Researchers, in Egypt, face many challenges, especially at the beginning of their research career. The Newton-Mosharaf Fund aims to address this issue by empowering young male and female researchers, by providing all means of support to help them build their capacities and accomplish their research projects.
Valued at GBP 50 million, the Newton-Mosharafa Fund seeks to support scientific research in Egypt through building partnerships between Egyptian and UK research institutions. The fund provides the opportunity to build capacity and skills, strengthen research cooperation between the two countries, and transfer innovation, knowledge, and expertise.
Below are three success stories of Egyptian researchers in their early academic career who have been able to establish distinguished research projects that contribute to finding solutions to many of the problems facing the Egyptian society. In addition, they have contributed to the advancement of scientific research and innovation in various fields.
Reducing dental care costs
The healthcare sector in Egypt faces many challenges, including the high cost of dental care. This is detrimental to individuals and negatively affects the economy in the long run. Therefore, Maher Rashwan, a researcher and dentist at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, is seeking to reduce the cost of dental care through his research project in partnership with Queen Mary University of London.
Rashwan's project aims to reduce the cost of designing materials used in the making of dental prostheses needed in many therapeutic procedures. This is done through the development of strong ceramic materials of high quality to make dentures at a low cost and within a short time. He was already able to produce those materials during the initial trials of his project using fewer devices.
Rashwan explains that the support he has received from the Newton-Mosharafa Fund goes beyond just funding his research project: “I think the grant offers a lot of advantages to its recipients. It aims to nurture researchers who are able to present their projects and obtain international grants for their implementation. It also supports the establishment of useful research partnerships between Egyptian researchers and major academic institutions in the United Kingdom, which support the development of academic research generally in Egypt.”
Rashwan was able to publish two research papers on his project in one of the prestigious scientific journals in the field of dentistry and was able to present his project during one of the most important international dental conferences. In addition, Rashwan was able to secure additional funding from Queen Mary University of London, to help him apply his findings and take his research project a step further. This helped him to develop his research and academic career as an early-stage researcher.
“I am currently seeking to take laboratory research work to the implementation stage by building partnerships with some industrial institutions in order to apply the results of my research on the ground and serve the healthcare sector,” Rashwan says. He also confirms that the aim of implementing his innovation and achieving his goal is providing affordable dental healthcare services to patients.
Better care for people with trigeminal neuralgia
Providing outstanding health care for patients with trigeminal neuralgia is what Lydia Nabil, a researcher and clinical practitioner at Alexandria University in Egypt, seeks to achieve through her research project in partnership with King's College London in the United Kingdom.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a very severe pain that resembles an electric shock to the face. This makes a number of normal daily activities, such as eating, talking, brushing teeth, and touching the face, very painful and difficult to do. This negatively affects the quality of life of people with this disease.
The research project, funded by the Newton-Mosharafa Fund, aims to provide better care to those patients in Egypt and the UK by providing a guide that includes advanced diagnostic and therapeutic methods associated with the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.
“The research paper presented a comprehensive biological and psychological approach to the assessment and treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. This improves treatment outcomes for patients, develops physicians' capabilities, and reduces the burden on health systems,” Nabil explains.
In addition, the results of the research project concluded that this pain causes several psychological repercussions suffered by the patients, the most important of which are psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. This increases the suffering of patients and may affect the results of the treatment journey. Therefore, all this should be taken into consideration to provide better care for those patients.
The results of the research project did not just stop at this for Nabil. By working in the specialized clinics of King's College London and exchanging experiences with its distinguished medical staff, Nabil has been able to develop her clinical expertise, as far as diagnostic methods are concerned, and offer different treatment options that suit each patient's situation.
She has also published four research papers in major medical journals and attended a range of training programmes organised by her British academic partner. All of this contributed to the development of Nabil's research expertise and helped her implement her research project to the highest academic standards.
“I am grateful for the Newton-Mosharafa Fund Scholarship which has given me the opportunity to share experiences with the most distinguished professors of my medical field in the UK. I was also very pleased to put the name of my Egyptian university - Alexandria University - on research papers published in the best scientific journals. All of this has enhanced my research skills, and developed my academic performance,“ Nabil confirmed.
Augmented reality technology to enrich Egyptian tourism
“I want museum visitors to live in a world similar to what we all saw in 'Night at the Museum', to have an unforgettable experience!” This is what Rami Hammadi, a researcher at Helwan University in Egypt, seeks to implement in Egyptian museums, through a research project in cooperation with the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom.
The Eye of the Museum is a product of the Hammadi Research Project supported by the Newton-Mosharafa Fund, which aims to develop the visitor experience in open and closed museums and enhance their immersion in that experience. The idea of the project is to build a hologram system that allows visitors to museums to see historical figures, learn about Egyptian cultural heritage, and listen to the stories of Egyptian civilization and its historical events, by living in the world of those events.
Hammadi explains that this is done based on augmented reality techniques that allow the combination of the real environment in which the tourist is located, and the imaginary holograms at the same time. Museum’s visitors wearing VR glasses can enter a virtual world including holograms that visitors can interact with realistically, turning the visit into an interactive and memorable experience.
Through the project, Hammadi re-enacted the war world of the ancient Egyptian state, showcasing visual sculptures of soldiers and military vehicles to visitors, and offered them the opportunity to test the lives of archaeologists and explorers for one day in order to search for treasures inside the museum.
“I am also combining extended reality and artificial intelligence technologies to be used in museums to enrich the visitors' experience and increase their interaction during their visits, rather than relying on pre-recorded audio recordings,” Hammadi explains.
The aim of this research project is not only to develop scientific research in the field of cultural heritage but also to contribute to the development of various Egyptian museums. This will help attract more tourists from around the world, which is especially important for the economy and sustainable growth of Egypt.