The European Union has “changed its mind” and increased grants to Egypt researchers and research institutions, an Egyptian university professor says.
Rania Nabih El-Shaheny, an associate professor at Mansoura University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and a recipient of a European grant herself, told Al-Fanar Media the European side had made the decision after evaluating the work Egyptian scientific researchers have done on such grants.
Last year the European Union increased the value of its grants to Egypt’s higher education system and the country’s research institutions are looking forward to profiting from them again this year.
An official with the European Union Delegation to Egypt, in Cairo, told Al-Fanar Media that Europe had allocated 65 million euros (about $71.5 million) to Egypt’s university programmes and scientific research in 2022, about 14 million euros ($15.4 million) more than the previous year.
The European official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the grants had continuously increased since 2017, when the joint programmes were introduced.
Two years ago, El-Shaheny won a grant from the European Union for postdoctoral studies at Japan’s Nagasaki University. She said, “The European side has praised Egyptian researchers’ productivity in various scientific fields after evaluating their efforts on completion of their grant programmes.” She added that Egyptian researchers were hoping to see even more European grants this year.
More Active Pursuit of Grants
Rania El-Newashy, a professor in the textile division of Egypt’s National Research Centre, thinks the current generation of researchers in Egypt is more actively pursuing European grants. Ten years ago, she said, Egyptian researchers barely took up any of the European Union grants that were publicised by the National Research Centre.
“Today, once the grants are announced, you will find an immediate reaction from researchers wishing to benefit from them and profit from the experience,” she said.
The European grants cover a variety of scientific fields at Egypt’s academic and research institutions. El-Newashy’s institute has received many of these grants over the past year, she said. “Four of our researchers benefited directly from these grants at the master’s and doctoral level, especially in the fields of design and clothing manufacture.”
On future cooperation, El-Newashy said some projects were currently under way between Egypt’s Academy of Scientific Research and Technology and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), as well as partnerships in training and research in design and innovation.
Egypt’s Open Factory Project is another prominent E.U.-funded venture. Working under the umbrella of the Faculty of Computer and Artificial Intelligence at Cairo University, the Open Factory Project is being carried out by a number of Egyptian agencies, including the Industrial Modernisation Centre and the textile division of the National Research Centre, in collaboration with Italy’s Progetto Sud Foundation and Link Campus University, in Rome.
Mahmoud Sakr, president of Egypt’s Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, said that dozens of grants had been given to Egyptian research institutions and individual researchers over the past few years. He described this Egyptian-European partnership as “strategic.”
“This cooperation aims to enhance the use of distinguished experts to improve education quality,” Sakr said. “It will eventually improve Egypt’s higher education system and provide more job opportunities for graduates and researchers alike.”
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