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Research represents an important commitment of the American University in Cairo, whether as the fruit of individual faculty effort, or part of an externally funded project. One of the objectives of the undergraduate program is to equip students with the attitudes, skills, and knowledge needed to undertake independent scholarly investigation. In most Master’s programs a thesis is required, providing opportunities for students to explore research topics in depth under the close guidance of faculty advisers. The Doctoral program in Applied Sciences and Engineering requires that the candidates complete a dissertation, which results from a concerted research effort by each candidate under the supervision of a faculty advising committee.
Faculty research is heavily encouraged, and is recognized by the university as an important factor in promotion and tenure decisions. For many years the university has offered research and conference grants to full-time faculty to enable them to attend scholarly and professional conferences and to carry out research either in Egypt or abroad. Faculty of professorial rank may apply for a full-year or a one-semester sabbatical leave every seven years to undertake research and writing, and to participate in the intellectual life of other institutions. Administrative support for research is provided by the Office of the Associate Provost for Research Administration as well as the Office of Sponsored Programs.
In addition, several units of the university are devoted exclusively to research, including the Social Research Center, the Desert Development Center, the Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research and the Youssef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center.
Please consult the AUC website for more information about faculty research interests and projects.
Research Support Offices
Office of the Associate Provost for Research Administration
Director: Associate Provost G. Harman
The Office of the Associate Provost for Research Administration is committed to promoting and strengthening research across the University.
The Office acts as a catalyst in initiating research activities in addition to providing administrative support to AUC faculty. Interdisciplinary activities such as environmental and developmental studies are encouraged. In consultation with the Research Advisory Council, the Office recommends policy and interfaces with the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee on issues related to faculty research.
The Associate Provost for Research Administration handles all University-funded conference, research, research development, mini and teaching enhancement grants. In 2009-2010, 219 faculty members received support amounting to about $624,298. One hundred and twenty nine faculty members received conference grants, fifty-one received research grants, twenty-six received mini grants, three received research development grants, twelve received teaching enhancement grants, and one received a coordination of conference/workshop grant.
The Office publishes lists of faculty research interests and graduate theses in order to raise the profile of research within the AUC community and to encourage networking and collaborative research, in addition to disseminating AUC’s research activities to other educational entities in Egypt and abroad. The Office sponsors the annual AUC Research Conference, which provides a forum for faculty and graduate students to discuss research issues of common interest. The Office provides administrative support for scholarly seminars and conferences held at AUC. The Office of the Associate Provost for Research Administration collaborates with the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Development in promoting externally funded research and soliciting sponsored projects.
The Office of the Associate Provost for Research Administration also coordinates and administers the activities of honorary degrees, Wisner awards, distinguished visiting professors, and merit awards in research, service, and teaching.
Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies
Director: Dean A. Shaarawi
The Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies is dedicated to promoting and strengthening graduate studies and research across the University.
In graduate studies, the Office coordinates graduate student recruitment and admissions, registration, non-academic advising, counseling, orientation and services; administers and monitors fellowships, assistantships, and work-study programs; collaborates with the Office of Student Financial Affairs in developing financial aid programs for graduate students; and coordinates and monitors graduate programs in the University. In consultation with the University Graduate Council, which is composed of the coordinators/directors of the graduate programs in addition to student representatives and chaired by the Dean of Graduate Studies, the Office recommends policy and interfaces with the Senate Student Affairs Committee on issues related to graduate students, and with the Senate Academic Affairs Committee on issues related to graduate programs. The Office works together with the Office of Development and the Office of Sponsored Programs on soliciting external funding for graduate fellowships.
Office of Sponsored Programs
Director: D. Adly
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) represents the University in matters related to external funding for research, training, and public service projects. It reviews agreements, monitors performance and ensures that both university and sponsor terms and conditions are met during implementation of externally funded programs.
The Office assists faculty in the preparation of proposals, including editing, and budget development in accordance with sponsor guidelines and AUC policy. It also keeps the University community updated on grant opportunities, research funding competitions and other relevant information. Proposal writing workshops are offered by the office to faculty and staff to strengthen proposal writing skills.
OSP provides access to searchable databases of information on potential funding sources, such as the Community of Sciences (COS). COS Funding Opportunities is the largest, most comprehensive database of available funding that provides a full range of Internet-based services for researchers in all disciplines. In addition, proposal writing materials, and aids are available at the office for lending to faculty who require some assistance in proposal writing techniques.
OSP also has a web page on the AUC web site with information on OSP services, upcoming grant opportunities, budgetary information and AUC policies regarding external project approval, administration and implementation.
