The Moroccan researcher, Dr. Jawad Kharraz, is considered one of the scientists active in promoting scientific culture and supporting Arab scientific researchers through the Arab World Organization for Young Scientists that has been in existence for more than 10 years.
About this organization, the services it provided to Arab researchers, and other topics, Jawad Al Kharraz tells us. Read also A summary of the experience of an Algerian researcher who helped 20 students win scholarships Moroccan researcher Nozha Megad: Italian universities are distinguished in marine sciences Muhammad Attia, a researcher at Northwestern University in the US: These are the advantages of studying in Japan and achieving the dream in America The accomplished history of a young Jordanian scientist crowned with an Illinois Innovation Award
- In the beginning, tell us about the backgrounds of establishing this organization, when and how did the idea come to you?
The beginning was in 2009 when we met in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on the sidelines of the West Asia and North Africa “WANA” Forum (WANA), which was organized by the “Wana” Foundation, chaired by His Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal.
At the time, I met Dr. Alaa Al-Sadiq from Egypt and Dr. Olfa Mahjoub from Tunisia, and we discussed ways of cooperation between us and our counterparts in the Arab world.
A year after the first meeting, we met again in the Library of Alexandria in Egypt in April 2010, there we had the opportunity to talk with a large group of young researchers from various Arab countries, and through that it became clear to us the need to establish a network or association that brings together all young researchers Arabs, we agreed to establish an association for young Arab scholars.
- You know your organization as the first Arab platform for young scholars in the Arab world, how?
Before 2010, there was no Arab network that brings together young researchers in the Arab world, and therefore it is the first network launched for the purpose of gathering young researchers in the Arab world, and after that we witnessed other parallel efforts such as the Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World. ), Including but not limited to the regional level.
On the national level, national networks emerged in many Arab countries. We believe that we have filled a vacuum during that period, and we have made a great effort to support Arab researchers and network among them on the one hand, and between them and their counterparts in Western countries and Asia on the other hand.
- Now that 10 years have passed, how do you rate your achievements?
In fact, we are not satisfied with our performance, because we believe that we could have carried out many projects, but many obstacles prevented this from being achieved, such as the lack of financial support, and the difficulty of finding cadres to fully devote themselves to the activities of the association because all the members of the office that run them have their official duties and it is difficult for them to devote completely to the activities of the association.
Despite this, for example, we were able to organize the first German-Arab conference for young researchers in Berlin in 2011. We also participated in the first edition of the Science Frontiers Conference organized by the American National Science Foundation in Kuwait.
In cooperation with German Alexander von Humboldt grantees in the Maghreb countries, we organized an international conference in Marrakech in 2012, and other conferences in Amman, Khartoum, Beirut and other Arab capitals. We signed cooperation agreements with the Association of Erasmus Mundus Grantees in the Maghreb.
We have also concluded cooperation with ICESCO, and participated in international science conferences in Budapest and Amman, where we defended science diplomacy and the need to support researchers from developing countries, including Arab countries.
We participated in preparing the UNESCO Science Report on the Arab countries side, in the Arab Thought Foundation report on innovation, and in other publications on Nature and SciDev, among others.
- How do you help these young scientific researchers?
Today, the network includes about 20,000 members who benefit from a free daily newsletter service that includes the latest announcements of grants, conferences, publications, member achievements, projects, developments in scientific research and innovation, and more.
The main help is by directing them and giving them advice, and this is done through an active group on Facebook or directly on our email where we receive dozens of messages and requests every week.
This orientation service includes advice about the academic career, available grants, how to obtain them, awards, and how to prepare resumes, interviews, and conferences (in the past we obtained some grants for funded participations in some conferences for the benefit of some of our members).
As well as scientific competitions, bids, projects, financing programs, cooperation programs and travel to foreign laboratories and universities, linking them with professors and researchers in other countries, joint publication of research, introducing them and their achievements, and helping to get jobs as much as possible or at least directing them to improve their chances of success. , Etc.
- Among the most prominent problems facing scientific research in the Arab world is the problem of funding, how do you deal with that?
Indeed, the financial resources allocated to scientific research in the Arab countries are less than the global average, as the proportion of spending on scientific research does not exceed 1% of the gross national product, but we must take into account that there are other mechanisms and ways to raise the level of scientific research in our countries despite Scarcity of financial resources.
