By Azman Zakaria
Photo by Marina Ismail
SERDANG, Dec 23 - An online hub and a systematic approach to adapt to successful programmes and collaboration models should be established to raise the profile and standards of science and technology (S&T) in Islamic countries.
These were among the recommendations contained in a 11-point statement issued at the end of Mustafa Science and Technology Exchange Program (STEP) in Islamic Countries forum, here, referred as Malaysian Chapter: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Development Forum.
The five-day program which started on Dec 19 was jointly organized by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Mustafa Science and Technology (MSTF).
In a statement, STEP said the creation of an on-line hub could be an enabling platform for S&T collaborations that could give access to the best practices among Islamic countries.
It also said a systematic approach to adapt to successful programs and collaboration models from other nations should be set up to ultimately raise the profile and standards of S&T in Islamic countries, with the LINDAU Nobel Laureate meetings as examples.
Delegates also recommended that an endowment be set up 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, especially for high-risk research programmes.
It also said to maintain a high level of performance in research, the cost of upkeep of critical and sophisticated instruments needed to be a line item in research budgets and that sharing of infrastructure and rare technical knowledge should be encouraged.
The problem of uneven pay scale for academic scholars also needed to be addressed through performance-based compensation.
It stated that the stability of employment was a critical issue that needed to be addressed to achieve innovation, discovery and creativity.
STEP also called for the establishment of a S&T international advisory board for MSTF to act on the recommendations and related issues.
Speaking when opening the forum, UPM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Aini Ideris said all researchers from within and outside the country must continue to carry out close cooperation in order to be a catalyst for the advancement of mankind.
She said they should create strong networks of like-minded academics and friends to make the whole globalization process a positive one.
More than 200 participants from 12 countries and some 30 international renowned scientists from Islamic countries in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology, including Professor Omar Yaghi from Jordan and Professor Jackie Ying from Singapore who were the laureates of the first edition of the Mustafa Prize held in 2015, attended the forum. - UPM
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