The following script is a joint statement concluded by delegates and scientists from 12 countries participated in STEP; Malaysian Chapter, which was read in the closing ceremony by Prof. Yaghi; laureate of the Mustafa Prize, 2015 in the closing ceremony.
In The Name of Allah
The Merciful and the Beneficent
Statement of STEP; Malaysian Chapter Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Development Forum
The Second Mustafa(pbuh) science and technology exchange program (STEP) in Islamic countries was organized jointly (19-23 Dec. 2016) by Mustafa(pbuh) Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) and the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) referred as Malaysian chapter: Nanoscience and nanotechnology development forum.
The forum was attended by 26 delegates representing 12 countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Turkey), many students both undergraduate and graduate researchers including faculty members. The program included panel, round table discussions, workshops, keynote speeches and invited talks focusing on the following topics:
a- Scientific and technological collaborations among Islamic countries.
b- Creation of environment for discovery and creativity at universities and research institutes.
c- Issues related to publishing high impact scientific articles.
d- Mustafa(pbuh) Prize laureates presented their scientific achievements and discussed their impact on society.
Based on extensive discussions during these sessions and presentations by delegates on the state of R&D in their respective institutions, the following observations and recommendations are offered in order to further enhance S&T collaborations between Islamic countries and beyond:
1- The creation of on-line hub to be an enabling platform for S&T collaborations and give access to best practices among Islamic countries.
2- The setup of a systematic approach to adapt successful programs and collaboration models from other countries to ultimately raise the profile and standards of S&T in Islamic countries. The LINDAU Nobel Laureate Meetings serve as good examples of such efforts.
3- To create an endowment whose purpose is to fund activities that go above and beyond the present level of competence such as supporting exceptional early career scholars, productive researchers, and new initiatives. We envision that this fund will seed high risk and high impact projects.
4- In order to maintain a high level of performance in research the cost of upkeep of critical and sophisticated instruments needs to be a line item in research budgets. It would be also helpful to have shared experts. Sharing infrastructure and rare technical knowledge should be encouraged.
5- Programs should be developed with the aim of taking advantage of the available scholarship opportunities in different Islamic countries.
6- The problem of uneven pay scale for academic scholars needs to be addressed through performance-based compensation. The stability of employment is also a critical issue for achieving innovation, discovery and creativity and therefore should be addressed.
7- The participants raised the importance of public awareness and knowledge promotion in Islamic countries with emphasis on the role of intellectuals for the advancement of the level of S&T and its necessity to be part of the fabric of society.
8- Establishment of S&T international advisory board for MSTF to pursue the above recommendations and related issues. The board may include the Mustafa(pbuh) Prize laureates
9- The attendees of the meeting deeply value and appreciate the excellent organization of the program and the warm hospitality of UPM officers and in particular the dedicated presence and leadership of the vice chancellor of UPM, Prof. Aini Ideris who was a constant participant throughout the meeting. We further add our thanks to the executive committee of UPM for the smooth running of the meeting. The attendance and input of students and faculty members of Malaysia based universities as well as the scientists from various countries at all the events of the meeting is highly appreciated.
10- We acknowledge the vision of MSTF for furthering the S&T agenda of the Islamic World and for awarding the Mustafa(pbuh) Prize to eminent scientists.
11- The success of this meeting encouraged us to setup the Third STEP meeting in another Islamic country to be determined.