US$250 million US-Egypt higher education initiative

Egypt and the United States have launched a US$250 million, three-year initiative to enhance university partnerships and provide nearly 2,000 scholarships and exchanges for high-achieving Egyptians to study at home and in America.

The students will learn skills that meet the needs of a 21st century economy in critical disciplines such as agribusiness, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Launched on 26 April, the partnership initiative will “help Egyptian universities improve their competitiveness in the global knowledge-based economy and will provide the Ministry of Higher Education and the Supreme Council of Universities with technical assistance to develop a plan for critical higher education reforms,” said a US embassy press release.

Under the US-Egypt Higher Education Initiative, the US will provide up to 1,900 scholarships and exchanges to Egyptians in five scholarship components and in strategic fields that it is hoped will contribute to Egypt’s economic prosperity. The scholarship components are as follows:
  • • 100 masters in business administration scholarships for women to study in America.
  • • 60 science, technology, engineering and mathematics undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving, low-income young women to study in the US.
  • • 550 local scholarships to a number of Egyptian universities.
  • • At least 50 Fulbright graduate scholarships to study in the US.
  • • More than 1,000 exchanges and other study abroad opportunities for Egyptian students and professionals.
The US will also support up to 20 higher education partnerships to strengthen research and exchanges between Egyptian and US universities, which will enhance the exchange of knowledge, opportunities for joint research and shared degree programmes.

Other international and national initiatives

In March, the year 2015 was also designated as a year of UK-Egypt higher education cooperation. British and Egyptian universities and research centres will work together to find joint solutions to challenges facing Egypt and to build rich, two-way partnerships aimed at transferring knowledge, technology and higher education best practices.

At the national level, Egypt launched a nanotechnology initiative in February to develop educational programmes and promote research and innovation in the discipline in universities and research centres, in an effort to consolidate its regional leadership in nanotechnology.

The initiative focuses on academic excellence, innovative research and capacity building in all areas of nanotechnology through the development of laboratories at public universities, providing universities with basic needs for developing research capacity and postgraduate training. It includes capacity building among academics in the area of nanotechnology, along with the development of technical and practical experiences through research and training workshops.

According to statistics published on the StatNano website, Egypt was ranked 26th in the top 50 countries worldwide in 2014 in publication production in nanoscience.

Hassan Moawad Abdel Al, former president of the City of Scientific Research and Technology Applications in Alexandria, Egypt, told University World News that the initiative was important to enable universities in Egypt to carry out their main mission of developing human resources and promoting research in emerging technologies for the needs of the economy.