The 4th Science & Technology Exchange Program (STEP) in Islamic Countries organized by Sultan Qaboos University, in association with Mustafa Science & Technology Foundation, Iran, commenced on 2 December at SQU under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Al Harrasi, Chairman of the Public Authority for Radio and Television. This four-day event focuses on the theme “Health, energy and Water: Current and Future Status”. The program sessions review current challenges, predict future and provide solutions in the vital sectors of health energy and water. The sessions will address critical gaps for developing technology in Islamic countries.
On the sidelines of the fourth Science & Technology Exchange Program, a session entitled “Exposure of Industries to Scientists’ Achievements” (EISA) will be held. EISA is a platform to provide an environment for players in the industries to meet companies and investors along with technologists and scientists who have breakthrough in products and services from their scientific activities. The first edition of EISA was held in 2017 in Tehran and the second round hosted by Sultan Qaboos University, will be focusing on “Health, Energy and Water”. The objective of EISA is to facilitate matchmaking process between industries and scientists, especially in Islamic countries, and to expand the related markets and increase in financial gains of related parties.
The three-day exhibition that accompanies STEP and EISA will demonstrate the companies on the theme of the event focusing on Oman. Interested parties will get a chance to meet and negotiate on their business over a table. The participants include influential bodies from the Industry to make the possibility to localize the developed technologies of other countries in Oman, such as companies, investors, etc. Success stories and latest achievements of Mustafa prize laureates will be shared during the Science and Technology Exchange Program. The Mustafa Prize is a top science and technology award granted to the top researchers and scientists of the Islamic World biennially. The Prize is awarded in four categories, namely “Life and Medical Science and Technology”, “Nanoscience and Nanotechnology”, “Information and Communication Science and Technology”, and “All areas of science and technology”. Prof. Jackie Ying, NanoBio Lab, Singapore; and Prof. Mohammad Amin Shokrollahi, EPFL, Switzerland who have been awarded Mustafa Prize, will share their success stories 4th Science & Technology Exchange Program.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al Mahrooqi, SQU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies & Research said that Muslim nations and scholars have a proud history of research and scientific advancement that stretches back centuries. “While the golden age of Muslim scholarship is often described as ending in the middle of the 13th century, it is only necessary to look around today to realize that research has received a new impetus across Muslim countries and societies the world over. Nations as geographically and socially diverse as Oman, Iran, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco, to name a few, continue to place a heavy emphasis on the value of research and innovation within their borders, regionally, and internationally. Each boasts strong research infrastructure, funding mechanisms, support policies, and educated populations that are actively engaged in driving research across academic fields forward. In recognizing both this proud tradition and current achievements in research across a wide range of disciplines, we are here today with the common purpose of enhancing the value of research across Muslim societies and among Muslim scholars”, she said.
Prof. Rassoul Dinarvand, Member of the Board of Directors of Mustafa Science & Technology Foundation (MSTF) said that the Foundation seeks to raise the status of scientists in the Islamic world through capacity building and creation of network among science and technology institutions for the benefit of human kind. Scientific accomplishments and influence can be better safeguarded by interactions among researchers. He said that the “Exposure of Industries to Scientists’ Achievements” (EISA) session, held on the sidelines of the event, strives to expand the scientist’s scope of activities while pursuing the goal of creating synergy between scientists and investors in the Islamic Countries for the welfare of human beings. EISA includes three main sections, which are Exhibition, Pitch Deck and B2B meetings. Around 25 knowledge-based enterprises from 12 countries have registered to participate in EISA.
Prof. Saeed Sarkar, Secretary-General of Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council gave the keynote on “Nanotechnology status in Islamic countries”. Prof. Sarkar observed that though the scholars in Islamic countries do outstanding research in nanotechnology, international collaboration between researchers is not up to the mark. “The percentage of collaboration between nanotechnology scientists worldwide is 65% whereas among Muslim researchers it is only 40%. The scientists should work together, share knowledge and resources for the benefit of the societies”, he said.
Dr. Salim Al Harthi, Associate Professor in Physics at SQU and Chair of the Organizing Committee of the 4th Science & Technology Exchange Program, said that the Program would primarily discuss applications of nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology in energy, water and health sectors. “Around 80 international participants from 20 countries and 220 local participants are attending the event. The event includes presentations, panel discussions and an exhibition of 40 companies. 12 PhD students will present research breakthroughs at the event”, he said.