Recent Initiatives to Bridge the Digital Divide
The term “digital divide” was coined to describe inequalities in the availability and usage of technology both within and across national borders. Two new treaties under construction and a new voluntary fund have the potential to help bridge the digital divide. In 2004, Argentina and Brazil put forward a proposal for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to consider the issue of development and to integrate aspects of development in all of WIPOís activities. Consequently, an international Access to Knowledge (a2k) Treaty was drafted independently by representatives of many institutions and organizations worldwide to address the individualís right to access knowledge and how this knowledge can be used to help developing countries. The May 2005 draft of the a2k Treaty was recently discussed at a workshop in London hosted by the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue. Similarly, the Medical Research and Development Treaty was publicly released and submitted to the World Health Assembly Executive Board and the World Health Organization Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Health for deliberation in February 2005. Nations signing this treaty would be pledging to earmark a portion of their gross domestic product to medical research. In a manner akin to the emissions trading in the Kyoto Protocol, countries could earn credits toward their obligatory medical research spending by transferring technology to developing countries. Both of the treaties mandate open access to publicly funded research, among other stipulations.
Finally, the Digital Solidarity Fund, proposed by H. E. Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, was recently established to collect voluntary contributions for creating and strengthening the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in disadvantaged locales. Participating public authorities (local and national) commit to implementing the so-called “Geneva Principle.” Under this agreement, the city or country would either (a) require companies who win its publicly bid ICT contracts to donate at least 1% of the total transaction amount to the Fund, or (b) donate 1% of the amount of its own ICT budget to the fund. The Fundís resources will be distributed according to economic status—60% will go to least developed countries, 30% to developing countries, and 10% to transitional and developed countries—to support existing programs that build ICT capacity and to allocate grants to projects selected by the Fund. Hosted in Geneva, Switzerland, the Fund has received start-up funding totaling Ä1,000,000 from Senegal and the cities of Geneva and Lyon, France. [Sources: Consumer Project on Technology || iConnect-Online eBulletin || Open Access News]
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Free Electronic Delivery of Journal Articles
FreeForAll is an international collaboration of libraries that provides free journal articles to patrons and librarians in developing and less-developed nations. Users in the targeted regions may request up to five articles per week. The instructions for registering and ordering articles through PubMed may be found online, or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. [Source: International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications]
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Did You Know?
The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) is accepting applications for more than 200 postgraduate, postdoctoral and visiting scholar fellowships through its International Programme for Higher Education and Research (IPHER). This program provides scientists from developing countries with the opportunity to study at centers of excellence in other, more advanced developing countries such as Brazil, China and India. The local organizations cover local study costs and provide a monthly stipend to cover board and lodging, while TWAS covers the cost of travel to the host country and the return trip home. Application deadlines range from 1 June to 1 December 2005, and more information about the program is available under the activities section on the TWAS Web site. [Source: SciDev.Net]
The International Association for the Promotion of Co-operation with Scientists from the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (INTAS) has issued its 2005-2006 Open Call for Research Project Proposals. With a total budget of €12 million, this program will encompass internationally collaborative, basic and applied research without thematic restrictions; however, the program does not fund projects for market-oriented technology development. The project consortia must comprise at least two teams from two different INTAS member states. Project durations may be 18, 24, or 30 months, and the maximum funding per project is €150,000. The deadline for pre-proposals is 14 June 2005; see the INTAS Funding Opportunities Web site for further information. [Source: Bioecomed Information Service]
The International Foundation for Science (IFS) and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) have announced a call for applications to two new grant/fellowship competitions. In addition to a regular IFS research grant, both of these fellowships include technical supervision support for one year by a UNU-IAS faculty member and academics from collaborating Japanese universities as well as a one-month stay at the UNU-IAS in Yokohama, Japan. The Agriculture for Peace Fellowship (APF) competition is open to young scientists from sub-Saharan African countries whose research contributes to a better understanding of relationships between agriculture and human security in this region. The Science and Technology Fellowship competition is open to scientists working on technology transfer to developing countries under Multilateral Environmental Agreements or policy research on biotechnology development and transfer to developing countries. Applicants for both programs must fulfill all other IFS eligibility criteria, and both programs have application deadlines of 30 June 2005. [Source: IFS eNews]
The African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI) is a distributed network of mathematics research, training and promotion throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by the Mellon Foundation and the International Mathematical Union, the 2005 AMMSI Postgraduate Scholarships are for masterís and doctoral level studies of mathematics, and the 2005 AMMSI Research/Visiting Scientist Fellowships are for postgraduate research/teaching visits of one to twelve months. The deadline for both programs is 30 June 2005, and the maximum award for each is US$3,000. The program details are available online in English and French. [Source: SciDev.Net]
The Engineering Information Foundation Grant Programs support developmental projects, training programs and instructional projects in engineering education and research. Fields of interest currently include the availability and use of published information, women in engineering and information access in developing countries. The next deadline for proposals is 30 June 2005.
