• Plenary (Networking) Session in South Africa, February 15, 2012
The CSIR South Africa hosted the plenary session of WAITRO at the CSIR Knowledge Commons on 15 February 2012.
“It is important for the CSIR to engage with global leaders from both the developed and developing world. These strategic networks enable us to share good practices and learning, and also to identify opportunity for global and regional collaborations,” says CSIR Strategic Alliances Manager Berenice Lue Marais. The WAITRO delegation was led by WAITRO Secretary-General (SIRIM Malaysia), Dr. Rohani Hashim; WAITRO First Vice President (and CEO of (CARIRI) in Trinidad and Tabago), Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah; and WAITRO Second Vice President (and Uganda Industrial Research Institute Executive Director), Dr. Charles Kwesiga.
The WAITRO delegation included:
• Dr. Eckart Bierdümpel: Head of Multinational Networking. Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany;
• Ms. Berenice Lue Marais: WAITRO Regional Focal Point, CSIR South Africa;
• Prof. Josephine Tabiri: CEO, Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute, Ghana;
• Babatunde Aluko: Director, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigeria;
• Dr. Tord Svedberg: CEO, Environment Research Institute, Sweden; and
• Moses Mengu: Chief FP7 Consultant, Danish Technological Institute.
The purpose of the plenary session was to share ideas and best practices on how to demonstrate impact of R&D efforts.
Mengu elaborated that the Danish organizations did not receive any direct support from the government. In Danish organizations, impact was measured by an external panel that looks at the entire innovation system and makes recommendation for improvement.
Bierdümpel said that the fact that industry is willing to give them contracts is evidence that they are having some impact. He also highlighted that 30% of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft funding comes from the German government and the biggest chunk is from industry.
The plenary session was also attended by CSIR heads of departments and researchers, as well as representatives from the Department of Science and Technology, including Chief Director: Multilateral and Africa Cooperation, Mmampei Mabusela. Delegates expressed concern for the lack of available funding to assist in implementing collaborative projects, particularly for African initiatives.
Hashim stressed that WAITRO is not a funding agency but only facilitated a platform for networking in order to pair certain needs and capacities together. “The organization also has a number of fellowship programmes and seminar workshops for young scientists who have not had the opportunity to study and work outside of their country.”
The next step following this interaction will be a WAITRO Africa RFP and Sub RFP Workshop to discuss the Africa Region priorities, as discussed at the meeting. This Workshop is being scheduled to take place at the CSIR Pretoria Campus during the week of 15 May 2012.
• Membership Campaigns: Promoting WAITRO Value Proposition and New Initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region
WAITRO held successful missions to Egypt, Jordan and Morocco from May 13–21, 2012 to promote the WAITRO value proposition and new project initiatives.
In addition, the mission identified suitable candidates for MENA Regional Focal Point (RFP) and Board Member to represent MENA. Another objective of the mission is to understand the core competencies of WAITRO members in MENA to map Project Consortium in providing integrated solutions for bidding of multinational projects.
Central Metallurgical Research and Development Institute (CMRDI)
In Cairo, WAITRO delegation experienced warm hospitality extended by the President of CMRDI, Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim. The WAITRO Secretariat also had the chance to meet the former President of WAITRO, Prof. A. A. Abdul Azim and two former Board Members of WAITRO,
Prof. Adel Nofal and Prof. Mahmoud Nasr. CMRDI proved that its vast international linkages and partnership has helped it transform into a well-known institution that is important to the industry. Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Ahmed and Prof. Adel Ismail also gave an excellent insight on CMRDI’s commitment to be WAITRO Regional Focal Point for MENA.
CMRDI is very special as most staff of the Organisation are familiar with WAITRO. It is also an important institution in Egypt to move the Egyptian industry forward. Possible programmes to be developed in MENA were also discussed between CMRDI and the WAITRO Secretariat during the fruitful meeting and visit on April 15, 2012.
Agriculture Research Centre (ARC)
The President of Agriculture Research Centre Egypt, Prof. Dr. Salah Mohamed Abdel-Momen explained to the WAITRO delegation that over the past two decades in Egypt, numerous achievements have been realised including the development of new varieties, improved agronomic practices, livestock development, maintenance of the national herds and better food processing techniques anchored by ARC.