Collaboration between Arab universities and laboratories, for example, sharing laboratories and equipment, and conducting joint experiments can sometimes compensate for the lack of financial resources. Cooperation with foreign laboratories and research groups, especially those in which Arab researchers work, may compensate for the shortage of laboratory equipment.
- What disciplines do you think researchers should study?
There are no specializations that are better than others in scientific research in the absolute sense. Because, in my opinion, every researcher who is passionate about scientific research will innovate in the field he loves.
But if we take into account that most researchers do not have stable financial resources and are looking for a stable job, then it becomes very important to specialize in scientific people that have industrial, practical or priority applications in our country, because this makes the possibility for us to get a job and the possibility of obtaining grants and project financing. Much larger.
If it is necessary to cite some examples, then I believe that the fields of artificial intelligence, big data, automation and renewable energies, especially green hydrogen, water management, water desalination and treatment, agricultural applications, uses of space sensing, bio-biology, nanotechnology, organic and inorganic chemistry, especially associated with industrial activities, are all people that should be a priority. .
- In your opinion, what are the most important university scholarships and training that an Arab researcher can benefit from?
There are many scholarships and research trainings from various bodies of universities and regional and international programs and others sponsored by donor institutions such as the Islamic Development Bank, for example.
There are also those that are the result of bilateral or international cooperation between universities and laboratories, as well as grants and funded projects such as European projects Horizon 2020 and the Euro-Mediterranean program.
There are locally funded projects in a country in which a research group needs a doctoral or post-doctoral researcher to work on them, and they publish an advertisement for that.
For all this, it is necessary for the Arab researcher to be familiar with international programs, and to strengthen his qualifications in networking and reading the most important sites and social media pages, especially LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, where these important advertisements are published, as well as the periodic newsletters of some networks. And international institutions.
There are also well-known international academies that encourage researchers from developing countries and Arab countries, such as the Global Youth Academy (GYA), the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the Arab-German Academy for Young Scientists, the Islamic World Academy of Sciences and other academies that would The affiliation of the Arab researcher is to open many doors for him in terms of scholarships and participation in international conferences and meetings, training courses and others.
Participation in the American Arab Science Frontiers Conference organized by the US National Science Foundation opens the way for a very important networking with American researchers, and provides opportunities for scientific training in the United States.
- Many researchers believe that the universities of the Arab Gulf have made great progress. Are these universities offering grants or aid?
There are Gulf universities that have made many achievements in recent years, and the evidence for this is that they have obtained advanced positions in the ranking of the best Arab universities, for example, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for example, but not limited to.
This university usually provides grants and funding opportunities for distinguished researchers in specific technical fields, and a group of Gulf universities are following suit in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
- Do you have future projects that you are thinking of completing within the organization?
The Young Arab Scholars Organization has been growing and the number of its members is increasing day by day, and we have exceeded the ceiling of 20,000 members, and we hope that we can organize a large conference in which the best Arab researchers and scholars present their research to the industrial sector and decision-makers, but for this purpose we will need material and institutional support, which we hope to obtain.
We also hope to have more active members who can help and carry the torch to compensate the founding generation. And our ambition is also to continue marketing and helping to embrace science diplomacy by our Arab governments.
- You are a non-governmental organization. Do you have relations with Arab governments (of course in the field of scientific research) or with NGOs such as the Islamic World Academy of Sciences?
We do not have direct relations with Arab governments because we are an independent organization, but we cooperate with government agencies from time to time, for example when we organize a scientific conference in an Arab country, it is natural that we coordinate with government agencies there in charge of scientific research or the field of the conference, whether it is the Ministry of Water, Energy, or Agriculture and others.
In return, we have friendly relations and strong cooperation relations, to name a few with the Islamic World Academy of Sciences, the International Youth Academy, the Third World Academy of Sciences, the Royal Jordanian Society, the Mohammed VI International University, the Association for the Development of Science and Technology in the Arab World, and the Erasmus Mundus Association in the Maghreb Associations of Moroccan Young Researchers, and Young Researchers in Biology in Tunisia and elsewhere.