Tunisia has unveiled a strategy for scientific development and had a US$76 million loan for modernising its higher education sector approved by the World Bank.
The Arab newspaper Alhayat reported details of the national strategy for scientific research yesterday (27 June).
It requires Tunisia to increase its science budget from less than one per cent of its gross domestic product to 1.7 per cent over the next four years.
The plan allocates US$16 million to be spent in the same period on new scientific institutions and on strengthening existing science centres by creating new research units and laboratories.
Between 2006 and 2010 Tunisia also aims to double the number of researchers working in such units and labs to about 26,000.
To encourage innovation, the country will spend US$7 million on promoting research collaborations between academics and the private sector.
The strategy identifies basic sciences, biotechnology, food science and marine sciences as priority areas.
Earlier this month (15 June) the World Bank approved a US$76 million loan to support higher education and to help create a knowledge-based society in Tunisia.
Tunisia's Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology will spend the funds in three areas.
The first will expand access to higher education. The second will modernise the higher education system and strengthen university autonomy, and the third will provide grants to improve academic quality and institutional performance.