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Agreement signed to establish El Hassan Research Chair in Sustainability under Newton-Khalidi Fund

By JT - Mar 08,2020 - Last updated at Mar 08,2020

AMMAN — The Royal Scientific Society of Jordan (RSS) and the British Academy have announced the establishment of the Jordan-UK El Hassan Bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability (EHRCS), aimed at enhancing Jordan’s research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable development.

The position is jointly funded by the two organisations under the Newton-Khalidi Fund, according to an RSS statement made available to The Jordan Times on Saturday. 

A competitive call for applications is currently open, with a deadline of May 6, the statement said. 

The Research Chair will work to strengthen research and innovation capacities in the social sciences and humanities in Jordan, promote international research and cooperation with the UK, attract and retain excellent researchers in Jordan, foster excellence in Jordan’s higher education and research sectors and create career pathways for early career researchers, the statement said.

HRH Princess Sumaya, president of the Royal Scientific Society, highlighted the importance of this collaboration, not only for the RSS but also for Jordan as a means of bolstering the humanities and social sciences within Jordan’s scientific research and innovation agenda.

“The solutions to today’s complex challenges may only be found through inter-disciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborative research and innovation,” the princess said in the statement. 

“At the RSS, we believe that the El Hassan Research Chair can become Jordan’s platform to pilot such collaborations and empower a new generation of researchers to engage with non-academic stakeholders and contribute to achieving real and impactful sustainable development,” she noted.

The Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the British Academy Simon Goldhill, for his part, said that “the El Hassan Research Chair in Sustainability seeks to enable the putting forward of innovative solutions to some of Jordan’s most pressing development needs while supporting the creation of a body of highly skilled early career researchers and an effective research environment that will outlast the duration of the Research Chair appointment”.

“This has the potential to significantly contribute to socio-economic welfare in the local context but also strengthen in important ways research links and collaboration between the UK and Jordan,” he added.

British Ambassador to Jordan Edward Oakden congratulated the RSS and the British Academy on this new partnership under the Newton-Khalidi Fund. 

“The Chair is the newest Newton-Khalidi Fund programme to be launched; and we are so honoured that it bears the name of HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal,” the envoy was quoted in the statement as saying. 

“As the founder of the Royal Scientific Society and the Higher Council for Science and Technology, HRH’s vision of placing science at the heart of development is well known… this is the first Research Chair to be launched in the region with support from the Newton-Khalidi Fund,” he added.  

The RSS is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit multidisciplinary science institution established by Royal Charter in 1970 as a national organisation to actively support the development of Jordan through research, sound technical and policy advice, and consultations, the statement said. 

The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences. It aims to inspire and support high achievement in the humanities and social sciences throughout the UK and internationally, and to promote their public value, according to the statement. 

The Newton Fund in Jordan, named the Newton-Khalidi Fund in honour of Usama Al Khalidi, is underpinned by a Memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and was launched at the World Science Forum held at the Dead Sea in 2017, according to the statement.

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