Undergraduate Research Program (UGR)
The Undergraduate Research Program institutionalizes, supports and expands opportunities for undergraduate student research, entrepreneurship and creative achievement. It nurtures amongst the academic community, across the disciplines, a culture of research and development, and the drive to advance the liberal education outcomes of undergraduate inquiry and critical and creative competence.
Among other programs and services, the Program adminsters a conference and mini-grant program for undergraduate researchers and hosts the yearly EURECA conference featuring student research and creative work.
Director: N. Rizk
Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) was established in 2010. It is a center for academic scholarship, research and policy analysis on access to knowledge for development in Egypt and the Arab world. A2K4D promotes multi disciplinary research meant to further conceptualize and investigate the economic, legal, political and social issues confronting access to knowledge in Egypt and the region. Based on solid theoretical foundations, A2K4D research offers rigorous empirical analysis of public policy in areas as diverse as ICTs, software, health, trade, education, culture and agriculture. A2K4D research will provide policy makers, negotiators and international representatives with well-researched intellectual property alternatives, recognizing the relationship between knowledge and human development. Research would also help devise well thought of business models that address the tension between the interests of knowledge users and producers.
A2K4D will serve as a regional research hub for A2K scholars, working towards developing a strong network of academic researchers with partners from civil society, industry, policy bodies and other stakeholders. A2K4D works in close collaboration with the overall global A2K movement and partners within the Access to Knowledge Global Academy (A2KGA)
Director: B. Korany
To counter the widespread perception of academia as an ivory tower, the AUC Forum was established in 2006 as a unique initiative to increase the interaction and dialogue between members of the community and the university’s scholars on important social and political issues, national and international. The AUC Forum applies respected academic standards to the analysis of policy-oriented issues. In addition, it highlights questions that act as a bridge between the Middle East and the wider world. To this end, the Forum, alone or in collaboration with national, regional and international institutions holds conferences, international workshops and panels on timely topics crucial to the region and the world in the 21st century.
Its work includes, at one end, collaboration with United Nations agencies to discuss global issues and send AUC students for internships in New York. At another end, the Forum invites distinguished Arab speakers to answer questions about their intensely debated published autobiographies to reveal issues of the individual in society across time. Through its activities, the Forum goes beyond conventional wisdom and stereotypes about the region to attract attention to deeper currents of thought and behavior in Arab societies in relation to the rest of the world.
The Forum has already published two books under its name:
- Bahgat Korany & Ali E. Hillal Dessouki (eds.): The Foreign Policies of Arab States; The Challenge of Globalization. Cairo & New York, American University in Cairo Press, 2008 (3rd edition).
- Bahgat Korany (ed.) The Changing Middle East; A New Look at Regional Dynamics. Cairo & New York, American University in Cairo Press, 2010.
The possibility of translation for an Arabic edition is already in progress.
- Book publishing
- Research collaboration
For more information about the Forum, please visit http://www.aucegypt.edu/ResearchatAUC/rc/aucforum
Desert Development Center
Professor Emeritus: A. Bishay
Director and Research Professor: R. N. Tutwiler
The AUC Desert Development Center (DDC) was established in 1979 as a center of excellence in applied research and training. As an integral part of AUC, the DDC shares the University’s educational mission and, in particular, the goal of carrying out applied research to address development challenges facing Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa Region. In addition, the DDC serves as a bridge linking together scientists and researchers in the Egyptian national institutions and civil society with their colleagues at AUC, in the Region, and in the global community. The focus of the DDC is on the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of desert communities through increased productivity and economic benefits, enhanced diversity of outputs, and improved conservation of natural resources. The DDC maintains an extensive program of research, training, and informational activities to meet its objectives.
The DDC operates two field research stations. The smaller (11 hectares) is in the urban desert development complex of Sadat City some 90 kilometers northwest of Cairo, where the research emphasis is on small-scale, labor intensive, high value agricultural activities suitable for household enterprises in urban and peri-urban desert situations. The larger research station (240 hectares) is located about 140 kilometers northwest of Cairo in the South Tahrir section of newly reclaimed desert land in Buheira Governorate. At South Tahrir, the research focus is on the needs and problems of new rural settlements in the desert, and especially the adaptation and integration of traditional farm enterprises, together with modern technologies, in sustainable farming systems for new desert settlers. The DDC operates a residential training facility with a capacity of 150 men and women trainees on the grounds of the South Tahrir Research Station. Since 1993, thousands desert farmers have received practical, hands-on training at the DDC Research Stations, where a wide range of operational demonstrations are maintained for instructional purposes. The DDC currently maintains a full time professional staff of over 55 researchers, trainers, and support personnel, in addition to 24 part-time faculty seconded from Egypt’s national universities and research institutes.
