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The European Union (EU) is taking steps to attract more scientists from Arab nations into its main research funding programme, the Framework Programme.

Later this week, European research commissioner Philippe Busquin will sign new agreements on science and technology cooperation with Morocco and Tunisia, and a further agreement with Egypt is likely to be reached later this year.

Officials hope the move will boost Arab science, nurture political dialogue in the Middle East, and fend off criticism that the EU discriminates in favour of Israel.

Link to Nature news story

Reference: Nature 423, 906 (2003)