile communication tools to give potential users access to the database even in areas with limited internet connectivity.

"Developing nations often suffer from lack of communication and insufficient technical resources, impeding effective scientific collaboration," said Dr. Mohamed H.A. Hassan, Executive Director of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World."By giving us a forum to share knowledge, needs, and resources, Scientists Without Borders will give us the power to collaborate more effectively."

Scientists Without Borders is supported by a seed grant from Merck & Co., and by support from organizations such as Bausch & Lomb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lundbeck Research USA, Novo Nordisk, and Pfizer. Additional supporters include Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis' Foundation for Sustainable Development, Schering Plough, and Vestergaard Frandsen. Partners include the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World; the African Centre for Technology Studies; the American Society for Cell Biology; Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative; Duke University Health System; the Earth Institute; the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa; Health Sciences Online; INDEPTH Network; Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa; the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative; the International Foundation for Science; the Nigeria Higher Education Foundation; the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research; the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations; the Pasteur Institute; the Sabin Vaccine Institute; SciDevNet; the Science Initiative Group; Seeding Labs; the Universities Allied for Essential Medicines; and the University of Ghana.

About Scientists Without Borders

Scientists Without Borders is a new initiative to link and mobilize institutions and individuals who use science to improve quality of life in developing countries.Conceived by the New York Academy of Sciences and the United Nations Millennium Project, Scientists Without Borders' first project is a simple yet powerful Web site and database that will give users the power to join forces across organizations, disciplines, and distances to match needs with resources and benefit the world's poorest citizens.

For more information, visit the Scientists Without Borders web site.

About the New York Academy of Sciences

Founded in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) is an independent, nonprofit organization committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 25,000 members in 140 countries, NYAS is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. NYAS' core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. To learn more, visit the NYAS web site.

Contact: Bill Silberg, 212-298-8646, bsilberg@nyas.org