As a key institute within the American University in Cairo, the DDC is a non-profit organization obtaining the majority of its operating funds from charitable grants and donations.
Within the strategic goals of research and training for sustainable desert development, the DDC research program can be characterized under four categories:
Externally-funded Research Projects:
These are research activities based on formal proposals with specified outputs and limited duration supported financially from grants by donor organizations. A sample of recently completed and currently operational externally-funded projects include:
- Adaptation and propagation techniques of Australian pine trees (Casuarina species) inoculated with Frankia bacteria strains to promote fast growing, nitrogen fixing shelter belts with low water utilization in new desert farms and communities.
- Local Institutional Frameworks for Poverty Alleviation and Reducing Environmental Degradation in Rural Egypt.
- Assessing the Performance of Water User Associations in Egypt.
- Optimizing water use by annual and perennial crops under different desert farming systems.
- Improved architecture for desert farms and communities utilizing local materials and renewable energy.
- Utilizing renewable energy and recycling agricultural waste in desert farms and communities.
Collaborative Research and Development Programs:
The DDC has established collaborative research and development activities with other research institutions, private sector bodies, universities, and other institutions that have similar interests in desert development. Examples of current collaborative activities are:
- Socio-economic Baseline Survey and Pre-Project Characterization of the New Lands of the East Delta Development Region.
- Collaboration with the Agha Khan Foundation to develop a working model nursery at the DDC South Tahrir Station for the propagation and adaptation of ornamental trees, shrubs, climbers, and ground cover plants in South-Tahrir for establishing a National Park in the old city of Cairo.
- Cooperation with the Sixth of October Company for Agricultural Projects to establish a research and development program for the Shabab Area, West Suez Canal region.
- Cooperation with the East Delta Desert Settlement and Development Project to establish a Socio-economic Baseline and Pre-project Characterization of the settlers and new lands in the East Delta area.
- Cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and the GTZ in the National Project for Improvement of Citrus Production in Egypt.
- Cooperation with the Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate, Agricultural Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation to collect and analyze micro-climatic data at the DDC South Tahrir Station for use in modelling crop growth and pest and disease incidence due to climatic factors.
- Cooperation with Cairo university, Fayyoum Campus on screening for resistance to nematodes in tomatoes, adaptation of improved varieties, and establishment of economically sound organic production systems for small holders.
Individual Research Programs:
The DDC hosts individual post-graduate and undergraduate students, as well as non-degree researchers, provided that the individual research topics contribute to the goals and mission of the DDC. Students may be affiliated with AUC, national, or international universities or institutions.
Operational Experimentation and Assessment:
In-house applied research activities are directed to solving production and sustainability problems on the research stations of the DDC. These activities include conducting experiments and trials, testing new techniques or methods, and establishing demonstrations for training purposes. In addition to addressing immediate problems, operational experimentation and assessment of performance often provides essential information for preparing proposals for externally-funded research projects.
DDC has established a training center unique in Egypt for its excellent residential and educational facilities located on site within an exemplary newly developed desert farm. The DDC training facility has been utilized by international and national training and development agencies; governmental and non-governmental as well as universities, research centers, and individuals.
National Training Programs on Desert Development for University Graduates
Egypt’s success in expanding desert development programs while accelerating their effectiveness depends, in large part, on its ability to produce substantial numbers of people who command basic desert farming skills, and who are well grounded in desert agricultural technology. Competent, action-oriented desert agriculture workers and leaders can be produced through appropriately and purposefully designed training programs.
The DDC has been training new desert settlers since 1993 through grants provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation under the United States Department of Agriculture 416B Program. The residential training at the DDC facilities is tailored to the specific needs of new settlers on small farms, many of whom have no prior experience in agriculture or farm management. The training exposes them to the major issues in developing sustainable farms and farming systems on their newly reclaimed land. In addition, they are given demonstrations and knowledge about renewable energy use and environmentally appropriate house construction and maintenance. Altogether, the DDC has trained thousands of new settlers since the inception of this program in a wide diversity of subjects in sustainable desert agriculture and resource management.
