Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is the world’s second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations (UN). It was founded in 1969 and consists of 57 member countries, whose people are mostly the followers of Islamic religion. Many of the countries of OIC especially Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are investing a huge amount of money on research based tasks.
Many of the countries in the Islamic world are working to promote Science and Innovation, which can be shown by good investments in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, the development of world’s first sustainable cities in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey’s increased amount of investment in R&D, and this brings the hope of renewal of Islamic golden age.
Interestingly, in a report by UNESCO in 2007, it has been shown that 13 Islamic world countries produced a higher percentage of women graduates than the US. Bahrain reached up to 73%, Algeria 71% and Palestine 49% compared with 41% in the US. This clearly shows that Muslims care for women. Women make up 58% of the student population in Saudi Arabia. At Birzeit University in Palestine, in the 2009 academic intake, nearly 60% of the undergraduates and 55% of the graduate students were women.
Bangladesh pioneered the microfinance and Pakistan has played an important role in the improvements of slum townships. Bangladesh introduced a novel technique for the removal of arsenic from drinking water.
Saudi Arabia is the fifth biggest spender on education in the world. Saudi government is also working on to develop the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh.
KAUST in Saudi Arabia opened in September 2009 with a huge investment by the Royal family of Saudi Arabia. About US$20 billion has been invested to develop this scientifically advanced university. The aim of the institution is to compete with the California Institute of Technology for esteem within 20 years. The university has one of the top 10 computers in the world.
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah in Qatar is referred by Newsweek as the “icon of the tiny emirate’s modernization efforts”. Qatar is also working a lot in the sector of education. The country has invested nearly US$133 billion to develop a knowledge based economy. Qatar has developed an Education City, which is a 2,500 acre campus in Doha. It has Six US universities, one UK university and one French university branch campuses. Qatar Science and technology Park is also among the achievements of the country with Shell, Rolls Royce and Cisco among its tenants. Qatar is developing a planned complex in Msheireb Downtown Doha that will be the world’s largest LEED-Certified Community upon completion. (LEED refers to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.)
Sheikha Mozah in Qatar and Princess Sumaya in Jordan are working a lot in their respective countries for the development of education in people especially younger people. It has been estimated that in the Arab region, about 60% of the population is less than 25 years of age with a median age of 22 years as compared to the global average of 28.4 years. Jordan is also working on the development of Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) in partnership with Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. Iraq is also considering joining. SESAME is modeled on CERN in Europe.
Abu Dhabi has developed the world’s first fully sustainable city; Masdar that works on renewable energy and sustainable technologies. Many of the powerful companies, organization and institutions have partnered in the development of Masdar. Credit Suisse and Siemens are supporting US$250 million Masdar Clean Tech Fund.
Turkey prioritizes research in 1990s. The country spending on R&D increased about 566% between 1995 and 2007, and now it is spending more than Denmark, Finland and Norway. Within this time, the number of researchers in the country increased by 43%. Turkey became the eighth “most improved” country in terms of publication in the world in this time.
In Pakistan, 50 new universities established from 2002-2008. United Nations Commission on Science and Technology reported Pakistan as a “best practice example for developing countries”. It has been estimated that Pakistan’s 60% of the population has the median age of 20.8 years i.e. they are younger generation.
The new Library of Alexandria in Egypt is an example of the world class teaching and research based institution, independent of the university system. Al-Ahram, Egypt’s daily newspaper has more science journalists than many newspapers in the U.S. and Europe. Egypt is working on the project to develop 20%, i.e. 7,200 MW, of electricity from the renewable sources by 2020.
Iran has planned to increase the R&D investment to 4% of GDP and education to 7% of GDP by 2030. In Iran, there are ten times as many young people in higher education as was the case in 1979.
Nigeria has developed a National Council for Research and Development in 2006 and invested about US$5 billion in its Petroleum Technology Development Fund that is awarding scholarships and conducting training programs for the development of petroleum sector and petroleum based studies.
Malaysia’s R&D personnel has been increased 270% since 1998 and reached to 31,000 in 2006. Malaysia is giving the highest number of patent applications across OIC.
Via: The Royal Society
Source: A new golden age? The prospects for science and innovation in the Islamic world. The Royal Society.