28) ICRISAT signs MOU with US National Academy of Sciences (March 2004)

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for free sharing of electronic publications, especially for the Virtual Academy for the Semi-Arid Tropics (VASAT).

The NAS is a premier science academy of the world, with nearly 80 Nobel Laureates as members. It is a leading
e-publisher in the academic world and has placed over 3000 NAS reports online. These reports are known for their scientific excellence and for their considerable insight into contemporary scientific developments.

Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, signed the MOU at the NAS headquarters in Washington DC on 4 March. Prof Bruce Alberts signed the MOU on behalf of NAS.

According to Dr Dar, this agreement will link the scientific literature of NAS with VASAT's reach. The agreement permits ICRISAT to make use of the e-published reports of the Academy to generate information and instruction materials, without copyright restrictions, for the VASAT.

“This is a major asset in terms of knowledge and information sharing, and will strengthen the VASAT initiative,” Dr Dar added.

Prof Bruce Alberts, the current President of the NAS, is a highly respected biochemist who has been at Princeton and Harvard Universities.

In February 2004, Prof Alberts and the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan released Inventing a Better Future, which outlines a strategy for building worldwide capacities in science and technology, and enabling the use of advanced scientific information for achieving the goals of development. The MOU between ICRISAT and NAS is a step in the direction of meeting this international priority.

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