Continuing Education and Short Evening Courses
This program caters for the needs of desert farm managers and owners needing specific technical and managerial expertise. The Program consists of a series of four-week modules with three-hour class instruction twice a week at AUC in the evenings and a full working day at the DDC sites each weekend. The courses and field visits emphasize hands-on experience and deal mainly with practical problems faced by the participants. A total of almost one thousand men and women have participated in this program.
Training Programs with National Universities
The DDC provides national universities in Egypt with a variety of summer and winter session opportunities for training their students in the applied aspects of desert agriculture and development. These arrangements include the Open Education Program with Cairo University and Summer Session Practicum activities with Alexandria University, Cairo University, and Tanta University. These group-training sessions are in addition to individual student research programs conducted at the DDC research sites.
Individual Special Training
DDC offers tailored training programs for both Egyptians and non-Egyptians upon the request of individuals or their sponsors.
The DDC offers two different types of internships: academic internships and residential internships. Both of these categories are open to students within and outside of the AUC community.
Academic internships are set up in consultation with interested students’ academic departments. Working with DDC staff, graduates and undergraduates establish terms for their internships, including a project schedule and provisions for evaluation. If the conditions of the internship are met, students gain academic credit.
Residential internships are designed for students who wish to further their knowledge of desert economic activity by living on site. Such internships may be tailored to individual needs by focusing on specific areas of interest, such as irrigation design, banana cultivation, etc.
The DDC also sponsors one intern through AUC’s Presidential Intern program each year.
Direct Services to Desert Communities
In recent years, DDC interaction with desert communities has extended to virtually all the major desert development areas in Egypt. In addition to the areas west of the Delta where the DDC facilities are located, the DDC has been active in the East Delta zone, Port Said reclamation area, Fayyoum settlement area, East Oweinat area and Tushka in the far south. Services provided to desert communities include:
- Land survey and soil, water and plant chemical and physical analysis,
- Soil, water and plant microbiological analysis (nematode, insects, mold, rot, pathogens, etc.),
- Clinical services for diseased plants,
- Improved, higher value crops and varieties, which the DDC has tested and adapted to desert conditions. Tissue culture products and selected citrus fruit and wood-trees species are representative examples,
- Consultancies and advisory services for farm land use planning and management,
- Extension and outreach services are provided to farmers and investors through on-and off-farm demonstrations, meetings and pamphlets,
- DDC, in cooperation with the National Illiteracy Education Program, has offered evening literacy classes for both men and women in villages neighboring DDC research stations.
Director: A. Tolba
KCC is the first case center in Egypt. It was established in 2007 to publish case studies and other educational services, which provide students with participant-centered learning tools. The center aims at serving its various stakeholders including students, Faculty, industry, and training companies, through providing them with high-quality cases and business research on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Its services are dedicated to improving the quality of business education, connecting businesses and students in the region, and ultimately contributing to the betterment of the society through academic research and practical applications.
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research
Director: M. Shahin
The Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research promotes a scholarly multidisciplinary approach to the study of the United States of America addressing the concerns and needs of Egypt and the Arab world. To this end, the Center’s programs facilitate, encourage, and disseminate objective, in-depth research on American subjects. It seeks to enhance the collection of library materials necessary to support students and scholars from AUC and beyond in serious research on American subjects and to facilitate access to those resources. It organizes conferences, seminars, lectures, short courses and publications designed to contribute to a more sophisticated analysis of America’s varied societies and cultures among academics, professional groups and interested publics in Egypt and the Middle East.
Located at AUC, the Center reaches out to Arab scholars promoting collaborative scholarly activities with research institutions across the Arab world and throughout the globe.
Social Research Center
Director and Research Professor: H. Rashad (Demography)
Habib Ayeb (Geography), R. Hamed (Statistics), Z. Khadr (Demography), R. Langsten (Sociology), S. Mehanna (Political Science), R. Saad (Anthropology), S. El-Saadani (Demography), S. Shawky (Public Health), S. El Sheneity (Statistics), H. Sholkamy (Anthropology), H. Zaky (Statistics)
The Social Research Center was established in 1953 to conduct and encourage social science research in Egypt and the Middle East. The program aims to train researchers, and to guide and assist graduate students, scholars, and organizations engaged in social science research in the area. The SRC cooperates with agencies of the Egyptian Government as well as with universities and research institutes in Egypt and abroad.
The Center’s Program
The Center’s research program is multidisciplinary and combines qualitative and quantitative approaches to inquiry. It strives to inform policy formulation and implementation while contributing to knowledge in the social science disciplines.
Emphasis in the Center’s substantive program is on health and gender and their social structure, social problems, social change, and development.
