Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation
Between Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe

Policy Context

Africa-EU STI policy landscape



The administrative system of Egypt is centralised and the research system follows this organisational model. The 27 governorates have little power to decide on S&T and innovation priorities although many of them host universities, technical colleges and public research centres, which are spread along the Nile River, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean coast.

Profile developed by: Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Austria (data as at 2013). To submit comments and/or requests for corrections, write to 


Outline of Research and Innovation System

Science and innovation policy decisions are taken at the central government, where the main actor is the Ministry of Scientific Research (MSR). It manages the Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Programme as well as various international cooperation schemes that aim to foster networking of research institutes. A High Council for Science and Technology (HCST) assists the President and the Government to prepare, coordinate and lead the reforms in this sector. It is the highest consultative body for priority setting and policy orientation.

In parallel to the Ministry of Higher Education (MHE) and MSR, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology execute measures to promote innovation and technological development of the business sector and the economy in general. Other ministries are also active in the research field, such as the Ministries of Agriculture and Land reclamation, Water Resources and Irrigation, Health, Energy and Electricity, Petroleum.

Some ministries implement the RDI Policy through their affiliate organisations, such as the Industrial Modernisation Centre of the Ministry of Trade and Industry or the Information Technology Industry Development Agency of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. A large number of research institutes support the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation as well as the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation. The universities are supervised by the MHE and coordinated by the Supreme Council of Universities. The largest research centre by the number of employed researchers is the National Research Centre, affiliated to the MSR.

The public efforts are not however adequately accompanied by private sector investments. Business spending for RTD is very low and is not registered in national statistics. Although the productive fabric of the country includes some important companies with international reputations, it seems that the instrument for technological modernisation and enhancement is mainly the acquisition of embodied technology from abroad. The plan to raise GERD to 1% of GDP by 2015 is a challenge, due to the insufficiency of public resources and the low involvement of the private sector in research funding. (Erawatch 2013)

S&T Policy

The Presidential decision to launch the Decade for Science and Technology (2007-2016), followed by the Governmental decision to implement the "Developing Scientific Research (2007-2016) Plan" through the MHE and MSR, are guiding the STI Policy in Egypt.

The "Developing Scientific Research Plan" sets the general directions for the STI Policy and is continuously enriched with new schemes and initiatives aiming to enhance the quality of public research, generate research activities in the business sector, and enlarge the exposure of the national research to international competition. The MSR itself, as well as the National Council for Science and Technology, were established to enforce the plan.

Since then, specific programmes have detailed and consolidated this strategy adding particular components, such as education, manufacturing, energy, environment, agriculture, health etc. Some of these activities are supported or co-financed by foreign governments or international organisations. Moreover, the Higher Education Reform Strategy was established to modernise the universities and technical colleges. The Reform Strategy is implemented, with the assistance of the World Bank, through the Higher Education Enhancement Project and its individual components.

With regard to sectorial policies, priorities are set by the HCST but they are specified at operational level also by the funding organisations such as the competent ministries. Together with ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology, food, health and water management are important priorities.(Erawatch 2013).

The main actor of the STI Policy is the Ministry of Scientific Research (MSR). It manages the Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Programme as well as various international cooperation schemes that aim to foster networking of research institutes. The MSR  manages  the project funding instruments with input on priority setting by the HCST, but also other ministries. The identified priority areas by HCST are renewable energy, water resources, health, food and agriculture, space technology, ICT and socio-economic sciences and humanities. The priorities of common RTD activities with other countries and the EU are defined in the joint committees of management of the relevant agreements. The priorities as set by the HCST are aimed at contributing to solving some of the socio-economic challenges in the country.

