ECASTI held its second Scientific Council meeting on December 12, 2015, in which Council members reviewed the Center’s most important activities during the past year and discussed the work plan for 2016.
Held in Safir Hotel, the meeting began with a review of the past year’s main activities, including ECASTI’s role in the GESR Social Innovation Cluster and the most important reports issued by the Center as part of this EU-funded project. ECASTI’s executive team also highlighted the Center’s outreach activities, including exploratory meetings with local and international institutions such as GIZ and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to discuss potential cooperation in the areas of scientific research and innovation.
The meeting then moved to a discussion of ECASTI’s upcoming initiatives, including its program on the Public Understanding of Science, a concept that has its roots in attempts by the UK’s Royal Society of London to improve public knowledge of scientific topics in order to create greater appreciation for science. Another important initiative is the Center’s program on Science and Parliament, which aims to build the capacity of Egyptian parliamentarians to understand and debate topics related to science and technology and support the development of a stronger parliament able to effectively monitor, legislate, and inquire about public policy issues. This initiative also seeks to raise public awareness about the importance of the STI sector and its impact on Egypt’s economic development, poverty alleviation, and the achievement of social justice.
Finally, the meeting concluded with an announcement of a new achievement for ECASTI. Following at the heels of its lobbying success in passing a number of proposed amendments to the education and scientific research articles in the 2014 Constitution, ECASTI’s recommendations on the restructuring of the roles and responsibilities of the various actors in the STI ecosystem were included in Egypt’s new Scientific Research Strategy. These recommendations were based on an analysis and review of the STI systems of Finland, South Korea, and Jordan and proposed during a series of exercises with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research on the reform of the current Egyptian STI system.