Science is at a near-standstill in Iraq, having been deteriorating since the 1991 Gulf War. Laboratory experience is lacking and reputable scientists find they are unable to work.
In this article, Richard Stone describes how the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) and US-based Sandia National Laboratories plan to speed the reconstruction of Iraq's science capacity. Priorities identified by the initiative include cancer diagnosis and treatment, aquaculture, wetland restoration and monitoring of water quality.
The ASTF-Sandia programme hopes to raise US$50 million for the first 12-18 months of operation, and has already identified 170 proposals for serious consideration. In the meantime, it suggests that selected Iraqi scientists be offered temporary 'safe havens' in Arab and other institutions.