ALGERIA: Aim to strengthen scientific research

A national forum on scientific research will take place in Algeria in 2012, aimed at finding solutions to problems such as the lack of highly qualified researchers and managers in the sector. The government has said 1,200 research places will open for recruitment next year.

Hafidh Aourag, director-general of scientific research and technological development at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, told a researchers' union conference the debate next year would "take stock of the situation concerning scientific research in Algeria", reported La Tribune of Algiers.

Aourag said the problem largely lay in the "weakness of researchers and managers in research centres and divisions, 80% of whom do not possess a doctorate", reported the paper.

From 2012 this situation would be remedied by raising the criteria necessary to qualify, to at least a doctorate; and by developing "inhouse non-diploma-awarding" courses to prevent brain drain.

Aourag said an inquiry was already under way to find solutions to problems, the most urgent of which was to "concentrate efforts on technological development which remains the weak point of our system and the principal handicap", reported La Tribune.

He underlined that Algeria had only 480 researchers for every million inhabitants, compared with the world average of 1,080.

"Algeria, which boasts 20,000 very far from international standards, even if it occupies excellent positions in Africa in certain fields, including third place in physics and chemistry, second in material sciences and fourth in earth sciences, mathematics, ICT and engineering," he said.

The challenge for the country was human resources, which could "transform an idea into innovation", said Aourag.

He added that the "LMD system [based on Europe's Bologna process of three, five and eight years' higher education] and the creation of specialised grandes écoles have been programmed into this mindset of qualification and preparation of human resources for working in and managing the 100 research centres, which will be achieved between now and 2014".

The ministry has also announced that it will open 1,200 places for recruitment in scientific research in 2012, reported La Tribune.

The posts will be for postgraduate candidates specialised in research and engineering in such fields as computer science, mechanical and electronic engineering, material sciences, biotechnology, biology, agriculture, industrial engineering, avionics, physics and chemistry.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original report.