It was in 1960 when the DAAD Regional Office was established on the basis of the German-Egyptian Cultural Agreement. Since then, the academic relations between Egypt and Germany have evolved steadily. The close cooperation has unwrapped new horizons for the scientific bonds of both countries to further develop and flourish. Thousands of Egyptian scholars have benefited ever since from these ties.
Throughout its 60 years in Egypt, the DAAD Regional Office Cairo has been offering a platform for networking, cooperation and research activities between Egyptian and German universities and research institutes to implement hundreds of projects which are of mutual interest. In 2016, the office’s responsibilities also grew to oversee Sudan as well. The budget for the DAAD as an institution as well as for the different funding schemes is derived mainly from various federal Ministries, primarily the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (BMBF), but also from the European Union and a number of enterprises, organisations and foreign governments within the framework of co-financed scholarship programmes.
With various attractive schemes, the DAAD has always continued to offer funding opportunities to Egyptian scientists as well as scientists from Germany for research stays and project funding. Various funding programmes have also escorted the establishment of a number of bilateral master programmes in Egypt such as a Master Course in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for the MENA Region (REMENA), a joint Master in Heritage Conservation and Site Management, Master courses in Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design (IUSD) and International Education Management (INEMA), a Joint Master in Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society as well as in German as a Foreign Language. The DAAD is delighted to see these study programmes serving as role models for the Egyptian Higher Education landscape, contributing to the improvement of research and teaching by developing curricula and modules, with a special focus on the employability of future graduates.
After the success of several training modules in subjects such as Proposal Writing and other further training sessions for DAAD alumni and in recognition of a vast need and demand for skill enhancement among academics in Egypt, the DAAD Regional Office Cairo has professionalized this concept and established the DAAD Kairo Akademie (DKA), with modules taking place since July 2011. During the one-day modules, groups of about 25 participants receive intensive training in the selected subject. The DAAD intends to address the need for further education and capacity building to help strengthen Egyptian students and researchers in international competition by offering opportunities for innovative training rarely found in universities and research institutions here in Egypt. The DKA offers various capacity building endeavours in the field of higher education policy, academia and research. Based on the needs of Egyptian universities and research institutes as well as relevant Ministries, the DAAD assigns trainers and experts to give modules helping the institutions further develop themselves.
In 2017, the DAAD Regional Office Cairo has also launched the COSIMENA project (Clusters of Scientific Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa), as common global challenges such as climate change, population growth or water scarcity call for innovative scientific ideas and interdisciplinary and intersectoral solutions. The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and is setting up various issue driven clusters in the fields of water, energy, health, agriculture, economy, urbanism and cultural heritage. The aim of the project is to intensify scientific collaboration and increase the visibility of networks between researchers and universities in Germany and countries of the Middle East and North Africa. To build on existing partnerships, COSIMENA is harnessing synergies between DAAD funded projects, alumni and partner institutions that can be expanded to the whole MENA region.
Author: Dr Gertje Krumbholz