The Academy Symposium on Nanotechnology

The Academy Symposium on Nanotechnology

29 June, 2019

Palestine Academy for Science and Technology in collaboration with Professor Munir Nayfeh, partnership with Palestinian Federation of Industries and support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation held a two day symposium on Nanotechnology, titled "Towards establishing advanced materials and nano-technology research in Palestine” in Ramallah and Gaza via videoconference 

This symposium comes in the context of the Academy's effort to catalyze the formation of national scientific disciplinary and interdisciplinary clusters, and within its Expatriate Scholar Program, which focuses on knowledge transfer and solidification of the involvement of Palestinian scientists from diaspora in developing science, research and technology in Palestine

Motivation behind the symposium

Nanotechnology and advanced materials are emerging as cornerstones for establishing knowledge-based industries. Nanotechnology has advantageous features for research, industry and commercialization. Advanced materials and nanotechnology have applications in energy conversion and storage and LED lighting, optoelectronics, biomedical, agricultural and food, environmental and mechanical and thermal applications, as well as commercialization issues. Fortunately, Nano-research is being undertaken by a number of scientists at different universities inside Palestine. Their activities focus on areas that are considered as high priority areas for the Palestinian society, such as renewable energy, environment, water and health. Moreover, students are directly involved in such activities, which adds another educational dimension. However, such activities are mostly isolated individual efforts, with no national agriculture compass. Moreover, researchers lack advanced services necessary to achieve their projects, such as advanced preparation and characterization equipment. Researchers tend to send their samples abroad in search for help, which could be costly and time consuming. The lack of such services is basically due to the relatively high cost of purchase, which would add to the burden on the shoulders of higher education institutes. The intended workshop will directly target such issues, and will come out with practical and feasible solutions to help Palestinian scientists undertake their research works in the maximal efficiency and minimal cost.

The symposium aimed to

  1. Highlight the need for Nano-technology research in Palestine, starting with basic societal needs to commercialization of advanced materials in the future
  2. Survey areas of strength and areas of weaknesses in ongoing Nano-research activities, and pointing out what researchers need to effectively undertake their work
  3. Find out specific gaps where the Academy can help to fill in terms of services for scientists, without overlapping with other institutions (educational, governmental or non-governmental institutions). The Academy is keen to promote maximal collaboration and networking between scientists inside Palestine, and with international counterparts. Involvement of students will add to the educational dimension of nanotech research
  4. Help in drawing a roadmap for the formation of a Palestinian Nano Technology Hub

Scientific Committee

  • Dr. Munir Nayfeh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Dr. Hikmat Hilal, An –Najah University
  • Dr. Mohammad Shabat, Islamic University
  • Dr. Talal Shahwan, Birzeit University
  • Dr. Atef Qasrawi, Arab American University                                              

Steering Committee

  • Dr. Muayad Abu Saa, Arab American University
  • Dr. Hikmat Hilal, An Najah National University
  • Dr. Abdelraouf Elmanama, Islamic University Gaza 
  • Dr. Amal Alkahlout, Al Azhar University
  • Dr. Ibrahim Al Masri, Palestine Academy for Science and Technology

Opening session 

The symposium was opened by Prof. Marwan Awartani, Academy President and Minister of Education,  who welcomed participants and attendees from all national institutions, Palestinian Federation of Industries (PFI), Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), Palestinian universities from the West Bank and Gaza, international guest scientists and the Palestinian Diaspora scholars. In his speech, he gave an account of the latest developments and various programs implemented by the Academy during the year. He pointed out that this event comes as part of the initiative of cooperation with the Palestinian world renowned scholar and nanotechnologist Prof. Munir Nayfeh, which he preceded by a series of lectures for high school students in Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Jerusalem in April of this year. Prof Awartani explained that this was not a regular scientific conference, but a focal point for a visionary path intended to establish a national center specialized in nanotechnology. Pointing out that this endeavor will be led by a joint team of specialized representatives of universities, the private sector and the relevant government agencies. This was followed by opening remarks by Ulrich Wacker the Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Jerusalem,  Eng. Fuad Al Aqraa Deputy Director General of the PFI and Eng. Adnan Samara, the President of the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence (HCIE).

Scientific sessions

The symposium included keynote lectures on global perspectives of Nanotechnology by international scientists and diaspora scholars:

  • Dr. Munir Nayfeh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) [ Bio | Lecture ]
  • Dr. Ahmad Bseisy, Uinversity Grenoble France; Head of CIME Nanotech [ Bio | Lecture
  • Dr. Bulent Aydogan, University of Chicago and University Illinois at Chicago (UIC) [ Bio | Lecture ]
  • Dr. Irfan Ahmad, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) [ Bio | Lecture ]

Followed by technical scientific lectures and poster presentations by students and researchers in Palestinian universities reflecting the status of nanotechnology research activities and scientific results

Strategic Session

The symposium concluded with a business meeting in which human, technical, organizational, and logistical requirements for the establishment of a Palestinian Nano technology Hub/ Center was discussed in detail by field specialists from universities, industry, representative from the Environmental Quality Authority and HCIE