4th STEP under the aegis of MSTF organized in collaboration with Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat – Oman

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The 4th Science and Technology Exchange Program (STEP) in Islamic Countries under the aegis of Mustafa (PBUH) Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF)-Iran was organized in collaboration with the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) on December 2-5, 2018 at SQU in Muscat – Oman.

The program was based on the theme of “Health, Energy and Water: Current and Future Status”. The forum aimed to review current challenges, predict future and find solutions in the vital sectors of health energy and water. The sessions addressed critical gaps for developing technology in Islamic countries.

The STEP Symposium which is held annually in one of the Islamic Countries offers a wide range of joint cooperative research opportunities and creates a platform for in-depth discussions and exchanges of strategic experience to OIC’s countries in the field of Science and Technology. Under MSTF, the Mustafa Prize is a top science and technology award granted to the top researchers and scientists of the Islamic World biennially. The Prize is awarded in four categories, namely “Life and Medical Science and Technology”, “Nanoscience and Nanotechnology”, “Information and Communication Science and Technology”, and “All areas of science and technology”.

The forum was opened by Dr. Salim Al Harthi, Professor in Physics at SQU and Chair of the Organizing Committee of the 4th Science & Technology Exchange Program whereas Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al Mahrooqi, SQU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies & Research delivered the welcoming speech and said Muslim nations and scholars have a proud history of research and scientific advancement that stretches back centuries. “While the golden age of Muslim scholarship is often described as ending in the middle of the 13th century, it is only necessary to look around today to realize that research has received a new impetus across Muslim countries and societies the world over. Nations as geographically and socially diverse as Oman, Iran, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco, to name a few, continue to place a heavy emphasis on the value of research and innovation within their borders, regionally, and internationally. Each boasts strong research infrastructure, funding mechanisms, support policies, and educated populations that are actively engaged in driving research across academic fields forward.

Prof. Rassoul Dinarvand, Member of the Board of Directors of Mustafa Science & Technology Foundation (MSTF) said that the Foundation seeks to raise the status of scientists in the Islamic world through capacity building and creation of network among science and technology institutions for the benefit of human kind. Prof. Saeed Sarkar, Secretary-General of Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council gave the keynote on “Nanotechnology status in Islamic countries”. Prof. Sarkar observed that though the scholars in Islamic countries do outstanding research in nanotechnology, international collaboration between researchers is not up to the mark. “The percentage of collaboration between nanotechnology scientists worldwide is 65% whereas among Muslim researchers it is only 40%. The scientists should work together, share knowledge and resources for the benefit of the societies”, he said.

Prof. Jackie Ying, NanoBio Lab, Singapore; and Prof. Mohammad Amin Shokrollahi, EPFL, Switzerland who have been awarded Mustafa Prize, shared their success stories in 4th Science & Technology Exchange Program.

President ECO Science Foundation Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro was invited as a renowned Muslim Scientist for Exposure of Industries to Scientists’ Achievement (EISA) and a participant in 4th STEP, whereby he displayed the technology developed by him and co-workers; on which he obtained a UN Industrial Patent on the “Storage of Entomopathogenic Nematodes- a biopesticide” developed by the authors. Dr. Soomro also participated in panel discussions and MSTF meeting on finalizing the Bylaws of and International Advisory Board of MSTF.

It is pertinent to mention that over 80 scientists from 20 countries as well as 200 academics, students and scholars from Oman gathered under one roof to participate in the 4th round of STEP. STEP was launched in 2015 by MSTF as part of its plans to enhance collaboration among scientists. The event is held on an annual basis, but upon the request of Pakistan’s University of Karachi, an extraordinary round of STEP is scheduled to be held in Pakistan from February 27th to March 2nd next year.

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