A co-operative regional marine research programme carried out among countries with economies in transition is discussed. The region is the Black Sea and the co-operation involves the top marine institutions of the riparian states (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey). Institutions from other regions of the globe, notably from the U.S., also participate in this international effort. The project's purpose reflects a regionally binding socio-economic issue of significant global scientific interest: The improvement of the health of the Black Sea through ecosystem models, capacity building, and fostering an interactive scientific community. Difficulties encountered and the remedies developed are discussed.