COMSTECH-EMRO/WHO Research Grants Program

Currently this program is not active

The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO/EMRO) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Standing Committee for Science and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) established a joint grant in 2004 to support research in EMR countries (all of which are members of OIC) in applied Biotechnology and Genomics. The overall purpose behind the initiation of the grant was to promote research, encourage networking, generate new knowledge and stimulate the application of biotechnology and genomic driven interventions in health care.

The first call for EMRO-COMSTECH Grant was made in late 2004 and 16 proposals from the member states were funded through the Grant. For the 2nd round of RAB&GH there was a strict condition of collaborative proposals. Therefore, only such proposals were considered eligible for EMRO-COMSTECH Grant in which investigators from two or more institutions from EMRO countries collaborated on a unified research topic pertaining to one of the priority areas specified for the Grant. As a result, 19 proposals were funded in the region involving 8 collaborative groups each comprising 2 or 3 institutes from the same or different countries. As for the 3rd call, 14 collaborative proposals were funded, and in the 4th call 11 proposals for health research were selected.

The main aim of the EMRO-COMSTECH Grant is to focus on application of biotechnological and genomic techniques to strengthen health systems and improve health care. It is expected that the priority research areas identified for the Grant will stimulate and sustain multidisciplinary applied research to exploit the full potential of genome information to underpin applications to human health. Emphasis was put on research aimed at bringing basic knowledge to the application stage in order, to enable real, consistent and coordinated progress for improving the quality of health care in the Region.

The present day genomic and biotechnological research, being interdisciplinary in nature, necessitates team work of diverse capabilities and institutional facilities. Thus, one of the main purposes of EMRO-COMSTECH Grant is to support South-South cooperation for the conduct of applied research. Normally, collaborative research requires a broad range of expertise and participants, with collaboration between researchers in other disciplines, sectors, institutions and geographic locations. However, even a modest collaboration among the researchers of two different organizations/ institutions of the EMR countries is expected to:

  • Synergize the process to overcome obstacles and manage inescapable interdependencies needed for research in genomics and biotechnology;
  • Make services more accessible and effective;
  • Increase the integration of research results into other sectors (e.g., industry, government agencies or departments, community groups, universities) and offer opportunities to aid the dissemination of results;
  • Diversify capability to accomplish tasks (e.g., provide opportunities for trainees to spend time in different laboratories, exchange of data and experience between institutions and sectors);
  • Foster ties between researchers in the academic, community, private and public sectors.

Under COMSTECH-EMRO/WHO joint program sixty research projects in eleven Member States of OIC (Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia) have so far received US$ 784,900 as given in Tables 1 and 2:

Table 1. COMSTECH-EMRO/WHO Grants

S. No.Country NameNo. of GranteesGrant in US$
2005-2006
 Egypt222000
 Islamic Republic of Iran559500
 Jordan118000
 Lebanon226500
 Morocco215000
 Pakistan113000
 Syrian Arab Republic110500
 Tunisia233300
Total16197800

2006-2007

 Egypt344,000
 Iran678,800
 Morocco338,000
 Oman117,700
 Pakistan558,900
 Syria118,000
Total19255,400

2007-2008

 Egypt227,000
 Iran345,000
 Lebanon230,000
 Morocco343,000
 Pakistan345,000
 Tunisia113,000
Total14203,000

2010-11

 Bahrain115000
 Egypt339,200
 Morocco345,000
 Pakistan345,000
 Palestinian Authority115,000
Total11159,200
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