In the aftermath of the Sichuan Earthquake that occurred in China this past year and its high number of casualties, which included many children, the United States and China have signed a protocol for cooperation on earthquake and volcano sciences. This protocol was signed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S., and the Chinese Earthquake Administration (CEA) and the National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC) of the Peoples' Republic of China. USGS, NSF, CEA and NSFC have a long history of working together, and this new protocol expanded the cooperation to include NIST. Patrick Gallagher, NIST Deputy Director, signed the agreement for NIST on Oct. 16 in front of the vice-administrator of CEA, Yin Chaomin and the rest of the CEA delegation. The delegation toured NIST laboratories that day.
Activities and programs under the protocol will be jointly coordinated by USGS, the Engineering and Geosciences Directorates of NSF, and the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at NIST, which is the lead U.S. government agency for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), and for the Chinese Party by the Department of International Cooperation of the CEA, and the Department of Engineering and Material Science of NSFC.
The signing took place during the week of the U.S.-China Science & Technology (S&T) Joint Commission Meeting led by John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-China S&T Agreement on cooperation in science and technology.