Cablegate: A/S Jones Meets with Goe Officials On Health, Science, And

DE RUEHEG #0224/01 0341633
R 031630Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: A/S Jones meets with GoE officials on Health, Science, and
Technology Issues


1. (SBU) Key Points:

--In January 20 meetings, A/S Jones emphasized that health,
science, and technology cooperation form an important component of
the US-Egypt relationship and stated OES's desire to bolstering

--According to Higher Education and Science Research Minister Hany
Helal, the Egyptian government (GoE) has identified renewable
energy, health, agriculture, and water as key national science and
technology priorities.

--Health Minister Hatem El-Gabaly agreed to support USG programs in
combating polio in OIC-afflicted countries as well as the recently
announced Global Health Initiative.

--A roundtable discussion with Egyptian scientists revealed strong
support for the US-Egypt science and technology fund but also
concerns about inadequate grant funding, inadequate review feedback
and insufficient time to complete research projects.

2. (U) A/S Jones explained in all of her meetings that the US
remains committed to expanding existing partnerships with the
Egyptian government and scientific community and looks forward to
working together on health, science, and technology programs.
During her January 20 visit, A/S Jones also met with Ministry of
Foreign Affairs officials and delivered the Copenhagen Accord
demarche (Ref A).

--------------------------------------------- -------

Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research

--------------------------------------------- -------

3. (SBU) Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Helal
explained the Ministry is working closely with the Prime Minister's
Supreme Council on Science and Technology (Ref B), to identify
national science and technology priorities and has directed the
Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF) to serve as the lead
organization to support research proposals addressing these issues.
He stated that STDF - a Ministry organization created in 2007 to
manage inter-government science and technology policy - will seek
to finance programs in renewable energy, health, agriculture, and
water. Helal noted that the Ministry would also like to raise
financial support to the US-Egypt Science and Technology
Contribution Fund (STCF), increasing annual contributions from 2 to
5 million USD from both countries.

4. (SBU) A/S Jones said the US agrees that financial contributions
for STCF need to be expanded and discussions are underway to
consider such an increase. She also expressed concern about the
low acceptance of submitted proposals, noting that the current 8%
success rate has the potential to discourage scientists from
applying for funding. A/S Jones also urged the Ministry to continue
providing written explanations for rejected research proposals and
to provide opportunities to resubmit them. Helal pledged the
Ministry's support and also stated his desire to continue dialogue
regarding increased financial support for STCF.


Ministry of Health


5. (SBU) Health Minister El-Gabaly told A/S Jones that Egypt
attributes part of its success in lowering its H5N1 mortality rate
to USG public awareness programs, calling them "tremendously
helpful health activities." El-Gabaly stated that the Ministry
will gladly support USG plans to combat polio in Nigeria,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan as well and looks forward to
participating in the new Global Health Initiative. "I'm pro-US
cooperation," El-Gabaly explained and stated that he hopes the US
will assume a larger leadership role in developing new science,
technology, and health programs in Egypt and across the region. A/S
Jones asked El-Gabaly to contribute to the planning for the April
2010 pandemic influenza meeting in Hanoi and the Minister agreed.

CAIRO 00000224 002 OF 002

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US-Egypt Science and Technology Fund Participants

--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (SBU) In a meeting with 14 scientists - all of them former
participants in STCF programs - A/S Jones said that the US is
firmly committed to American and Egyptian research and recognizes
the need for increased funding. The group, which consisted
primarily of Junior Scientist visitor alumnae (a program that
provides funds for short-term training at US institutions), noted
the overall success of STCF in offering financial assistance for a
multitude of research areas but also identified several areas for
improvement. A lack of communication in explaining the reason for
rejecting research proposals, insufficient funds to support
Egyptian scientists working in the US, and delays in approving
projects were listed as continuing problems. A/S Jones offered to
raise these concerns with the MoHE and urged those in attendance to
seek new ways to collaborate with US researchers. She also
suggested that information regarding the fund and other funding
opportunities be provided on-line.

7. (U) A/S Jones cleared this message.

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