Mahmoud Saif el-Deen, a student in the department of physics and chemistry at Ain Shams University’s College of Science, says he faces great difficulties when trying to do research. The college laboratories lack many of the basics needed to conduct physics research, such as computers, proper transformers, specialized motors, and basic chemicals. Scientific research in Egypt won’t improve until laboratories get more investment, scientists say.
“We do not even have good salt in our laboratories to conduct experiments,” el-Deen said.
El-Deen is one of thousands of students in Egypt’s 24 science faculties at public universities who are supposed to conduct research and practical experiments but find themselves unable to do so because college laboratories lack what they need.
The Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education is now trying to fix this issue with a new program called “Science Up.” The project will have a budget of 90 million Egyptian pounds ($5,000,000) and will seek to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of university research and development laboratories.
The project will be rolled out in several stages. The first stage will last three years and will focus on mathematics and physics.
A Boost for Research in Egypt
Moawad el-Kholy, a former president of Menoufia University and head of the Basic Sciences Commission in the Supreme Council of Universities, says the program represents a major boost for scientific research in Egypt. “Science colleges are among the most productive research colleges, despite their weaknesses,” he said. “The new project will certainly contribute to a qualitative shift in research and its results.”
Hani al-Husseini, professor of mathematics at Cairo University’s Faculty of Science, agrees with el-Kholy about the importance of the new project. “The initiative is an important, positive and a long-awaited step to support and develop university research,” he said.