Kuala Lumpur, 30 November 2015 – The Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Professor Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid today launched the report on the “State of Science at Universities of the Muslim World” to an audience of key stakeholders of Malaysia educational sector earlier today.
Nature, a prestigious science journal, has published a commentary on the findings and recommendations of the Task Force of International experts formed by the Muslim World Science Initiative. The Task Force is being chaired by the Science Advisor himself; Professor Nidhal Guessoum of the American University of Sharjah (UAE) is the Convener of the Task Force; and Datuk Dr. Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, President and CEO of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) as the Co-Convenor.
The Muslim-Science Task Forces Initiative, funded partly by John Templeton Foundation, is hosted and supported by MIGHT and its partners, the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) and the Akademi Sains Malaysia (ASM).
The initiative is in line with Malaysia’s aspiration to be a developed nation by 2020 and the Science2Action (S2A) initiative. S2A is a national initiative that seeks to intensify and raise the profile of Science and Technology to support Malaysia’s development beyond 2020.
The Task Force includes eminent experts and scholars including Dr. Michael Reiss, University of London; Dr. Bruce Alberts, University of California at San Francisco, former president of US National Academy of Sciences and a recent US National Medal of Science Laureate; and H.E. Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the President of Mauritius.
The Task Force reviewed the ranking of Muslim-world’s universities globally. On average, Muslim countries invest less than 0.5% of their GDP on R&D. Only Malaysia spends slightly more than 1% (the world average is 1.78%, while most advance countries spend 2-3%). Muslim-majority countries have on average about 600 researchers per million of population, and only Tunisia and Malaysia present solid and increasing numbers, at about 2000.
The Task Force is expected to put out an open call for universities across the Muslim world to join a voluntary Network of Excellence of Universities for Science (NEXUS), to be launched next year. Releasing the Report of the Task Force in Malaysia, Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid stressed that “NEXUS will help build capacity for University Administrators and Champions, monitor the progress of reforms at participating universities, and issue a peer report card to inspire further improvements.”