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Agreement signed to establish Newton-Khalidi Fund

By JT - Aug 16,2017 - Last updated at Aug 16,2017

HRH Princess Sumaya shakes hands with Planning Minister Imad Fakhoury during the signing ceremony of an agreement to establish the Newton-Khalidi Fund in Amman on Wednesday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — HRH Princess Sumaya on Wednesday attended the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the UK’s department of business, energy and industry strategies and the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

The agreement aims to establish the Newton-Khalidi Fund, named in honour of the late Osama Khalidi, a Jordanian scholar who had a long career as a biochemistry researcher, a Planning Ministry statement said.

The agreement was signed by the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury and UK Ambassador to Jordan Edward Oakden. 

The signing ceremony was also attended by Khaled Shuraideh, secretary general of the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST). 

The £3.5 million memorandum will be implemented through the HCST and the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) over four years, the statement added.

Areas of cooperation will include research on Jordan’s energy needs, cultural heritage, water security, agricultural technology and food security, biotechnology and biosecurity, nanotechnology and developing the skills and abilities of researchers, according to the statement. 

HRH Princess Sumaya, who is the president of the RSS, said the agreement was the beginning of a “new chapter” in the friendship that has existed between the two countries for decades.

“We are very happy to be joining the Newton family, and we hope the Newton-Khalidi Fund will be more than just a geographical extension of this remarkable initiative to support the growing scientific effort,” she said, adding that “I think it will also mean a shared commitment between our two countries to celebrate cultural heritage based on lessons and legacies of the past.”

The princess said that the areas of common concern listed in the memo reflect a “shared vision” of science-based development that can be “universally applied”, adding that “ideology, race and religion are irrelevant in this regard”. 

“The key question is how we can create a policy and enterprise infrastructure that goes beyond politics and political missions, and I know that Newton-Khalidi Fund can be part of the solution,” she said.

“We look forward to the establishment of the fund officially at the closing ceremony of the World Science Forum in November this year”, the statement quoted the princess as saying.

For his part, Fakhoury said that agreement is part of the “ongoing support and cooperation” between Jordan and the UK. 

The agreement also supports the Jordan 2025 Document, the 2025 Development Agenda and the Executive Development Programme of the Government, including the priorities of the Economic Growth Stimulation Plan and in accordance with the vision of His Majesty King Abdullah, the statement added.

The minister noted that the MoU aims to encourage and support research and innovation capacities in the Kingdom, in order to achieve long-term, sustainable growth and expand cooperation between government policy makers, research organisations, higher education institutions, companies and institutions in research and innovation.

He stressed the “deep-rooted” strategic relations between Amman and London. 

Fakhoury added that the UK is one of Jordan’s main partners in the development process, particularly in supporting vital sectors such as education and water, as well as its “great role” in “standing by Jordan” in the face of the repercussions of the Syrian crisis. 

The UK’s ambassador in Amman, Edward Oakden, said that “today, we pledge to strengthen collaboration between the UK and Jordan in research and innovation, as we aim to build a strong, sustainable and systemic relationship between our science communities.”

 

“The Newton Fund will help to bring together the scientists, researchers and innovators who will find these solutions.  Let’s see what we can discover together,” Oakden said.

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