For many years, Egypt has been an important partner for Germany owing to its geographical location. In 2019, the partnership experienced a new highlight with the opening of the German International University of Applied Sciences (GIU AS) in Cairo.

Flagge Deutschland und Ägypten
Germany and Egypt © Thinkstock / Ruskpp

Political framework for scientific and technological cooperation

Scientific and technological cooperation with Egypt is based on the intergovernmental S&T agreements signed in 1979 and 1981 as well as on further individual and project agreements concluded between 1980 and 1985. In 2007, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR) signed an agreement on the establishment of a German-Egyptian Research Fund (GERF) on the occasion of the closing event of the German-Egyptian Year of Science and Technology.

To reaffirm the mutual interest in cooperation in the field of higher education and research, Federal Minister Anja Karliczek and the Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar signed another agreement on 30 October 2018. The intention was to further strengthen transnational education between the two states and guarantee the principles of academic freedom. The opening in 2019 of the German International University of Applied Sciences (GIU AS), another university in Cairo modelled after German universities of applied sciences, was an important step towards achieving these goals.

Joint fund for application-oriented research projects

Egyptian and German researchers have been cooperating even more closely in an increasingly diverse range of activities since Germany and Egypt organized their highly successful joint Science Year in 2007. A jointly financed research fund enables mainly young research teams to carry out innovative, application-oriented and industry-related research projects. The delivered research results will be translated into practical applications even more quickly than in the past. This fund also supports scientific networks which apply for funding from the Horizon 2020 European framework programme and from national funding programmes. The BMBF and the Egyptian funding agency have so far launched more than 90 joint research projects particularly in the areas of natural resources (e.g. water) management, food and renewable energies, health research, information and communication technology, urban and transport planning as well as humanities and social sciences.

Beacons of transnational education

The German University in Cairo (GUC)

The first "German" private university abroad (established as a private institution under Egyptian law with the German name "Deutsche Universität in Kairo") is of great political importance in the long-standing tradition of education cooperation, which started more than a hundred years ago when German parochial schools were established in Cairo and Alexandria. Since 2003, the German University in Cairo has been offering training in English based on German standards not only in the fields of engineering, natural sciences, economics and administration but also in multimedia design, communications and media science, management and life sciences. The GUC works closely with the German business community. For example, the materials testing laboratory set up with German support offers good conditions for cooperation projects between science and industry.

The German International University of Applied Sciences (GIU AS)

Following on from the successful GUC model, the German International University of Applied Sciences (GIU AS) opened its doors in 2019 under the auspices of the Berlin University of Applied Sciences, including UAS7, an association of seven universities with a strong international orientation. Six faculties, e.g. for engineering, biotechnology or computer science, are already active in research and teaching, and six more are planned. Together they cover a wide range of application-oriented research activities which are expected to involve technology companies of various industries in their processes as soon as possible. The autonomously operating GIU AS takes up the German model of practice-oriented UAS education, including internships and practical final theses. The German counterpart, the Berlin-based German University of Applied Sciences, enables students and academics from both countries to engage in close exchange.

Clusters of Scientific Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa (COSIMENA)

German research and innovation centres around the world are campaigning for research in Germany. The German Science Centre Cairo was opened in 2013. By pooling the potential of German science organizations in Egypt, it has developed into the hub of the German-Egyptian science dialogue and the showcase of German science expertise. Taking up this impetus, the COSIMENA project (Clusters of Scientific Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa) followed the Centre's example in 2017. Supported by a large number of organizations from both countries, it is dedicated to pooling existing and implementing potential German-Egyptian cooperative activities in the areas of water, energy, urban planning, health, economy, agriculture and cultural heritage. Formats such as topic-specific conferences, the German Science Day, the German Science Night and various summer schools contribute to a consolidation of the relationship between the science systems of both countries.