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The Role of Chemistry and Biology in the Future Development of Iran Mojtaba Shamsipur Razi University T he publication rate of Iranian scientists in international journals has q Â uadrupled over the past decade. More than 30 percent of publications belong to the field of chemistry alone. In fact, Iranian scientific output has skyrocketed since 1993, placing the country well ahead of most of the Islamic countries (currently second after Turkey). Meanwhile, the average impact factor of the Iranian papers has also risen considerably. The admirable advances in the field of science and technology, brought about after the Islamic revolution of 1979 in the country, have transformed Â Iranian lives in a multitude of ways. This is quite evident in almost every facet of human endeavor, including the economy, health, transportation, communication, agricul- ture, engineering, and so forth. In the current 20-year perspective of Iran, science and technology are considered an imperative for sustainable national develop- ment, with the national goal of self-sustainment in all scientific fields. During the past two decades, the extensive high-level research in the chemi- cal and biological sciences together with the outstanding promotion of scientific activities by the Iranian Chemical Society and Iranian Biological Society have also strongly influenced the promotion of their interfacial sciences, including biological chemistry, biotechnology, nanoscience, and nanotechnology. During this period, the government of Iran has increased investments in support of fun- damental and applied research throughout the country and especially in the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology. According to the fourth social, economic, and cultural development plan, nanotechnology is one of Iranâs priorities in tech- nology. The government has established a special committee for nanotechnology development (National Committee for Nanotechnology), which is headed by 61
62 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE the Deputy President and composed of representatives of six ministries and five experts and managers. Since the mid-1980s, the country has witnessed the birth and rapid growth of several highly productive research institutes where biologists and especially chemists play key roles. They include the National Research Center for Genetics Engineering and Biotechnology (NIGEB) and the Institute of Biosciences and Biotechnology, with widespread activities in genetics and molecular biology, medical biotechnology, plant biotechnology, animal and marine biotechnology, and environmental biotechnology. The Iran Nanotechnology Laboratory Network, with 39 main member laboratories, provides researchers and active industries in nanotechnology with laboratory services and covers most of their technical needs. Most of the primary equipment relating to identification and characterization of nanostructural materials and also the equipment relating to nanoresearch in medical and biotechnology fields are available in the network. The Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute, the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Research Center are also among the research centers. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIES FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Technology management is a very wide-ranging topic. All countries require three groups of technologies to support national development: technologies for basic needs, technologies for the improvement of quality of life, and technologies for wealth creation. Science and technology strategy must therefore be holistic and comprehensive, addressing the role and needs of the major players in a nation, which are government, industry, the science and technology community, and society at large. The role played by each of them is briefly described: â¢ The government must be generally supportive, provide means for sci- ence and technology development, and use technology to improve efficiency. â¢ Industry must be able to use technology for creating wealth, thus enhanc- ing economic growth. It must support science and technology development and be the major developer of technology. It must also support the generation of knowledge. â¢ The scientific community must make an all-out effort toward the genera- tion and uses of scientific knowledge and innovation. â¢ The community at large must support a scientific infrastructure that enriches the scientific culture. â¢ National development perspectives must be prepared very carefully by taking into account the national vision, a long-term perspective and a five-year development plan.
CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY IN THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF IRAN 63 â¢ There are basically three aspects of the development of science and tech- nology, namely policy, strategy, and action. These need to be carefully prepared and implemented. It is well known that technology management is a key factor in modern knowledge-based productive systems. Technology management encompasses the various mechanisms, processes, and infrastructure necessary to foster, pro- mote, and sustain the development of science and technology, the organization of science and technology activities, and putting science and technology to work for economic growth and for the attainment of overall national development objectives. In the public sector, the various components of technology management include integration of science and technology planning into overall national development planning as well as science and technology contributions to objec- tives, goals, and plans. This approach needs a science and technology advisory system and a process for free flow of information between public and private sectors and between science and technology sectors and other sectors. The various components of technology management in the private sector are â¢ integration of technological elements into scenario building and corpo- rate planning; â¢ mechanisms for technology input and coordination, including technol- ogy surveillance and technology prospecting; â¢ technology acquisition and enhancement, including in-house or out-of- house sourcing at the interfirm level; and â¢ mechanisms for human resources development (at the firm and interfirm levels). Figure 1 describes the flow of science and technology information in devel- opment planning, which involves the society, government, economy, and science and technology strategies and programs. The science and technology planning process that is the key to growth is quite complicated. It involves a large number of factors, such as national vision and goals, policies, strategies, finance, evaluation, and so forth. Figure 2 describes the interrelation of various factors involved in the science and technology plan- ning process. For the success of the science and technology planning process, information flow between industrial development, policy planning, science and technology development, and national development policy is very important. A large number of factors and parameters need to be known and coordinated. Figure 3 gives a brief description of the interrelation between various factors and issues.
