Twenty Year Science and Technology Agreement between United States and Egypt Renewed

Reaffirming the importance of close bilateral cooperation in joint science and technology research, U.S. Ambassador Stephen Beecroft and Assistant Foreign Minister Farid Mounib signed today a five year extension to the 1995 U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Agreement which was about to expire this week after twenty years of successful implementation.

The U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Agreement has been instrumental to Egypt’s economy and its growth as a knowledge society and has directly led to advances in health, agricultural practices, and archeological understanding.

Speaking at the signing ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Beecroft noted: “Through the S&T Fund, Egyptian and American researchers have been able to work together to address global scientific problems and come up with real world solutions. These people-to-people activities strengthen our bilateral relationship. This fund has enabled over 10,000 Egyptian and U.S. scientists to work on more than 480 collaborative research projects and to participate in over 60 workshops. It has provided grants to over 120 junior scientists to conduct research at U.S. and Egyptian institutions. Our renewal of this agreement today builds on the U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue held in Cairo August 2.”

Examples of scientific cooperation through this program include:

1) Former S&T Fund Grantee Wins National Medal of Science: Dr. Mostafa El-Sayed received the highest U.S. honor in science, the National Medal of Science, in 2008 for his work in nanomaterials. He discovered how the shape of nanoparticles influences catalytic activity. The U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Fund supported Dr. El-Sayed and Dr. Mohammad Fouda of the National Research Center, Cairo, Egypt, in early nanomaterials research on Dithizonate Complexes.

2) Whale Valley Findings, Wadi Hitan (Fayoum, Egypt): The U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Fund supported Dr. Phillip Gingerich, Director, Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan and Dr. Moustafa Fouda of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Cairo, to ship an 18 meter whale skeleton to the University of Michigan for care, casting, and study before returning it to Egypt. Their research also identified older geological strata in Whale Valley and uncovered newer strata for fossils in less-explored regions of the valley.

3) Teaching Materials for Undergraduate Success in Agricultural Sector: Dr. Daniel F. Warnock, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign worked with Cairo University Faculty of Agriculture and faculty at several other Egyptian universities to develop three Arabic DVDs (with English subtitles) highlighting modern production practices of greenhouse peppers, field tomatoes, and basic tissue culture techniques. The DVDs supplemented case studies and provided “virtual field trips” to experience modern production facilities.

4) Egyptian Patent Pending on Advanced Ceramic from Waste: In 2008, scientists from the National Research Center, Cairo and University of Connecticut made further progress in converting manufacturing waste silica fumes into an advanced ceramic material for industrial use. They filed an Egyptian patent application in 2007 for this invention.

5) Protecting Citizens from the Dangers of Lead: Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and Cairo University are improving the lives of residents near a lead smelter plant in Cairo. The joint U.S.-Egyptian team developed occupational lead-safety training courses, and taught local investigators to use portable X-ray analyzers to detect lead levels in homes. The team also analyzed new paint and discovered high lead levels; their findings were presented at a workshop and will be jointly published.

The S&T Fund is operated by a Joint Board consisting of six U.S. and six Egyptian governmental representatives, and headed by the Egyptian Minister of Scientific Research and the U.S. State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental & Scientific Affairs.

In 2015, the Joint Board will explore new areas of cooperation to expand the relationship beyond basic scientific research. The two countries will focus on “innovation” and will support activities that focus on the translation of basic research into commercial activity, such as mentoring young scientists to develop their business skills, and training Egyptian start-up stage technology entrepreneurs at U.S. accelerators so that they can learn the skills necessary to develop and expand their businesses.