Women’s research and innovation network launched

A network for Sudanese women researchers has been formed, to highlight the successes of women in science and to enhance their contribution to innovation and economic growth.

The Sudanese women’s network for research and innovation was launched during the second Arab Women in Science and Technology for Sustainable Development conference held in the country’s capital Khartoum from 5-7 May.

The conference was organised by the United Arab Emirates-based Arab Science and Technology Foundation in collaboration with Sudan’s Ministry of Science and Communication and Africa City of Technology.

The women’s network

The network aims to facilitate the access of promising young Sudanese women to higher education and training opportunities in science and technology, and to encourage and recognise their scientific achievements.

It will also promote national, regional and international cooperation among groups working in the area of gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment in science, technology and innovation.

Besides focusing on capacity building of Sudanese women scientists through training, workshops, fellowships, research and studies in the fields of science, technology and innovation, the network will create channels for communication and information sharing among Sudanese and Arab women scientists and their counterparts worldwide.

An infrastructure to facilitate communication between Arab women in science was developed at the conference.

Working groups of Arab women scientists based in universities and research centres were also formed to promote joint projects in several fields including communications, information and space technology, agriculture and food technology, environment, energy and water, life sciences and biotechnology, and basic sciences and engineering.

Experts’ responses

Nivien Abdelrahman Abosereh, professor of genetics and head of the microbial genetics department at Cairo's National Research Centre, told University World News that the network was a good step towards “empowering women and strengthening their effective participation and contribution in the higher education, science and technology sectors”.

"It could be considered as a tool for achieving gender equality and sustainable development because it could bring gender perspective into decision-making processes, development policies, programmes and projects."

Egyptian scientist Dr Farouk El-Baz, director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University in the United States, said the conference was particularly significant because women scientists in Sudan required added attention and encouragement.

"The large number of female scientists could positively contribute to the nation's development. Public announcements about and from the conference would accomplish part of the goal."

El-Baz, who was science advisor to the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, told University World News that networks of women scientists were new endeavours that should be locally and internationally supported.

“Their results should be better distributed both locally and regionally to underline the role of women in social development in addition to scientific advancement. Such networks throughout the Arab world should get together and learn from each other's experiences to strengthen each other,” said El-Baz.