64 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE (Consultation) (Consultation) ECONOMY S&T SOCIETY Analysis Other Inputs Other Inputs Government Development Planning Strategies and Programs ECONOMY SOCIETY S&T FIGURE 1â Flow of S&T information in development planning. FigureNational Vision/Mission 13-1.eps Prospecting and Analysis National S & T Priorities Policies: - Commercialization - Funding Strategic Direction Strategic Plan - Human Resources Development Goals & Strategies - Communication - Corporate Development Resource Allocation - Corporate Management Plan - Operational Plan Research Support - Explanatory Notes Review and Evaluation Annual Report Evaluation Plan FIGURE 2â The planning process. Figure 13-2.eps
CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY IN THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF IRAN 65 Industrial S&T National Development Policy Development Policy Development Policy Competitiveness S&T Public Awareness Socio-Economic Objectives Innovation R&D Budget Macro-Economic Issues Technology Imports R&D Priorities Techno-Economic Manufacturing Issues S&T Infrastructure Investments Socio-Political Technical Manpower Issues Production Factors Finance, Defence Manpower S&T Education Security S&T for Policy Policy for S&T S&T for Policy FIGURE 3â Information flow between systems: policy for S&T and S&T for policy. Figure 13-3.eps PRODUCTION OF SCIENCE IN IRAN As previously noted, since 1993, the publication rate of Iranian scientists in Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) journals has skyrocketed. Such achieve- ments have been highlighted by well-known scientific publications. Some exam- ples are given below. â¢ Iranâs long march (Nature 435:247â248, 2005, www.nature.com/ nature The publication rate of Iranian scientists in international journals has q Â uadrupled over the past decade. The Iranian scientists have put together strong research groups while carefully steering clear of politics. They are determined to help build a research infrastructure that will outlast their own careers. Foreign scientists should assist their grassroots efforts. â¢ An Islamic science revolution? (Science 309:1802â1804, 2005, www. sciencemag.org The first fruits of Iranâs biotech achievements are ripening. The Agricul- tural Biotechnology Research Institute has completed field trials of a genetically modified variety of local rice called Farom molai. Risk assessment and biosafety
66 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE s Â tudies of the rice, equipped with the gene for making a Bacillus thuringiensis protein that is toxic to insects, are under way. At NIGEB, the plant biotechnology group is conducting field trials of various resistant sugar beets and herbicide- t Â olerant canola, and the industrial biotech department is scaling up in a new pilot plant for production of a recombinant human growth hormone. â¢ Middle Eastern nations making their mark (Science Watch 14(6), 2003, www.sciencewatch.com/nov-dec2003/SIN_nov-dec_page1.htm In recent years, Iran has substantially increased its presence in world sci- ence, according to papers indexed by Thomson ISI between 1981 and 2002. A new Science Watch survey examines the output and impact of a selected group of Middle Eastern nations over the past 20 years. As Figure 4 shows, Iranâs output in science, although still comparatively small, has increased sharply in the past decade. â¢ Bridges to Iran (Lancet 359:1960, 2002,www.thelancet.com Iran has high educational standards. Its universities and health care system are well structured and well founded, but different. Iran prefers the medical uni- versity model to the Western model of medical faculty within a university. Iranian medical universities are responsible for health care delivery. There is a direct correlation between the production of science and economic growth of different nations in the world. The first-ranking country in science 5500 5000 4500 Number of Papers Published 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 1977 1980 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1995 1996 2001 1973 1975 1976 1978 1979 1981 1991 1992 1993 1994 1997 1998 1999 1974 Year FIGURE 4â Publication rate of Iranian papers since 1974. Figure 13-4.eps
CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY IN THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF IRAN 67 production is the first in economic growth. Thus, it is not surprising for Iran to have experienced rapid economic growth since 1993, which correlates well with its rapid publication rate. During the period of 1996â2005, 15 Iranian scientists were able to publish more than 100 scientific papers each in international ISI journals. Thirteen were Iranian chemists whose names, affiliations, and number of published papers are listed in Table 1. Three are young chemists who obtained their Ph.D. degrees from Shiraz and Tehran Universities during the past decade. Figure 5 shows those Iranian universities with more than 100 ISI papers published in 2005. There are 18 Iranian universities whose faculty members have published between 104 and 625 papers in international journals cited by ISI in 2005. The Iranian scientists have also had a good level of collaborative research with scientists in different countries of the world, as shown in Figure 6, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Austra- lia, Italy, India, and Switzerland, with a total of more than 1,150 papers. The field rankings for Iran in the period 1996â2005, released by the ISI, are shown in Table 2. During this time, the Iranian scientists published 19,900 papers in ISI journals with an average of 