The 4th session of online presentations being held since the 23rd Coordinating Council Meeting was convened on 29th September 2020. Three of COMSATS Centers of Excellence: Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization (TIRDO), Tanzania; National Research Centre (NRC), Egypt; and National Mathematical Centre (NMC), Nigeria, presented reports on their activities, developments and achievements during the period 2019-2020. Apart from officials of COMSATS Secretariat hosting these sessions, the presentations were virtually attended by 18 representatives from 11 Centres of Excellence in Colombia, Egypt, Gambia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Turkey.
Dr. Lugano Wilson, Director of Engineering Development, TIRDO, gave an overview of his organization’s core functions, technical capacity, research and development activities, technical advisory services, and future vision. TIRDO’s activities during 2019 include: research and development of coal briquetting; development and transfer of mushroom substrate blocks; value addition on leather and leather products in pastoral areas in Arusha region; and controlling post-harvest losses through hybrid biomass solar drying technology.
Some other developments vis-à-vis consultancies and technical services provided and future programmes of the Organization were also shared. Dr. Wilson informed that TIRDO has produced COVIDOL for battling COVID-19 pandemic, which is a natural blend of plants with zero addition of chemicals. Dr. Wilson also noted that the activities of TIRDO are highly related to the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 6, 7, 9 and 13. It was mentioned that TIRDO is collaborating with other Network members, including Industrial Research and Consultancy Centre (IRCC), Sudan; and TUBITAK’s Marmara Research Center (MAM), Turkey.
In his presentation, Prof. Hosam El-Sayed, Assistant Vice President for Research, NRC, Egypt, stated that his Centre is a major multi-disciplinary R&D Institute, and is the largest of all institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Scientific Research of Egypt. He noted the research output of his Centre during 2019 as: 2,180 publications (SCOPUS), 21 approved patents, 71 NRC awards, 36 convoys, and 233 book chapters. He also shed light on the main axes of 12th NRC Research Plan (2019-2022) focusing strategic industries, frontier sciences, water, energy, agriculture and food, health and population, community and sustainable development. Prof. Hosam informed that NRC made funds available for various projects including technology transfer and assigned research projects as well as collaborative research projects with Italy and Romania.
While noting the NRC’s efforts against COVID-19, Prof. Hosam stated that NRC funded eight research projects to face COVID-19 and pre-clinical trials for four COVID-19 vaccines are also underway.
Collaborations with other centres highlighted by Prof. Hosam included establishment of Centre of Excellence for Research & Applied Sciences on Climate Change & Sustainable Development of National Research Centre at the start of 2020. Other cooperative measures with Centres include: an MoU signed with the International Centre for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES), China; COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Pakistan; and a Letter of Intent with the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), Bangladesh.
The final presentation of the session was covered by Prof. Stephen E. Onah, Director, NMC, Nigeria. After a brief background of the Centre since its establishment, Prof. Onah highlighted the activities during 2019-20. He informed that 6th International Conference on Mathematical Analysis and Optimization: Theory and Applications (ICAPTA 2019) was organized by NMC, in which speakers were invited from USA and Benin. Moreover, a 5-day capacity-building workshop was organized for Mathematics Teachers of Federal Unity Colleges, and the 2019 National Mathematics Competition for University Students were also held at NMC.
NMC is collaborating with the National Defense College (NDC) and Baze University of Abuja for the following research projects:
- Big Date Analysis and Simulation of Terrorism Activities in Nigeria; and
- Development of Big Data Security Architecture for Enhancing National Security.
Prof. Onah also highlighted NMC’s progress on UNESCO Chair – Research Group on Capacity Development for Algebraists; Ethno-Mathematics Research Group; Computational Mathematics Research Group; and Artificial intelligence (AI) and Computer Human Interactions (CHI) Research Group, among others.
Prof Onah informed that inadequate funding and poor ICT Infrastructure; non-availability of reliable data are key challenges being faced by NMC. Regarding the future perspective, Prof. Onah stated that NMC is planning to work on a new project ‘Mathematical Modeling and Simulation on Climate Change and Environmental Pollution’ under the COMSATS’ International Thematic Research on Mathematical Modeling.