WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) project to engage Iraqi scientists recently completed a survey of Iraq's science and technology priorities. The survey identified health, water resources, environment, energy, and basic science as critical areas in which to employ Iraqi scientists, technicians, and engineers.
This program is a partnership among NNSA, the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF), a pan-Arab non-governmental scientific organization based in the United Arab Emirates, and the Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC) at Sandia National Laboratories. It complements other Bush administration initiatives that seek to support reconstruction efforts and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction expertise to terrorists or proliferation states.
"We are moving with all due speed to implement this program. This administration places a high emphasis on nonproliferation programs and the effort to engage Iraqi scientists is a very important one," said NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks. "As we help rebuild Iraqi science and technology infrastructure we help reintegrate Iraq into the international science community while fulfilling important nonproliferation goals."
The survey was administered by ASTF scientists, with the permission and guidance of the Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi Governing Council, and drew on interviews and contact with over 200 Iraqi scientists representing universities, government ministries, and scientific and technical research institutes. The surveyors also collected over 450 project ideas. ASTF shared the survey results with Iraqi scientists in meetings in early April in Baghdad and Riyadh, and the scientists unanimously endorsed the report.
In the next phase of the project the partners will issue a call for proposals in Iraq with the intention of funding a small pilot project in the area of water monitoring or epidemiology. When this pilot project is completed, the partners will convene a workshop in the region to bring together representative experts from Iraq, the United States, the international scientific community, and funding organizations to prioritize options for further technical cooperation. Financial contributions from donor countries and funding organizations will be sought to initiate work on several of the highest-priority projects, as well as institute a merit-based nomination and review process for future work.
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