A group of 44 PhD science students have met with the British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson ahead of their journey to study in the UK on a scholarship.
The students, among them 23 women, are the latest recipients of scholarships from the Newton-Mosharafa Fund - the largest bilateral science programme in Egypt with a £50 million GBP investment in science and innovation in Egypt.
Since the fund was established in 2014, it has supported 172 scientists from Egypt to carry out their PhDs in the UK. The fund is financed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The Newton-Mosharafa PhD scholarship programme is delivered by the British Council.
John Casson, British Ambassador to Egypt, said: “Since its establishment in 2014, the Newton Mosharafa partnership has focused on empowering Egyptian scientists and providing them with state-of-the-art research facilities to transfer their ideas into commercial projects that can benefit Egypt. Today, Newton Mosharafa is the largest bilateral science programme in Egypt with a £50m allocated to find the next Stephen Hawking, Ahmed Zweil and Isaac Newton with an equal joint funding from Egypt and the UK.”
Alex Lambert, Acting Director of the British Council in Egypt said: “We set a target last year of ensuring half of our scholars were women and this year we’re very pleased to have achieved it.
“This is not a case of changing our acceptance criteria. In the last year we have been actively encouraging women in science across Egypt to apply for this scholarship and all of our applicants thoroughly deserve this opportunity.
“These students will make friends and get to know people from around the world during their time in the UK. Our scholars say it’s a positive experience which changes them for life.”
All scholars and researchers selected are affiliated to a diverse number of universities and institutions from different governorates across Egypt including Cairo, Ain Shams, Sohag, Mansoura, Port Said, Delta, Suez and Upper Egypt.
Those awarded joint supervision PhD scholars will spend a year carrying out research at a British Higher Education institution as part of a PhD at an Egyptian university whilst General Mission PhD scholars will spend a full three year PhD with degree awarded by a British Higher Education institution.
The focus of the programme is to advance the capacity of the Egyptian science sector; increase the amount of quality scientific research and innovation being carried out in Egypt; and help mitigate the negative effects of the social and economic challenges faced by Egypt, through research and innovation.
The programme supports activities through specific priority themes, as decided by the Egyptian government. These include sustainable water management, renewable energy, sustainable food production, archaeology and cultural heritage, and affordable and inclusive healthcare. The Newton-Mosharafa Fund is a key part of building a sustainable, long term and mutual beneficial partnership between the British and Egyptian science and innovation sectors.
The scholarship is one element of the UK’s broader support for higher education in Egypt. This year alone 44 PhD scholarships have been awarded to carry out doctoral research in the UK.