Einstein–Grossman. NASA–ISRO. Tesla–Vivekananda. The Human Genome Project. Google–GSK. Hardy–Ramanujan. CERN’s ATLAS.
These are powerful examples of collaborations all around the world – both historic and ongoing – that have impacted science deeply. Einstein might not have arrived at his theory of relativity had he not consulted his classmate Grossman’s notes. Nikola Tesla and Swami Vivekandanda (a collaboration that seemed unlikely, given that both were from vastly different cultures, countries and backgrounds) came together to understand the relationship between energy and mass (or force and matter). Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian mathematician, wrote to British professors with his theorems and impressed G. H. Hardy of Cambridge so much that Hardy arranged for Ramanujan to be sent to Cambridge University and went on to become his mentor.
The Human Genome Project was the world’s largest collaborative biological project, involving over 20 universities in United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, and China. CERN’s ATLAS experiment now ropes in “3000 scientific authors from about 180 institutions around the world, representing 38 countries from all the world’s populated continents. It is one of the largest collaborative efforts ever attempted in science.”Alphabet-owned Verily Life Sciences has recently tied up with GlaxoSmith-Kline to create bioelectronic medicines.
Given the current unstable political situation in the world, it is important, now more than ever, for science and research to expand in spite of restrictions. What with Trump’s travel ban and Brexit, countries are shutting down their borders, limiting movement and opportunities for scientists and businesses to work together. Even though the UK government is spending “more than £50 million to attract research talent from outside the EU”, it may not be enough to cover the shortage of 40,000 STEM workers every year.
As a platform that believes in democratizing access to science and research, we urge academia and businesses to break geographical and financial barriers to facilitate innovation. We believe that international, cross-border collaborations are key for individuals, researchers, universities and industries to be able to come together to solve some of the biggest global challenges in STEM.
As part of our #STEMwithoutborders initiative, which encourages global online/remote collaborations, we invite you to tell us about your ongoing collaborative projects, and we’ll feature them on our blog! We aim to document cross-border research projects, remote startup success stories, academia-industry partnerships, and other collaboration stories that will benefit not only the STEM community but also the world at large.
Write to us or tweet using the #STEMwithoutborders hashtag. It’s time for the STEM family to come together!