Egypt - known in the Arabic-speaking world as the “Mother of the World, Mutter der Welt – "مصر أم الدنيا" (Masr - Um al-Dunya) – is one of Germany’s most important strategic partners thanks to its geographical location. Particularly the German-Egyptian Year of Science 2007 set strong impulses for new priorities in the cooperation.

Abu Simbel

© Susanne Ruppert-Elias / DLR

Funding opportunities

The International Bureau at the Project Management Agency of the German Aerospace Centre promotes measures and projects in the scientific and technological (S&T) cooperation with Egypt based on joint German-Egyptian research funds.

In the context of current announcements of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), applications can generally be submitted for grants for joint research projects relating to the bilateral education and research cooperation between Germany and Egypt.

Political framework

The scientific and technological cooperation with Egypt is based on the intergovernmental agreements of 1979 and 1981 as well as on various individual/project agreements concluded between 1980 and 1985. As a conclusion to the joint Year of Science 2007, the two ministries further signed an agreement to implement a joint research fund. Since 2012, Egypt has cooperated with the German Federal Government in numerous projects, e.g. relating to vocational training, university education and research, as part of the transformational partnership.

Highlights of the bilateral cooperation

The German-Egyptian research fund

The German-Egyptian Research Fund GERF provides an institutionalised platform to implement specific impulses from the joint “ 2007 German-Egyptian Year of Science and Technology”. The research funding tool has been continually developed further since 2008 and constitutes a sustainable basis for the priorities and results of the Year of Science.

The joint fund particularly enables teams of young scientists from both countries to carry out innovative and applied research projects relevant to industry. The research results that have been developed are to be applied to concrete applications in a timely manner. A further goal of the bilateral research fund is the support of scientific networks when applying for funding from the EU Framework Programme HORIZON2020 or from national funding programmes.

Entities entitled to apply are German and Egyptian research teams that are active in Egyptian and German research organisations, state or non-state universities, non-academic research institutions or industrial companies, particularly in small- to medium-sized enterprises, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and civic institutions.

Since the joint funding tool was implemented in 2008, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Egyptian Science and Technology Development Fund STDF have published a total of four joint calls for tender (2008, 2010, 2012, 2015) in the fields prioritised in the Year of Science (Biotechnology, Medicine, Material Sciences, Water, Renewable Energies, Humanities and Social Sciences) and one interim announcement was made (2011) specifically aimed at the Humanities and Social Sciences. Between 2008 and today, a total of 51 joint research projects have received funding in the context of the German-Egyptian Research Fund.

The German University Cairo

The first private “German” university abroad - formally a private institution under Egyptian law but with a German name. The German University Cairo is of great importance politically and represents the excellent cooperation between the two countries. In addition to engineering, and applied natural, economic and administrative sciences, its course offer also includes multimedia design, communication and media sciences, management and life sciences.

Since it opened in 2003, the German University Cairo has been increasingly integrated into the bilateral research cooperation with Egypt based on workshops, symposia and the bilateral exchange of scientists. Research capacities and laboratories are expanded continually and systematically. For instance, the materials testing laboratory, which was set up with German support, provides good conditions for scientific and research cooperation projects. A large 40,000 square metre industrial estate was also set up on the GUC’s premises involving well-known German industry partners such as Trumpf and Festo. The project “Digital Media Campus” also resulted in a digital TV and radio channel on the university campus, which offers media and communication technology and defines new interdisciplinary research priorities.

The German University Cairo is exemplary as the biggest project for German research offers abroad so far. The foundation and partner universities of Stuttgart, Ulm and Mannheim are hoping for access to the Egyptian education market based on this cooperation and are simultaneously making a contribution to Baden-Württemberg and Germany in general as sites for science and economics. Not least, all German partners are hoping to attract highly talented students at the German University Cairo to spend time studying and researching in Germany. The objective is a lively and varied exchange. The new Berlin campus of the German University Cairo officially opened in Berlin in January 2012.

Further priorities of the German-Egyptian cooperation

Joint MSc in Sustainable Urbanisation IUSD

The bi-cultural MSc in “Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design” offered by the universities of Stuttgart and Ain Shams in Cairo, which the BMBF has supported financially since 2011 cross-departmentally with the Department of Development Cooperation and the Egyptian Ministry of Universities is one example of the successful cooperation in bilateral study programmes well worth mentioning. This German-Arabic Master’s Programme is aimed at German and Egyptian as well as Arabic graduates in Architecture, Town Planning, Landscape Architecture, Regional Planning and Construction Engineering.

The German Science Centre in Cairo

Globally, German science and innovation institutions are advertising for an internationalisation of science and research. The German Science Centre opened in Cairo in 2013 with the objective of providing a coordinated presence of German science, funding and agent organisations and to achieve more effective advertising for, and hone the profile of, Germany as a research site in Egypt and the North African/Middle Eastern region. In addition to German research and agent organisations such as the Fraunhofer Society for Applied Research, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Orient Institut Beirut, the partners involved in the Science Centre also include higher education institutions such as the Technical Universities in Berlin and Munich, the Free University of Berlin and the Philipps University in Marburg.

The Science Centre provides many opportunities for exchange in the context of the German-Egyptian science, technology and research cooperation. The Science Centre fosters synergies between science, research and economy as well as the state and private sectors by bringing together experts in scientific symposia, workshops and series of talks as well as at trade fairs and training seminars. Particularly young scientists in Egypt benefit from the many networking opportunities. In addition, the Science Centre in Cairo also provides information about current developments in the German research landscape and advice on national and bilateral funding opportunities.