The collapse of the Soviet Union had a profound effect on science and technology in the region. First and foremost was the opening of the scientific community to the rest of the world. Suddenly, institutions that for years had been closed to outside contact began to welcome outsiders as potential partners, customers, and investors. Years of accumulated scientific and technical know- how became open to outside scrutiny. Often, the forces driving research in the Soviet Union were very different from those in the West. In the West, commercial markets dictated the research strategy, whereas in the Soviet Union, the central planners set the strategy. As a result, the approaches to problems pursued by Soviet scientists were at times very different than those pursued by their western counterparts. The possibility of merging the technology base of the Soviet Union with that of the West provides for very interesting business opportunities.
The objective of this section is to familiarize the western businessman with the mechanics of consummating a technology-based transaction. The information presented here cannot be considered current or complete. In addition to information acquired on the WTEC trip, it includes many insights that the author gained while working with USP Holdings, a company whose corporate mission is technology transfer and partnering with the scientists of Ukraine, Russia, and the other former Soviet republics. The social, political, and economic climates in the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) are changing daily. Nevertheless, the general picture will provide an overview that will enable a westerner to embark on a technology transaction.