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Monday, 18 April 2022

Egyptian research centers are showing strength in regional rankings

Egyptian research centers are showing strength in regional rankings: Nine Egyptian research institutes are among the 20 best scoring institutions in the region, according to Spanish research organization SCImago’s MENA region Research Center Rankings. A total of 89 Egyptian research centers were included in SCImago’s first annual MENA region research rankings — more than any other country — which assessed 391 institutes from 22 countries in the region. Egyptian research centers appeared to be among the highest performing institutes in the region across most metrics, with the National Research Center (NRC) ranked as the strongest of the pack.

Rankings are based on three major criteria: Research, innovation and society. Some 40% of SCImago’s ranking model comes from research performance, which tracks metrics like the quality of publications produced by these centers, the frequency of their output, and collaboration with international partners and industrial players. Innovation snaps up another 40% of the ranking and measures the technical impact of their work based on patents and patent citations. The remaining 20% of the weighting looks at societal metrics such as web presence and their contribution to sustainable development goals.

Breaking things down a little further: Egypt’s stem-focused NRC topped SCImago’s overall rankings and research score — and with the exception of the Qatar Foundation, did so by a landslide. NRC was ranked second regionally in the society score, surpassed only by the Qatar Foundation, and third when it came to innovation, outperformed by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and, again, the Qatar Foundation.

Egyptian institutions generally fared best in innovation, where the country holds 11 of the top 20 slots on the rankings, despite the country’s best performing institute ranking third behind Qatar and Saudi on the same metric. When it came to research, Egyptian institutions held 10 of the top 20 spots on Scimago’s rankings and six of the top 20 slots for their society scores.

How does that compare to our regional peers? Despite the low count (with 10 total institutes listed for the country), Qatar’s research centers were the most promising after Egypt’s. They are followed by Saudi Arabia and Algeria, who tied for the number of institutes listed in the top 20 overall performers. The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and the Qatar Foundation were mainstays in the best performing research centers across all categories.

Who’s involved? The rankings are sponsored by Egypt’s Higher Education and Scientific Research Ministry, which shares “insights related to research centers and strategies,” according to SCImago. Netherlands-based academic publishing company Elsevier and its Scopus platform are the main data providers for the rankings, which SCImago then develops into its final rankings.

And how are research institutes chosen? All MENA region research centers that do not belong to a higher education institute and are conducting non-health related research have been included in these rankings, according to SCImago. But there’s one more rule: All research centers need to have published at least one academic paper in a journal on the Scopus database at some point between 2016-2020 to be eligible.

As we’ve noted before, scientific research in Egypt is in good shape: Regionally, Egypt ranked 5th in terms of citations between 1996 -2021, sitting above the likes of Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, and the UAE and below only Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Iran, according to Scopus data. The latter three countries were not included in Scimago’s rankings. When it comes to innovations relative to investments in the inputs that should make them possible, Egypt does fairly well too, according to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization’s 2021 Global Innovation Index (pdf). Egypt’s overall strong performance comes despite individual researchers having a hard time going about their business, mostly as a result of a lack of funding and challenges in acquiring the basic equipment necessary to complete their research.


Your top education stories for the week:

  • Earnings watch: Private sector education outfit CIRA reported EGP 943.9 mn in revenues during the first half of its fiscal year, rising 24% y-o-y. Education outfit Taaleem saw an 8% y-o-y increase in its bottomline in 1H 2021-2022 to EGP 139.5 mn.
  • The Planning Ministry and MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) have launched the Egypt Impact Lab, which will work to connect academics and government partners to strengthen our poverty alleviation policies.
  • The Financial Regulatory Authority has joined the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s International Network on Financial Education, an initiative launched in 2002 to improve financial literacy.

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