Bridging Syria’s Bio-Tech Gap

biofuel-technology-syriaSyria’s building its environmental research infrastructure one Masters at a time

In addition to de-congesting its markets, albeit at the expense of certain locals, and improving local and foreign knowledge about Syria’s extraordinary biodiversity, the country appears to be taking important steps to educating their public about environmental issues. Often the unsung heroes spend their lives doing critical research, which if any good is then applied to real-world scenarios. Thanks to the National Commission for Biotechnology, developed in concert with the Ministry of Higher Education in 2002, Syria is beginning to close the East-West gap in biotechnology and other critical environmental research.

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In addition to creating a National Network for Biotechnologies in order to better facilitate knowledge-sharing across Syria’s various research centers and Universities, the National Commission for Biotechnology facilitates several of its own research programs.

“Dima al-Haj Turki, Agricultural engineer, said that she is currently working on making crops that provide sugar more adaptable to local climate, mainly through the use of sweet white corn, in addition to the possibility of making biofuel from this crop,” according to DP News.

Other research interests include finding real-world applications for biotechnology and other green technology, and appropriate methods to deal with agricultural waste. Also on the agenda is the potential development biofuel, organic fertilizers, and genetic crops.

Cooperative science

In cooperation with Egypt, Iran, France, and Turkey, the commission employs 25 Masters Students, 5 PhDs, and 40 engineers.

“In 2009, 12 of the Commission’s research projects were published in scientific journals, while 8 of its engineers received master’s degrees from Damascus University, Aleppo University, and TU Berlin, in addition to receiving several awards such as the UNESCO’s award for best young female researcher,” according to DP.

At the moment, while waiting for its own research and training facility near Sabboura, the Commission has its headquarters at the Faculty of Agriculture at Damascus University.

:: image via jurvetson and story via DP News

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