The Newton-Mosharafa Fund Is a True Investment in Egypt’s Future
Education is a topic that is on the mind of many individuals. This is no surprise, however, considering that having the appropriate education, can truly gear any individual towards a more successful, prosperous, and promising future. Moreover, the right education is inseparable from the praxis of research; it is through research that students learn to love the pursuit of knowledge in all its shapes and forms.
Through academic research, students come to learn to ask big questions, search for the anomalies, and to highlight the most important of trends. Finally, it is through academia and research that students come to learn that there is never a single right answer, that there is always room for improvement, and that there are new solutions for old and complex problems.
This belief in the importance of education is fortunately a rhetoric that The British Council in Egypt has been turning into proactive action. This is why we sat down with Daniel Steel – Head of the Sciences Department at the British Council- and asked him a few questions regarding the Council’s PHD scholarship fund: The Newton-Mosharafa Fund.
Q: What is the Newton-Moshrafa Fund? What is the inspiration behind it? What motivates it? Who funds it?
The Newton-Mosharafa Fund is the largest bilateral science programme in Egypt – a £50 million GBP investment in Egypt’s science & innovation ecosystem. It is financed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. It aims 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 the development of new research and innovation. Through all of this work, we aim to establish and maintain sustainable, long term and mutual beneficial partnerships between the British and Egyptian science and innovation sectors. The programme supports activities through specific priority themes, as decided by the Egyptian government. Sustainable water management, renewable energy, sustainable food production, archaeology and cultural heritage, and affordable and inclusive healthcare are the selected and prioritized themes.
Q: Who is eligible to apply for the scholarship/fund?
The applicant must be a lecturer or a research assistant (that should have got his Master’s Degree) or a teacher assistant or research assistant in one of these public universities / research institutes. The individual also has to have been appointed as a lecturer or research assistant, for no less than two years by the application date.
Q: What expenses are covered for students studying under this fund?
The Newton-Mosharafa Fund provides fully funded scholarship in the UK for either a full three year PhD with degree awarded by a British Higher Education institution; or for what is called ‘Joint Supervisions’. This latter option provides the scholarship recipient with the opportunity to spend a year conducting research at a British Higher Education institution, as part of a PhD at an Egyptian university (with possibility of extension to a second year under exceptional circumstances). The Newton-Mosharafa Fund covers all the scholar’s research and bench fees at the host university in the UK and their living and travel expenses during the study period.
Q: What makes this opportunity a unique one?
This opportunity is life-changing not just for the scholars, but for all the Egyptian people that will surely benefit from the research. It is not just a huge investment in the education of the best and brightest of early career Egyptian researchers – who will benefit from world class British universities – it is also an investment in the entire Egyptian research sector. As HMA John Casson, British Ambassador in Cairo said: “Britain is expanding its role as Egypt’s number one partner in education, in order to equip Egypt for 21st century success. That’s why the U.K aims to be Egypt’s number one education partner just as it is the number one foreign investor. And that’ why UK and Egyptian governments are together investing EGP1bn in the Newton-Mosharafa science partnership. Whether it is research to turn shrimp shells into biodegradable bags to protect the environment or to preserve Egyptian maritime archaeological sites through virtual reality, Newton-Mosahrafa is a great British investment in Egypt’s future.”
Q: For how many years has this fund been available?
The Newton-Mosharafa Fund has been running since 2014.
Q: What is the general feedback from students who took advantage of this opportunity?
Ramy Hammady, Newton-Mosharafa PhD Scholar 2015 said:
“Newton-Mosharafa represents the magic wand for my professional life. I was fortunate enough to be one of the winning candidates of the Newton-Mosharafa 2015. I had that dream of changing the experience of the Egyptian museum in Cairo by deploying the most recent technologies. Newton-Mosharafa gave me the chance to travel and to find out how to achieve this dream. Every time I struggled, I found that the Newton-Mosharafa’s team had my back with their verbal and financial support. They helped me move forward and achieve everything I needed to achieve. I was able to build my MUSEUMEYE; this system will revolutionize Egypt’s museums. I have finished approximately 70% of the planned system. Once I am done, I will travel back to Egypt to test it inside the walls of the Egyptian museum in Cairo”.