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EU strengthens R&D ties with Egypt

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The RDI programme, which has already been injected with EUR 11 million in EU support, launched the event under the patronage of Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the Daily News Egypt reported. The event also hosted the Euro-Mediterranean Innovation and Research Forum as well as the Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Exhibition.

'Innovation is key to recovery and to building [a] more sustainable economy and society after the crisis,' Mr Franco was quoted as telling members of the event, held between 26 and 28 January. The Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Marketplace is a communications platform and an information hub for researchers, inventors, academia and industry.

Said RDI coordinator Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry: 'With more than 200 exhibitors and 50 speakers representing diverse organisations from about 18 European and Mediterranean countries, the Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Marketplace offers a valuable platform for major science and innovation players to meet, network and further develop business ideas, projects and partnerships.'

For his part, Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Hany Mahfouz Helal said: 'The Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Marketplace complements the strategy of the ministry to foster the culture of innovation in Egypt and strengthen cooperation channels with European and Mediterranean counterparts from both research and business sectors.'

A professor of mineralogy from Cairo University, Dr Helal and his ministry oversee the management of the RDI programme and its funds.

However, despite the country's willingness to boost regional innovation, local innovators face a number of challenges in bringing their ideas to fruition.

'We have a patent, but it's local,' explained inventors Tarek El-Bagory and Mohamed El-Sayed. 'The guarantee for this patent is only in Egypt, not international, like in America.' The investors presented a new testing station for national gas pipelines at the event. Their biggest concern is not to disclose a great deal of information about their invention when it is presented in papers so as to ensure that no one pinches their idea.

Egyptian inventors also have to put up with a lack of management training. 'In our faculty we study about business engineering and management, but nothing specific for inventions,' they remarked. 'We need training in invention marketing.'

Professor Bahaa Shawky of the National Research Center in Egypt commented that the government should be more instrumental in searching for and supporting ideas. He invented a solution that facilitates that release of biomass energy from cellulose-rich plants, a process that fuels clean renewable energy development.

'We should start a pilot plant which needs only half a million Egyptian pounds. I am waiting for these funds,' Professor Shawky said. 'I am a scientist; that means that I am in my lab. All this [research] is on the Internet.'

Officials note that thanks to the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which has a EUR 53 billion budget over a period of 7 years, government in Egypt will have more opportunities to obtain money for research. For more information, please visit:

Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Marketplace

Source: Community R&D Information Service (CORDIS)

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