Big Changes in Egypt: a wake-up call for Arab science

The discontent behind recent protests in Egypt carries lessons for how both science and journalism are handled across the Arab world.

For most Egyptians protesting vociferously — and ultimately successfully — in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere over the past two weeks, the state of the nation’s science will have been far from the top of their complaints.

Nevertheless, researchers are reported to have been prominent among the protesters. This shows that their professional frustrations with the policies of their government towards science and technology (S&T) resonate with the passionate concerns of many other Egyptians about how their country is being run.

Frustrations among scientists in Egypt have been bubbling below the surface for many years. Some have focused on the lack of adequate support for high-class research in the country, where low academic salaries have forced many scientists to either dilute their energies by taking second jobs, or to join the brain drain.

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