Sci & Tech

Remarkable Leap in Iran's Scientific Reach

Remarkable Leap in Iran's Scientific Reach
Remarkable Leap in Iran's Scientific Reach

A new review in a Canadian publication has stated that since the cessation of sanctions on Iran, the prospects of the country's scientific achievements being taken seriously by the outside world have risen remarkably.

In the Center for Global Research's latest article, Mohammad Farhadi, Iran's minister for science and technology, notes that Iran is the leading center of higher-education research in the region and will grow stronger in this field since sanctions have been removed in many fields of study and cooperation.

“Iran is now a nation of 78 million, with about 4.5 million university students, 2,500 higher education institutions, 36 science and technology parks, 400 nongovernmental scientific associations, more than 800 research centers and 1,000 scientific journals," he said. Farhadi noted that Iranian scientists publish about 30,000 international scientific papers annually, which indicates a growth of at least 20-fold since 1979.

"These achievements could not have been reached without the intensive participation of individual scientists, scientific bodies and government support. This participation sprang from a model of development for post-revolutionary Iran that respects the rights of all Iranians to have access to higher education," he said. The minister stressed that this philosophy has helped the country weather internal and external disturbances.

"Sanctions on Iran, for example, pushed its science, industry and service sectors to cooperate in new and fruitful ways, and also compelled scientists to work more creatively and promote a knowledge-based economy for the first time in Iran’s history," he said.

"A prominent example is the role of the scientific community in the recent negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. This could not have materialized without the participation of scientists to provide technical expertise and clarify scientific language.”

More than 30,000 international scientific journals regard Iran as one of the world’s most important countries for scientific research and technology.

  Women's Rising Academic Profile

About 70% of Iran’s science and engineering students are women who are also creating new startup companies.

An interesting article by Forbes magazine in 2015 titled "Set To Take Over Tech: 70% of Iran’s Science and Engineering Students Are Women" about the rise of women in Iran’s science and technology fields stated the following:

"The common myth about women in Iran is that they are seen, but not heard, that they’re not permitted to drive, that they are second-class citizens, and that entrepreneurship and positions of power are out of reach. These notions are wrong.

"For years, women in Iran have owned and managed businesses, many of them in male dominant industries like oil and gas, construction, mining and now tech. And now, with such a high number graduating with degrees in science and engineering, there’s a push to get women more involved in Iran’s blossoming startup scene."

  Fastest Scientific Growth Rates

According to an article by back in 2010, Iran’s scientific advancements “have grown 11 times faster than any other country in the world”. Titled "Iran’s Fast Scientific Advancements", the article explains why a Montreal-based Science-Metrix, a company that evaluates the quantitative and qualitative measurements of science, technology and innovation, has placed Iran as one of the world’s leading countries with the fastest growth rates in science.

Science-Metrix says the number of scientific publications listed in the Web of Science database shows that the standard growth in the Middle East, particularly in Iran and Turkey, is nearly four times faster than the world average.

“Iran is showing fastest worldwide growth in science,” said Eric Archambault, who authored the report. “Asia is catching up even more rapidly than previously thought, Europe is holding its position more than most would expect, and the Middle East is a region to watch.”

Archambault further said sanctions imposed against Iran by Washington have led to scientific advancements.

Despite the 30 years of sanctions, Iran has made great strides in different sectors, including aerospace, nuclear science and medical development, as well as stem cell and cloning research.

"Among the country’s most recent accomplishments, which has garnered international acclaim, was the February 2 launch of Kavoshgar 3 (Explorer 3) satellite carrier into space with living organisms — a rat, two turtles and worms—onboard," he said.

Archambault spoke about other advancements in archeology, desert studies, ecological studies and study of the fauna and flora of the Irano-Turanian region.

Iran hosts numerous international science festivals every year, including the Kharazmi festival that honors scientific innovations and the Razi Medical Sciences Research Festival that awards original new research in various scientific fields.

The report predicts that with the possibility of better political relations between Iran and western countries, the development of scientific relations is bound to boom over the longer term.

"If Farhadi's dream of promoting Iranian technology in the wider global community comes true, it will accelerate global as well as Iranian science-based projects," the report concludes.