Alongside the RDI programme, the Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF) is the most important national research policy instrument. The RDI and the STDF are horizontal and support thematic actions through institutional funding and targeted calls. The RDI programme emphasises innovation and business RTD, and promotes RTD that supports the development of the traditional sectors of the economy using modern technologies and the endogenous development of these technologies The calls of STDF are as broad as "capacity building" and "sustainable food production" or as focused as "hepatitis C virus". The STDF's Research Support and Technology Development Grant (RSTDG) covers projects in several areas, which are: New and renewable energy, water resources and desalination, life sciences, food and agriculture, space technology and its applications, information and communication technology, social sciences and humanities, industrial development, urban planning and housing, advanced and new technologies (e.g. biotechnology) related to any of the above mentioned areas or to prototype development, feasibility demonstration and concept validation.

Both the RDI and STDF support the participation of businesses in research projects and the exploitation of results. The domestic and foreign companies residing in Egypt are eligible to participate in the applications, depending on the type of the project. International cooperation programmes also contain components eligible for businesses, while the Framework Programmes of the EU offer opportunities for cooperation between Egyptian universities and European firms and the Egyptian firms, European firms and research entities.

Other ministries also have research support instruments in place. The Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Health have their own research instruments but also cooperate with the MSR to identify research priorities and to use the instruments of this Ministry to fund targeted research activities. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is promoting access to and the development of ICTs in the country. In the ICT sector, the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) promotes collaboration between industry and the research system. A Nanotechnology Research Center was established jointly by ITIDA, the STDF and IBM Corporation. The ITIDA also signed an agreement with the Social Development Fund to help small and medium-sized ICT businesses with low interest loans to overcome the current economic crisis and expand their operations.

A Centres of Excellence Programme (CoEP) funds applied research conducted by consortia of experts from academia and industry alike. These experts lead teams of researchers to produce top-quality products and services that have significant social and commercial value to industrial and governmental entities. (Erawatch 2013)

Key R&D Figures

The aim is to raise GERD to 1% of GDP by 2015. This target is deemed challenging due to the insufficiency of public resources and the low involvement of the private sector in research funding.

The implementation of the country's policy is based on both institutional and project funding mechanisms. The former are addressing mainly the annual needs of the universities and the public research centres in salaries and other operating costs as well as some basic investment in infrastructures, while the latter, of increasing importance, are addressing the needs of the economy and society, as well as the long term requirements of the research community. The institutional allocation of the budget appropriations could indicate the thematic orientation of the national policy but the introduction of project funding is blurring this calculation. Nevertheless, it is clear that the largest research area in Egypt is agriculture including the related water and environmental research.

The government has continued to implement these two basic instruments, RDI and STDF. The RDI Programme is extended through 2013 with a budget of €20m and has broadened its scope. The STDF announced the inauguration of its new branch in the National Research Centre that supports researchers in technology development, IPR management and preparing innovation projects. Moreover, the STDF called for applications to the Research Support and Technology Development Grants, the Demand-Driven Programme, the Short-Term Fellowship Programme and the Centres of Scientific Excellence Programme. In addition, the Academy of Scientific Research & Technology (ASRT) launched the scheme “EquipME” to strengthen the research potential. The MSR and the STDF are also active in issuing calls for proposals jointly with competent authorities of foreign countries.





GERD ('000 in current PPP$)




GERD (in '000, PPP$, constant prices 2005)




R8D intensity (GERD as % of GDP)




GERD per capita (current PPP$)




GERD per capita (PPP$ constant prices 2005)




GERD per researcher (FTE in '000 PPP$ constant prices 2005




GERD per researcher (HC in '000 current PPP$)




GBAORD (€ million)




GBAORD as % of GDP




BERD (€ million)




Business sector R8D intensity (BERD as % of GDP)




GERD financed by abroad as % of total GERD




R8D performed by HEIs (%GERD)




R8D performed by PROs  (%GERD)




R8D performed by private sector




New doctorate graduates




Percentage population aged 30-34 having completed tertiary education




Nb of students in tertiary education per 100,000 inhabitants




Employment in Knowledge-Intensive Activities (manufacturing and services) as % of total employment








Source: Erawatch 2013

Download Supporting Documents

  1. Egypt Country Profile (AfDB)
  2. Egypt STI Profile (OECD)
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