SESRIC hosted the Second Project Steering Group Meeting of the Atlas of Islamic World Innovation Project during the period 3-4 October 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey under the Chairmanship of H.E. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The meeting was attended by the national focal points of the Atlas Project and in-country researchers of pilot countries, as well as the relevant OIC institutions and international partners.
On behalf of the project management, Dr. Savaş Alpay, Director General of SESRIC, welcomed all the participants and expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the project having several country studies currently well advanced and moving very fast. He emphasised that the project has many far reaching and ambitious objectives towards generating opportunities for collaboration among OIC member countries and between OIC and non-OIC countries, making STI more visible, building capacities, and attracting S&T focused investments to OIC member countries. In this regard, he stressed upon the aspiration of the project to follow up the country reports by activities, such as seminars, workshops and media events in order to draw attention of the public and private sector, civil society, policy makers and the public at large to the results and recommendations of the Atlas Project for improvements in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
During the opening session of the meeting H.E. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu delivered a speech where he described Atlas Project as one of the essential elements in the process of realisation of the objectives embodied in the OIC Ten Year Programme of Action as well as the Vision 1441 H for Science and Technology adopted by the Tenth Islamic Summit. He highlighted the role of Atlas Project in the development of science and technology in the OIC Member States that hinges on the necessary foundations, such as existing expertise, infrastructure, human resource, quality of scientific curricula, policies and programmes and scientific and technical potentials. For this, the research includes many important institutions like universities, government agencies, research centres, think tanks, non-governmental organisations, private businesses, science parks, entrepreneurial agencies etc. so as to access all available data and to assess its accuracy; which will in turn enhance public interest in the Atlas in the concerned countries and foster a sense of ownership in the project.
Professor Lorna Casselton FRS, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, underlined the significant role the Atlas Project would play in fostering the mutual relationships between the OIC Member Countries and Europe and any others using the common language of scientists as a powerful instrument of diplomacy in order to overcome collectively the global challenges pertaining to health, environment and etc. She expressed her gratitude to be in strong partnership with many prestigious international partners.
The Meeting reviewed the progress made so far in the Atlas Project concerning the pilot projects and discussed several issues pertaining to country case studies, schedule of launching country reports and provided comments and suggestions on the execution of the project. Moreover, country researchers shared experience on conducting pilot projects and lessons learnt from the fieldwork, and exchanged ideas about common approach to conduct country studies, highlighting pertinent points in Atlas Methodology and understanding the process of Atlas research, including the data collection and fieldwork component.
The Meeting also included a special session where project partners presented their objectives in supporting the Atlas Project and how they might fit into broader priorities of these organisations. A discussion on how to use project partner networks and priorities to take further some of the country recommendations also took place.
The Project Steering Group commended the efforts of the project management and adopted several decisions to ensure the expeditious conduct of Atlas reports and their conformity with the project parameters and international standards. They also decided to schedule the launch of first two country reports of Malaysia and Pakistan during the 12th Islamic Summit Conference in March 2011.
For more information about the Atlas Project, please visit the project website.