The British Council, in partnership with Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education’s Central Department of Missions, selected 55 PhD scholars to be funded under the Newton Mosharafa programme to pursue part or all of their PhD studies in UK higher education institutes.
In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and as part of the digitisation process which is part of Egypt’s Vision 2030, the entire PhD application phase, the technical review, and the virtual interviews for candidates were conducted electronically. The call generated 94 applications, with almost a 60% acceptance rate
This year saw a high participation by women, where 60% of applications were submitted by female scholars, and 70% of scholarships were awarded to women.
Applications received through the online process came from across Egypt spanning Delta to Aswan and covering different scientific fields such as: medical, engineering, dental, pharmacology, agricultural, and environmental sciences.
In light of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that will be hosted by the UK this year, two environmental sub-domains have emanated into the areas of the Newton Mosharafa themes and they are: environmental protection, and information technology and communication. Other primary areas covered by the scholarship included sustainable water management, renewable energy, sustainable food production, and affordable and inclusive healthcare.
Elizabeth White, Country Director at the British Council in Egypt, said, “Cross-cultural collaboration in the science field is vital for tackling global challenges and addressing issues such as poverty, climate change, and peace and security in developing countries. Our work in Egypt over the past seven years has strengthened innovation and scientific research in both Egypt and the UK, and is a result of our continuous effort to foster this collaboration between UK and Egyptian scientists, institutions, and universities.”
The focus of the programme is to advance the capacity of the Egyptian science sector; increase the amount of quality scientific research and innovation being carried out in Egypt; and help mitigate the negative effects of the social and economic challenges faced by Egypt, through research and innovation.
This brings the total number of recipients of scholarships from the Newton-Mosharafa Fund – the largest bilateral science programme in Egypt with a £55m GBP investment in science and innovation in Egypt – to 307 students.
This programme is co-financed between the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The Newton-Mosharafa PhD scholarship programme is delivered by the British Council in partnership with the Central Department of Missions.
Ashraf Al Azizi, Director of the Egyptian Cultural Affairs and Missions Sector, said, “We are proud to continuously participate in the Newton Mohsarafa fund programme that strengthens the scientific relationship between Egypt and the UK. The programme has shown an evident impact on growing the pool of the talented scientists and researchers in Egypt.”
All scholars and researchers selected are affiliated to a diverse number of universities and institutions from different governorates across Egypt, including Cairo, Nile Delta, Suez Canal, and Upper Egypt.
Those awarded joint supervision PhD scholars will spend a year carrying out research at a UK higher education institution as part of a PhD at an Egyptian university whilst General Mission PhD scholars will spend a full three year PhD with a degree awarded by a UK higher education institution.