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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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How to Help Iraqi Universities?
16 March 2009 4:09 pm
More than 200 Iraqi-American intellectual leaders debated that question at a meeting last weekend in Washington, D.C. The Iraqi Academic Conference, organized by the Iraqi embassy, brought together scientists, physicians, and other academics to discuss aiding their counterparts in Iraq, where sectarian violence has been blamed for the deaths of more than 300 professors and the departure of hundreds more. Billions of dollars of aid have flowed into the country, but little has worked to revitalize Iraq's academic sector. “We want to help, but the Iraqis need so much," said Muayyad Al-Ubaidi, an Iraqi-born biochemist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.
He and others said Iraqis must “prioritize” their needs.The academics considered creating a nongovernmental organization (NGO) to promote collaboration among universities and research groups. They also called on Iraq’s government to improve Internet access, stop politicizing higher education appointments, and block construction projects that threaten archaeological sites.
An Iraqi proposal to fund as many as 10,000 fellowship awards to allow Iraqi students to study and conduct research at U.S. universities over the next few years got a mixed reaction. While some said exchange programs are a good way to develop expertise in Iraq, others feared they would only exacerbate the brain drain. Initial U.S. government efforts to revive higher education and scientific research in Iraq have so far been ineffective, most speakers agreed.
Physician Hadi Al Khalili, the Iraqi cultural attaché who organized the conference, said he would send its recommendations to the Iraqi government and compile a database of Iraqi-American academics. While he did not promise or rule out creation of an NGO, Al Khalili urged the scientists to sign up for an advisory committee that would suggest the best ways to promote collaboration.