New crops and animal breeds have also been introduced and research has been dedicated to problem-solving, side by side with basic science. The overarching goal is to maximise the economic return per unit of land and water. ARC which has almost 40 research institutes under its arm is a new WAITRO member and looks forward to participating in WAITRO-initiated project biddings especially in the area of food and water. Prof. Amal Saber Mohamed, Deputy Director for Research of the Cotton Research Institute, ARC, who introduced WAITRO to ARC, has been appointed as WAITRO Contact Point for ARC, Egypt.
National Research Council (NRC)
During the meeting at the National Research Council (NRC), Egypt on April 17, 2012 Prof. Dr. Ekram Faten, WAITRO Contact Point for NRC informed that NRC is keen to play an active role. In addition, NRC is also interested to participate in WAITRO-initiated project bidding in the area of energy and environment. NRC is a large multidisciplinary R&D centre in Egypt devoted to basic and applied research.
Royal Scientific Society (RSS)
Many programmes and initiatives for the MENA region were discussed and planned during the meeting between the WAITRO Secretariat and the Royal Scientific Society (RSS), Jordan on April 19, 2012. RSS is located in Amman on a nice landscape near the University of Jordan. RSS is the largest applied research institution, and consultancy and technical support service provider in Jordan.
Prof. Odeh R. Al-Jayyousi, Vice President for Scientific and Research informed that RSS is willing to play an active role to coordinate and implement capability building programmes with WAITRO in order to strengthen the Research and Technology Organisations among WAITRO’s members in the MENA Region. Prof. Odeh also stressed that based on its expertise RSS will fit nicely in WAITRO core groups for water and environment in the incoming WAITRO project biddings.
Mdm. Abeer Arafat, the newly appointed WAITRO Contact for RSS highlighted that RSS is looking forward to new initiatives and linkages with WAITRO members in MENA as well as other regions.
Institute of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Hassan II University (IAV)
WAITRO Secretariat highlighted on the important role that the Institute of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Hassan II University (IAV), Morocco can undertake as a WAITRO member to enhance scientific and technology innovation in the MENA region during a meeting at IAV Hassan II on April 23, 2012.
Prof. Mohamed Ettarid, Deputy Director for Scientific Research and Doctoral Studies, Mdm. Sanaa Zebakh Deputy Director of Cooperation, Partnership and Development and Prof. Bartalli, WAITRO Project Partner in EU FP7 Project on Biowaste attended the meeting, representing IAV Hassan II.
WAITRO explained about the four core groups for project biddings that WAITRO has formed which are for energy, environment, water and food. IAV Hassan II has expressed their keen interest to participate in WAITRO water and food-related projects in which IAV Hassan II has a lot of expertise to share.
The importance of continuity in relation to WAITRO and dissemination of information shared by WAITRO with all related scientists and personnel were also stressed during the meeting.
The Khwarizmi International Award (KIA) is held annually to introduce and honour achievements of researchers and academicians. The event was established by Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology in 1987 and it was named after Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi, the renowned Iranian mathematician, astronomer and geographer during the 8th century. The KIA was held for the 25th time on February 5, 2012 in Tehran at the IRIB International Conference Hall and it was graced by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The KIA is supported by various renowned international organizations, one of which is WAITRO. Other international organizations that support the KIA are UNESCO, ISESCO, WIPO, IFIA, OIC, COMSTECH, COMSATS and TWAS. Once again WAITRO has sponsored a trophy, certificate and cash for the 25th KIA.
There were fifteen scientific committee fields covering almost all scientific areas including basic sciences, medical sciences, art and architecture, information technology, aerospace and mechanical engineering.
Local and international researchers, innovators, inventors and scholars from 45 countries participated in the biggest scientific event in Iran.
31 laureates were selected and given awards for the 25th Khwarizmi. Foreign laureates spoke about their fields of research and some of the scientific projects were put on display on the sidelines of the event. 1357 scientific projects were delivered by the festival's secretariat and of these 153 projects were conducted by researchers from 43 foreign countries.
Prof. Moh'd Ahmad Al-Nimr, a scientist from the Royal Scientific Society, Jordan, a WAITRO Member, has received an award at the 25th KIA.