EU-EGYPT: EUR20 million fund for research and innovation

The European Union will offer EUR20 million (US$27.3 million) to Egypt to promote research and innovation initiatives as well as establish technology-based industries. This was announced by the Ambassador of the European Delegation in Egypt Marc Franco at the first Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Marketplace held in Heliopolis, Egypt, from 26-28 January.

The Mediterranean Innovation Marketplace is a communications platform and information hub for researchers, inventors and industry.

It informs regional research and business communities on current projects, allowing them to network, build closer ties between potential partners from different countries and strengthen cooperation between industry and research institutions.

The new funds are earmarked for the Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) initiave established under the European Commission-Egypt bilateral science and technology cooperation Agreement in 2007.

The RDI programme supports Egyptian scientists to access European scientific databases and their participation in European research groups, international scientific debates and forums.

Besides developing a 'patent culture' in technology parks and universities and setting up a doctoral-level plan in intellectual property law, the programme will also offer scholarships for Egyptian students to attend European universities, establish broader links between EU and Egyptian scientific institutions and improve contacts between academics.

The RDI initiative will also develop interaction mechanisms between research and industry, and will create regional 'technopoles' -- towns with teaching and research facilities that can support the development of hi-tech industries.

Egypt is to also increase collaboration with the EU in common energy strategies, nuclear safety, information technology, biotechnology, higher education, agriculture and fisheries, and environmental issues such cleaning up pollution in the Mediterranean.