The Academy held a meeting with the British Royal Scientific Society, on Thursday 05 December 2019. The representatives of the Royal Society UK, Executive Director Dr. Julie Maxton and Director of International Affairs Mr. Andrew Allen, met with HE Minister Prof. Dr. Marwan Awartani, and members of PALAST Advisory and Steering Committee.
The meeting discussed potential cooperation between the two members institutions of the Interacademy Partnership (IAP). The meeting started with welcoming the guests by HE the Minister, followed by briefing the current issues and challenges in education system in Palestine. The association between Palestine and the Royal Society stated in the early of 1990s, where Sir Michael Atiyah, the President of the Royal Scientific Society at that time, visited a mathematics conference at Birzeit University, and gave a presentation at the conference. It is worthy to mention that Sir Michael Atiyah was President of the Pugwash Conferences for Science and International Affairs from 1997 to 2002, and he also contributed to the founding of the InterAcademy Panel (IAP) that deals with international issues, the European Academies Association (ALLEA), and the European Mathematics Association (EMS).
Then, the Minister presented an overview about PALAST, its establishment, programs and activities, with special focus on the PALAST Science Bridges and strategic goals. PALAST is a national independent self-governing institution, acting as a catalyst for the advancement of science, technology and innovation in Palestine, and he noted that this meeting is an appropriate opportunity to discuss cooperation between the Academy and the Royal Society.
Members of the Science Bridges Committee, the deans of Scientific Research and representatives to their universities, presented an overview of their universities and some research interests in various fields of cooperation. They stressed the importance of cooperation with academics in the United Kingdom and its importance to stimulate the scientific research in Palestine by applying joint projects, and the possibility of students and researchers exchange and transferring expertise and technology to Palestine.
The guests from the Royal Society expressed their interest meeting Palestinian researchers, as the purpose of the visit is to meet with research and technological institutions and the possibility of discussing joint projects in several topics, the attendees welcomed any possible cooperation between the Academy as a national umbrella and the Royal Society, especially in joint projects or in the field of exchange Academics and researchers, and that there is the possibility of holding many meetings and hosting Palestinian researchers in Britain, by securing any possible opportunities for funding, as is the case of the successful models implemented by the academy, such as German-Palestinian cooperation and Palestinian Quebec cooperation, and the desire to reproduce these models and apply them in a similar way towards Palestinian-British cooperation despite the existing challenges.
The Palestinian side proposed to the Royal Society several proposals, including the development of joint academic educational programs, holding meetings with British scientists, enhancing communication, and cooperation in all possible fields, especially short visits for researchers, student exchanges and secure funding for joint projects.
The Palestine Academy hopes to open cooperative networking in the research field through subsequent follow-up agreed upon between the Academy and the British Royal Society.