Focus on Research and Development

Focus on Research and Development Focus on Research and Development

The incumbent administration has taken a proactive approach to research activities by giving special attention to knowledge-based companies in order to encourage intellectuals to stay or return to the country.

Statistics show that the number of such firms has risen from 55 when the Rouhani government took office in mid-2013 to roughly 1,700 today. Many of these companies are not only generating wealth in the domestic economy, but also exporting their technology.

Further, the government has made efforts to develop research ties with domestic and foreign organizations.

In the fifth economic development plan (ends March 19), the share of R&D was envisaged at 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP). However, due to the economic problems as a result of mismanagement by the previous government and the international sanctions (now lifted), this share was a paltry 0.47%.

“The Management and Planning Organization (MPO) has now issued a directive stating that R&D share of GDP must reach 1% by the end of the next calendar year (March 2017),” said Vahid Ahmadi, research and technology deputy at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.

To achieve this ambitious target, officials at the ministry have signed contracts with the Oil Ministry for scientific research development in universities. The contracts task nine universities with research and consultancy on extraction from 20 oilfields, said Ahmadi without mentioning the names of the universities.

“The universities in collaboration with foreign experts and funded by the Oil Ministry will undertake research on greater oil extraction from the 20 oilfields.”  

The Science Ministry has also held talks with the Foreign Ministry to facilitate easy visa processes for experts travelling to the country for scientific reasons, and the ministry has pledged to ensure quick action for faculty members taking part in international events.

Iranian universities “owe $30 million to world scientific datacenters which must be paid before they can resume access to them again,” Ahmadi said.

“Many of these datacenters refused to accept articles by Iranian researchers due to this huge debt, but funds have been earmarked so as to pay a part of the debt this year.”

Another focus of the Science Ministry is developing the laboratory network. So far 50 central laboratories have been activated and funds sanctioned.    

“We also have plans to involve the private sector in developing laboratories nationwide,” he said.