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Iran will host a centre to promote technology transfer and industrial development among members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).

IOR-ARC, based in Mauritius, consists of 18 coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean, including countries in Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia.

The Regional Center of Sciences and Technology Transfer (RCSTT) — launched last week (28 October) — aims to facilitate the transfer of sustainable and appropriate technology, such as nanotechnology, to and between countries in the group.

The development of scientific workforces, policies and ways to meet international standards in industrial production will also be priorities.

To achieve these aims, the RCSTT will design projects to exploit new areas of technology, as well as organising training programmes, holding conferences and promoting networking between research institutions and industry.

The centre will be hosted by the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology and will be supported by US$200,000 annually from the Iranian government. The funds will support the activities of the RCSTT as well as its facilities and staff.

"RCSTT is only one example of Iranian initiatives to strengthen scientific capacity, develop human resources and promote innovation-based industrial development in developing countries," Mohammad Taeb, an Iranian technology transfer expert and former coordinator of the research and human capacity development programme in the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Japan-based UN University, told SciDev.Net.

Taeb added that Iran is also building a UN Industrial Development Organization centre for South–South industrial cooperation to stimulate collaboration between developing nations in industrial innovation.

The country is also setting up networks of nanotechnology institutions and researchers, virtual universities and science and technology parks to strengthen research capacity, science education and innovation-based industries in the Islamic world.  

"RCSTT is a good step from Iran, an emerging regional scientific power, towards promoting South–South science cooperation with the aim to make developing countries technologically self-reliant," says Hassanuddeen Abd Aziz, associate professor at the faculty of economics and management sciences at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.