Sandia Cooperative Monitoring Center and Arab foundation to identify Iraqi scientific needs

02/26/04

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A cooperative effort is underway between a group of Arab scientists and a U.S. national security lab to help rebuild key elements of Iraq's scientific infrastructure.

The agreement, signed in late December, was announced today by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) between the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) and Sandia National Laboratories' Cooperative Monitoring Center (http://www.cmc.sandia.gov/).

In phase one of the project, ASTF will survey the science and technology situation in Iraq to identify critical areas of Iraqi scientific strengths and technical needs. The survey will document Iraqi expertise in areas critical to reconstruction as well as in potential areas of peaceful scientific development.

Said Arian Pregenzer, Sandia senior scientist, "We both [at ASTF and CMC] had the idea of engaging the Iraqi S&T community. We decided to combine our ideas into one proposal that could take advantage of Sandia's experience working with scientists in Russia and the Newly Independent States on peaceful research and development as well as ASTF's extensive contacts in Iraq."

Sandia worked with ASTF to help establish the survey's goals, said Pregenzer. An ASTF team entered Iraq in late January and established a temporary office in Baghdad for completing their survey. They also recruited a team of Iraqis to assist in their work. Plans are to brief Washington officials of their results in March, and then to plan for an international workshop to obtain international support and funding for high-priority projects.

"We're trying to help revitalize the Iraqi scientific community," said Pregenzer.

The Arab Science and Technology Foundation, headquartered in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, is a nongovernmental organization established to stimulate scientific research in the Arab world. Its president, Abdalla Alnajjar, holds a physics Ph.D. with a focus on solar energy. He is professor of physics and Director of Research in Sharjah University.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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