In the past, SRC has conducted studies of the Nubian communities, before and after relocation; the resettlement of reclaimed land; the historical and ecological development of Cairo; evaluation of urban neighborhood services; social and economic security in Egypt; agricultural marketing; farm mechanization and agricultural labor; patterns of cooperation among farmers; population and fertility, a broad spectrum of development issues, the role of women, urbanization, poverty, social epidemiology, maternal and child health, water and sanitation and the environment.
The recently introduced thematic directions of the Social Research Center include five programs. They are: “Gender and Women’s Empowerment”, “Health Inequities and their Policy Implications”, “Investment Climate Assessment and Economic Development”, “Social Policies and Poverty Alleviation” and “Population Challenges in the Arab Region”.
In addition to its research activities, the SRC organizes training programs in various aspects of research methods and analytical techniques for the benefit of social scientists from the Middle East and North Africa. It convenes conferences, symposia, and workshops on topics included in its research agenda. The Center aims to contribute to developing skills and building institutional capabilities in the region as well as to advancing public debate about priority social issues.
For more information please refer to SRC website at: www.aucegypt.edu/src
The Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender & Women’s Studies
Director: M. Rieker
The Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies [IGWS] is a multi-purpose and interdisciplinary center that serves scholars, activists and policy makers interested in gender and women’s studies in the Arab world, Southern Mediterranean, Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran and Africa. The primary function of the Institute is to serve as resource nexus within and through which research projects, educational programs, conferences, workshops, seminars and policy debates on gender and women’s issues are engaged.
The John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement
Director: B. Ibrahim
The Gerhart center is a resource for the promotion of philanthropy and civic engagement in the Arab world. Established in 2006, the center aims to further the university’s mission to advance social responsibility and active citizenship. Our mission is to promote social change in the Arab region through building a culture of effective giving and civic responsibility.
The Gerhart center’s work on civic engagement includes interfacing with Arab universities to become more engaged with their surrounding communities and promoting cross-cultural understanding and diversity through international programs with a focus on local community service. Moreover, the center encourages and facilitates the practice of community based learning as a fundamental approach to effective teaching and fosters social innovation through student leadership programs, seminars for young professionals, and programs to link government institutions with civil society organizations.
On philanthropy the Gerhart center acts as a catalyst providing technical consulting services to start-up and expanding philanthropic institutions in the Arab region. It also collaborates with the private sector to deepen the understanding of the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Among the key areas of the center’s work is documenting the status of Arab philanthropy while highlighting best practices, and promoting networking opportunities and strategic alliances for enhanced philanthropy in the Arab region and internationally.
The Gerhart center also engages in research and documentation on subjects ranging from motivations of youth activism to mapping of Arab philanthropy and disseminates information widely through a quarterly newsletter, a series of scholarly working papers and website www.aucegypt.edu/research/gerhart/Pages/default.aspx
For information, please send e-mail to email@example.com
The Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center
Director: Sh. Sedky
The Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center (YJ-STRC) was established as a result of the generous support of 1968 AUC graduate Yousef Jameel. The center is interdisciplinary and draws on the expertise of the university’s engineering and science departments. The center supports a variety of nanoscience and technology-oriented projects, which make use of the center’s state-of-the-art equipment.
Research activities are centered around generic imaging, analysis and fabrication equipment and focus on nanostructured materials, surface chemistry, biotechnology and design and fabrication of micro-electromechanical systems. People are the center’s key asset and, therefore, the center aims at attracting high caliber researchers from around the world who, together with the current members, contribute to its research themes and help steer its futures research activities.
The mission and main objectives of The Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center are:
- To establish an internationally competitive research activity at AUC resourced and supported to the highest standards.
- To serve the research interests of the faculty and students in the departments of the School of Sciences and Engineering within the current and projected scope of activities in the Center.
- To interact through cooperative research projects with local regional and international institutions of higher learning and research.
- To forge links with industry.
- To become a recognized Center of Excellence locally, regionally and internationally.
The Center has five main research themes:
- Nanostructured Materials
- Surface Chemistry
The Center offers a limited number of Research Assistantships Graduate Fellowships and Doctoral Fellowships. Research Associates are Co-Principal Investigators who contribute to the Center’s research projects from national or international organizations.
The Center’s laboratories are equipped with state of the art facilities, and include a Central Laboratory and satellite laboratories such as the Biotechnology Lab located in the Biology Department, the Photonics Lab, a Clean Room facility located in the Physics Department, and a Materials Lab located in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
For more information, please visit the center’s website at: www.aucegypt.edu/research/jameel/Pages/default.aspx