Sci & Tech

Iran to Host IASP 2018

ISTT is Iran’s first institution in charge of establishing tech parks
The main theme at this year’s IASP was titled “The Global Mind.”The main theme at this year’s IASP was titled “The Global Mind.”

The 33rd International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation Conference (IASP) in Moscow, has chosen Iran as the host of IASP 2018 in Isfahan.

The main theme at this year’s IASP was titled “The Global Mind: Linking Innovation Communities for Internationalization, Sustainability and Growth”.

Leading international experts specializing in the development of effective innovative infrastructure and bringing technology startups to global markets gathered in Moscow for the September 19-22 conference, reported Mehr News Agency.

According to the organizers of the event, over 1,500 participants from 70 countries were present.

The participants shared their experience of creating efficient tech parks, reviving the urban environment, and international technology transfers.

Research deputy director of Iran’s Ministry of Science Research and Technology, Vahid Ahmadi, Head of Kermanshah’s Tech Park, Masoumeh Khan-Ahmadi, and several other officials represented Iran at the event.

Later on September 23, Ahmadi announced that with 86 votes Iran has been chosen as the host of IASP 2018.

The conference would take place in Isfahan’s Science and Technology Town known as ISTT, according to representatives in Moscow.

ISTT is Iran’s first institution in charge of establishing tech parks and legally is obliged to link scientific institutions and Iran’s industrial sector, to expand and commercialize domestic scientific endeavors and to attract national and foreign scientists and experts. The institution has also been a member of IASP since 2002.

In the course of the event, Ahmadi met with Alexander Lopatin, Russia’s deputy minister for science. The Russian official addressed the issue of bilateral academic and scientific collaborations and said that Moscow is willing to expand its presence in Iran.

Lopatin said that since Russia has launched a website to teach Russian to Iranians the website is visited more than 2,500 times a day. He also noted that Iranian scientists and researchers can use the grant offered by Russia to further their studies.

In 2010, the Russian government launched a ‘Mega Grant’ program, worth $428 million to attract scientists from abroad to do research at Russian universities.

Apparently Moscow implemented the scheme to reverse the brain drain in Russian academia. Thousands of leading scientists and hopeful doctorate students moved abroad, prompted by meager salaries and low research funding at home.

  Iran’s Scientific Infrastructure

During the meeting, Ahmadi said, “Iran has more than five million university students, 2,800 academic centers, about 1,000 research centers and 39 tech parks. These centers can be a reliable infrastructure for the two countries to further their scientific collaborations.”

The official also said, “Several international science related bodies are located in Iran. This proves Iran’s preparedness for expansion of scientific ties with other countries including Russia.”

He named Isfahan Regional Center for Technology Incubators and Science Park Development under the auspices of UNESCO and COMSTECH, Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, as two noteworthy examples.

He further noted that Iran is aiming to expand its science based economy by boosting startups and knowledge based companies.

Iran, like Russia has faced considerable difficulties in retaining talented scientific and engineering graduates in the past decade. This problem has been exacerbated by the recent economic difficulties the country has endured due to sanctions.

Research funding in Iran, compared to international standards remains low. However following agreements with foreign entities coming in by the month, a percentage of the scientific pool may now opt to stay in the country.