In June 2004, it was agreed upon that the TWAS-ARO will be within the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Alexandria, Egypt. The tasks of the TWAS-ARO were assigned to the Center for Special Studies and Programs at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
The overall objective of the TWAS-ARO is to promote the activities of TWAS and its affiliated organizations ( The Third World Network of Scientific Organizations , The Third World Organization for Women in Science, The Inter Academy Panel and The Inter Academy Medical Panel) in the region, as recommended by the Academy's current and future strategic plans.
In order to fulfill these commitments, the main focus will be on the following three main areas, with emphasis on quality and merit-based evaluation,
- Promote science to the public
- Networks of Excellence
- Young Scientists
Action taken during 2005:
- TWAS-ARO was launched at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), 2-3 June 2005, under the theme of “Visions and Expectations”. Over the course of two days, four sessions were held exploring the visions and expectations of the TWAS-ARO, in addition to a number of lectures, meetings and presentations that were held by a group of scientists and professors. As an outcome to the meeting, several recommendations and proposals arose. (Annex 1)
- Developing a directory/ database of competent scientific Institutions in the Arab region.
- The TWAS-ARO is organizing the 1 st Meeting for the World Academy of Young Scientists Arab Regional Unit to take place at the BA from 28-29 November 2005. The meeting will bring together 60 young scientists from Arab Countries to discuss major Science and Technology issues with a special emphasis on the situation and role of young scientists in the region.
Proposed work plan for 2005/2006
1- Electronic Resources
- Establishing a website for the TWAS-ARO to be linked to the TWAS homepage (to be launched by beginning of November 2005)
- Establishing an electronic newsletter.
- Developing a directory/ database of active Arab scientists operating inside and outside the Arab region including women scientists.
- Annual Meeting of TWAS Fellows in the Arab Region: to review the status and future prospects of science and technology in the region.
3- Promoting public awareness of science
- 2 Public lectures by eminent scientists one toward the beginning and one towards the end of 2006.
- Dissemination of the Supercourse to universities in the Arab world with an appropriate letter/e-mail/ explaining the scope, objectives and areas of potential cooperation.
- Workshops: A workshop on proposal writing will be organized towards the end of 2005 introducing concepts of proposal writing to researchers at the beginning of their career.
- A number of small prizes for best Innovative Idea for a better life. A competition for the general public from all ages and sectors that encourages creative thinking.
4) Young Scientists
- TWAS Prizes to Young Scientists in Developing Countries: national science academies, scientific research councils, ministries of science & technology and high-level research organizations in the Arab region will be asked to nominate young scientists (younger than 35 years) for TWAS Young Scientist prizes for the year 2006 in the following fields: biology, chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics, mathematics, physics, agricultural sciences, earth sciences, engineering sciences, and medical sciences. One of the Prizes will be reserved for a female scientist from the region.
- TWAS-ARO Research Grants: Two research grants of up to US$5,000 each will be offered to scientists, from the Arab region, of proven ability for research projects in each of the following fields: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. The Grants are intended to cover the costs of specialized equipment, essential consumable material, and scientific literature. One of the Research Grants will be reserved for a female scientist from the region.
- Visiting Fellowship for a young scientist/researcher from the region . The ARO will support the travel (economy round-trip fare) and costs of living for a young scientist from the region where he/she will stay for at least one month at a host institution to work with a TWAS member who offers such an opportunity with the aim of providing mentorship. Fellowship opportunities will be announced on the website and e-newsletter.