The Sumitomo Foundation awards grants to young scientists (individuals or groups) for environmental and basic science research. Eligible fields include biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and interdisciplinary fields, and the applications must be submitted in Japanese by 30 June 2005.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) have announced the creation of the EMBO/HHMI Startup Grants for Central Europe. Institutions and successful job candidates apply together to gain funding beyond normal start up packages as well as other benefits associated with the EMBO Young Investigator program. The program sponsors are seeking applications from scientists to set up their first independent laboratories in Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia with US$75,000 per year for a period of three years. The closing date for applications is 1 August 2005. [Source: American Society for Microbiology International Alert]
The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Long Term and Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship programs provide three years of postdoctoral support for young researchers with a PhD who have previously had no more than three years of postdoctoral research. Supporting basic research focused on complex mechanisms of living organisms, the fellowships are tenable in fields ranging from molecular and cellular approaches to biological functions to systems and cognitive neuroscience. The deadline will be some time in September 2005.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) awards biomedical grants for researchers from Canada and selected countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela). HHMIís International Research Scholars Program will award five-year grants to support promising scientists working in their home countries. The grants, ranging from US$50,000 to US$100,000/year, are to fund fundamental biomedical research on basic biological processes and disease mechanisms. Clinical trials and research on health education, health-care delivery or health services are not eligible. The competition deadline is 14 September 2005. [Source: SciDev.Net]
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Merit Scholarship Program for High Technology aims to develop technically qualified experts and researchers in the fields of applied science and technology needed for the development of the IDB member countries. The program sponsors three years of doctoral studies or a shorter postdoctoral visit for young applicants from the IDB member countries in fields such as polymer science, biotechnology, nuclear engineering, computer science, chemical engineering, medicine and agriculture. The application deadline is 30 September 2005.
The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences is accepting nominations for the 2005 Kuwait Prizes. Kuwaiti and Arab citizens in the fields of computer science, water resources development, economy of information and development in the Arab world, and medical science and its history may be nominated for these ~US$100,000 prizes. The nominations are due on 31 October 2005. Contact email@example.com for more information. [Source: Chronicle of Higher Education]
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers several fellowship programs that sponsor 6- to 12-month visits in Germany to conduct postdoctoral research in all disciplines. The Georg Forster Research Fellowships are for scholars under 45 years of age from developing countries; the Roman Herzog Research Fellowships sponsor investigators under 35 years of age from central and southeast Europe; and the Humboldt Research Fellowships are for researchers under 40 years of age from all countries other than Germany. Applications for all three programs are accepted throughout the year. [Source: Global Development Network Funding Opportunities]
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Additional Readings of Interest
- “Harnessing Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development” 370 KB pdf
This report was produced by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group to the Consortium on S&T for Sustainable Development, which was established and sponsored by three international scientific organizationsóthe International Council for Science (ICSU), the Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability (ISTS), and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). [Source: ICSU Insight]
- “Innovation: Applying Knowledge in Development”
1.32 MB pdf
This report draws on experiences from throughout the world to show how developing and developed countries have used science, technology, and innovation to achieve their development goals. [Source: SciDev.Net]
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International Symposium: “Whose University Is It?”; Leiden, Netherlands; 8 June 2005
Fourth International Symposium of Science and Art; New Brunswick, New Jersey, US; 9–12 June 2005
BioScience 2005; Glasgow, Scotland; 17–21 July 2005
International Science Conference (ISC) 2005: Science for Humanity; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 3–6 August 2005
Earth System Processes 2 (ESP2); Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 8–11 August 2005
13th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES13); Seoul, Korea; 26–29 August 2005
First World Conference on the Future of Science; Venice, Italy; 21–23 September 2005
4th ASEE/AaeE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education; Sydney, Australia; 26–30 September 2005
6th World Enformatika Conference (WECí05): International Conference on Computer and Information Sciences; Istanbul, Turkey; 26–28 October 2005
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For more information on any of the programs mentioned in this newsletter, please contact:
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
P. O. Box 13975, 3106 East NC Highway 54
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 USA
Telephone: +1-919-549-4691 or +1-919-547-5246