Bill to Support Scientific Research in Muslim World

From Salman Hameed of Irtiqa:

In the past few months, I have posted several items about science and education initiatives in the Muslim world. Some of this follows from President Obama’s Cairo speech and his appointment of science envoys. Even if there is no immediate impact, these efforts, I think, are going to have a net-positive impact if employed with long-term effects in mind. Yes, there is a danger of the United States appearing to be a patronizing power or being perceived as coming in with some sinister motives. However, there is also the real need in much of the Muslim world for scientific intellectual input and the development of an infrastructure that can sustain high-quality research in the long run. Since there are economic benefits also tied in with this development, my guess is that a positive engagement will, in the end, win out against trepidation over the U.S. involvement. I may sound like a broken record here, but I hope that this engagement goes beyond applied sciences and that there is a serious effort to invest in pure sciences as well (and the related issue of providing safe space for free speech and tolerance of other ideas).
A bill has now been introduced in the House of Representatives, co-sponsored by a Democrat (Howard Berman of California) and a Republican (Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska), that wants to provide grants for scientific research to universities, businesses, and institutes in the Muslim world.
From Nature Medicine:

The Global Science Program for Security, Competitiveness, and Diplomacy Act … would provide grants of up to five years to universities and businesses and fund infrastructure for research in a number of specific fields, including multiā€“drug-resistant and water-borne diseases, renewable energy, and nuclear nonproliferation, among others. Research into sensitive subjects such as bioterrorism and select agents would not be funded. The bill, which does not specify a budget, also aims to create a “global virtual science library” that would make scientific journals available at little to no cost.

This bill is in its early stages and has to first go through the Committee on Foreign Affairs as well the relevant science committees of both the House and the Senate before it can be brought up for a vote in the respective chamber of Congress.

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