In a lecture titled “The Legislative Obstacles to the Completion of the Innovation Cycle,” ECASTI President Dr. Alaa Eldin Adris spoke on Sunday, May 24about the legal and regulatory hindrances that Egypt must overcome to reap the benefits of innovation. The lecture was hosted by Al Ahram Science Clubs as part of their monthly lecture series aiming to foster a scientific culture within Egyptian society and shed light on the importance of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).
Dr. Adris explained that the innovation cycle is the process through which ideas—whether scientific, commercial, or even social—are transformed into final products that are beneficial to society and to the economy. This cycle consists of five main stages: exploration, research, development, experimentation, and commercialization. The absence of any of these stages prevents the successful completion of the full innovation cycle, which is of vital importance to Egypt’s social and economic development. In this day and age, and given Egypt’s growing population, Egypt must find a way to use the innovation cycle to create an added value to its natural resources, said Dr. Adris.
Dr. Adris also presented a model developed by UNESCO detailing the structural and legislative components of a functioning innovation system. According to this model, impact rests first and foremost on the presence of a clear vision, a supportive legislative environment, a robust organizational structure, and effective operational mechanisms.
The discussion then moved to explore the requisite legislative environment needed to provide a suitable ecosystem for innovation to thrive in Egypt. Dr. Adris pointed to a number of laws and regulations that need particular revision in order to become better suited to the needs of the innovation market. These include, for example, legislation on the creation and, in the case of failure, the safe dissolution of spin-off companies,and the activation of an effective intellectual property rights system. He also pointed to a number of non-legislative issues such as the need for a national plan and clear national priorities as well as the cultivation of qualified cadres of professionals capable of activating the various stages of the innovation cycle.
Commenting on Dr. Adris’ presentation, Dr. Tyseer Aboul Nasr, ECASTI board member and visiting professor at Nile University, added that there are a number of other laws and regulations that must also be revisited. According to Dr. Aboul Nasr, laws governing promotions at universities and research centers must be revised to tie promotions to the use of science to resolve real societal problems rather than simply publish papers. In addition, regulations governing intellectual property rights and patents must be revised to create more incentives for innovation and other laws governing import and export as well as bankruptcy must also be revisited, she said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ahmed El Alfy, founder and chairman of Sawari Ventures, noted that there is a need effective legislation that provides real protection for the rights of researchers and innovators in order to give them an incentive to register their patents in Egypt. Moreover, there is a need for more legislation to incentivize the creation of small ventures and spin-off companies. This, said El Alfy, is the real vehicle for job creation and economic and social development.