The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) today launched two ambitious new programmes to support researchers from IsDB member countries.
The IsDB-TWAS initiatives represent a major joint commitment to advance scientific research in the IsDB member countries, and especially the bank's Least Developed Member Countries (LDMCs). The focus will be on areas of the sustainability sciences needed to support the achievement of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To achieve these objectives, IsDB has allocated a USD2.4 million technical assistance grant over four years, under which IsDB and TWAS are offering two programmes: One for research grants and one for postdoctoral fellowships.
The main goal is to help IsDB member countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and South America to develop scientific workforces that can support a sustainable future with shared benefits. The grant will also cover a science diplomacy workshop that is slated for later this year.
"IsDB is committed to building research and technological capacity which we believe is essential for human and economic development of its member countries," said Dr. Hayat Sindi, senior advisor to the president, IsDB for STI.
"Partnering with TWAS will significantly enhance the IsDB’s efforts in developing the scientific workforces in its member countries. Science, technology and innovation are continuously recognized as strategic drivers of economic growth and for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, so I am extremely confident that, under the joint programme, the IsDB and TWAS will be able to produce a diverse group of scientists and help to build future leaders in LDMCs to champion development in all industrial and productive sectors relevant to “sustainability sciences.”
"Our partnership with the Islamic Development Bank represents extraordinary potential to build scientific strength in the Global South," said TWAS Executive Director Romain Murenzi. "We have been active in the IsDB member countries for many years, but the new IsDB-TWAS programmes will improve our prospects for transformative impact in a number of important countries."
The 57 IsDB member countries represent nearly 1.8 billion people, almost a quarter of the world's population.
Among IsDB member countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria and others have active and productive scientific sectors. However, of 47 nations globally ranked by the UN as Least Developed Countries, 21 of them are IsDB members countries. Thus, the two new programmes mainly focus on those LDMCs.
IsDB-TWAS Grants for Research Collaboration in Sustainability Sciences will support pairs of research groups that are collaborating on solving a common problem. The two groups must come from different IsDB member countries, and at least one of them must be an LDMC.
The grants, a maximum of USD100,000 each, will enable the collaborating groups to purchase equipment, improve their research facilities and support travel between their institutions for training. One joint project will be approved each year. The deadline to apply is 12 September 2019.
IsDB-TWAS Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded to postdoctoral researchers from the 21 IsDB LDMCs. The programme provides three- to six-month postdoctoral fellowships at international centres of excellence in the developing world. Twenty-five fellowships will be awarded each year to researchers up to age 45. The application deadline is 12 September 2019.
These fellowships and grants programmes are focused on promoting expertise in the fields directly connected to the SDGs, including agriculture; education; climate change; energy; sustainable cities; responsible growth; waste management; population growth; green chemistry; biodiversity; plastic pollution and micro-plastics; and water and hygiene.
The Islamic Development Bank was founded in 1974 with the objective to foster economic development and social progress of member countries and Muslim communities in non-member countries, in accordance with the principles of Islamic Law. IsDB has made significant investments in the fields of science, technology and innovation, and in education as well as infrastructure and other development-related fields.
IsDB and TWAS have been developing these new initiatives since 2017.