Within the framework World Science Day for Peace and Development (WSDPD) and the EU Gender Champion Initiative, the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt, in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, organized a workshop today entitled “Women Empowerment through and for Science”. The event brought together scientists, policy makers, academics, innovators, diplomats, women organizations and gender experts.
“We have a long standing cooperation with Egypt in research, higher education and innovation through our programmes Horizon 2020 and Erasmus plus. This year also marks 11 years since the EU-Egypt science and technology agreement came into force,” said Ivan Surkoš, Ambassador of the EU to Egypt.
“Women scientists, academics and researchers have had invaluable contribution to our cooperation with Egypt. We have the pleasure today to acknowledge those remarkable women who coordinated EU funded projects and acted as national contact points for EU programmes, contributing to pushing forward our bilateral cooperation and to the sustainable development of their societies,” he added.
Under Horizon 2020, Egypt is currently a partner in 40 projects with an overall budget exceeding EUR 140 million. The projects cover collaborative research in various areas inducing food security, environment and inclusive, innovative and reflective societies, space and research infrastructure. Additionally, more than 166 Egyptian researchers have benefited from training and fellowship opportunities in Europe under the programme so far.
In the area of higher education, Erasmus+ has become a successful and popular way to cross border study and training and to foster cooperation between educational institutions. Since 2014 the EU has funded 2,410 mobility opportunities from Egypt to Europe and 1,087 from Europe to Egypt. The 2019 selection will bring more than 1,200 new participants in both directions.
In relation to capacity building in the field of higher education, 45 projects involving Egypt have been contracted since 2014 with a total budget of €44 million and more than 180 Egyptian students have been awarded Erasmus Mundus scholarships in order to undertake full master degree studies in Europe.
Ambassador Surkoš highlighted the EU efforts to empower women in the scientific field, giving the example of the H2020 programme in which gender is a cross-cutting issue and is mainstreamed in each of its different parts. “Three objectives underpin the strategy on gender equality in our research and innovation programme: Fostering gender balance in research teams, ensuring gender balance in decision-making, and integrating the gender dimension in research and innovation content,” he stated.
“Knowing that Egypt has a wealth researchers of whom many are women, I hope that events such as that of today and initiatives to support further empowerment and inclusion of women in this field will ensure gender balance that for sure will contribute to societal relevance of produced knowledge, technologies and innovations,” he concluded.
Empowerment of women is an important shared priority of the EU and Egypt. The EU Gender Champion initiative stems from the need to support and promote gender equality and women and girls’ rights within and outside the EU. In Egypt, Ambassador of the EU Ivan Surkoš and Ambassador of Sweden Jan Thesleff have been appointed by their EU Member States peers as Gender Champions. The workshop “Women Empowerment through and for Science” aims to showcase and acknowledge success stories within the EU-Egypt cooperation in research and innovation, where women scientists played a leading role in EU funded projects, particularly under Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.