2.79 citations per paper. The field of chemistry, with a relatively high citation per paper of 3.96, is far ahead of other scientific fields such as engineering, clinical medicine, and physics. Since the first establishment of Ph.D. programs in chemistry in 1985 at Shi- raz University and later at 15 other universities and two chemistry institutes, more TABLE 1â List of Iranian Chemists with More Than 100 Scientific Papers in ISI Journals Between 1996â2005 No. of ISI Name Affiliation Papers M. Shamsipur Razi University 337 M. M. Heravi Azzahra University 219 I. Yavari Tarbiat Modares University 182 M. A. Zolfigol Bu-Ali Sina University 153 A. R. Hajipour Isfahan University of Technology 140 N. Iranpoor Shiraz University 136 H. Firouzabadi Shiraz University 135 M. R. Ganjali Tehran University 129 H. Sharghi Shiraz University 127 S. E. Mallakpour Isfahan University of Technology 115 I. Mohammapour-Baltork Isfahan University 103 M. Ghasemzadeh Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Institute of Iran 102 A. Safavi Shiraz University 100
68 Institution Tehran University Sharif University of Technology Tehran University of Medical Science Islamic Azad University Tarbiat Modares University Shiraz University Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science Amirkabir University of Technology Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics Tabriz University Isfahan University of Technology Iran University of Science and Technology Shahid Beheshti University Bu-Ali Sina University Isfahan University Tarbiat Moallem University Ferdowsi University Razi University 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 Number of Papers Published Figure 13-5.eps FIGURE 5â Iranian universities with more than 100 ISI papers published in 2005. broadside bitmap image w vector type 300 250 Number of Papers Published 200 150 100 50 0 German Canadian French Japanese Australian Italian Indian Swiss British American FIGURE 6â Nationalities involved in published joint research studies. Figure 13-6.eps bitmap image w vector type
CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY IN THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF IRAN 69 TABLE 2â Field Rankings for Iran (1996â2005) Citations % No. Field Papers Citations per Paper Contribution 1 Chemistry 6,100 24,176 3.96 30.6 2 Physics 1,933 7,565 3.91 9.7 3 Clinical medicine 1,986 5,480 2.76 10.0 4 Engineering 2,906 5,042 1.74 14.6 5 Pharmacology and toxicology 597 1,940 3.25 3.0 6 Plant and animal science 1,167 1,705 1.46 5.9 7 Materials science 990 1,589 1.61 5.0 8 Biology and biochemistry 565 1,345 2.38 2.8 9 Neuroscience and behavior 272 1,074 3.95 1.4 10 Agricultural science 422 801 1.90 2.1 11 Geosciences 434 744 1.71 2.2 12 Environment/ecology 291 718 2.47 1.5 13 Mathematics 783 714 0.91 3.9 14 Molecular biology and genetics 129 546 4.23 0.6 15 Immunology 143 472 3.30 0.7 16 Psychiatry/psychology 125 435 3.48 0.6 17 Computer science 463 342 0.74 2.3 18 Space science 119 253 2.13 0.6 19 Social sciences, general 148 189 1.28 0.7 20 Economics and business 34 38 1.12 0.2 Â All fields 19,900 55,507 2.79 Â than 450 Ph.D. students have graduated, and more than 3,500 scientific papers based on their theses have been published in international journals. Meanwhile, Ph.D. programs in biology have also been established in the country, although at a lower rate than those of chemistry. Examples of famous Iranian scientists are as follows: â¢ Geber (731) is well known as one of the first Iranian chemists. â¢ Jahez (776) was an Iranian biologist who published a book entitled Animal that described combat survival and adaptations between organisms and environments. â¢ Rhazes (Razi) (864) is known as the first chemist who discovered alcohol and sulfuric acid and their uses. He wrote Secretes and classified animals, plants, and soils suitable as elixirs. He also published several books on medicine, which were translated into Latin several hundred years ago. â¢ Avicenna (Bu-Ali Sina) (980) was a brilliant scientist who published many monographs on various aspects of sciences, including chemistry and biol-
70 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ogy, and his books Ghanon (Law) and Shafa (Cure), translated into many lan- guages, are the earliest medical texts in Europe. â¢ Alhazen (Ebne Meisam) (1038) described for the first time the structure of the eye and compared its mechanism of working to a dark room. â¢ Heravi (1541) and Aghili-Khorasani (1771) can be considered the f Â ounders of plant physiology, who presented for the first time new ideas on plantâsoil relationships, the effect of light on plants, the increasing resistance of plants to the elements, mineral absorption via leaves, and the effect of organic materials on the taste of fruit. JICS (http://www.ics-ir.org/jics/) welcomes high-quality original papers in English dealing with experimental, theoretical, and applied research related to all branches of chemistry. This scope includes the fields of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry as well as chemical biology. Review articles discussing specific areas of chemical or biological importance are published. The journal is currently abstracted and indexed in Thomson ISI products: Science Citation Index-Expanded including the Web of Science, ISI Alerting Service, and Chemistry Citation Index; and Chemical Abstracts (Columbus, Ohio) EXAMPLES OF IRANIAN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTIONS Examples of some key Iranian research and development centers that receive large contributions from Iranian scientists, especially chemists, are presented below. National Biotechnology Committee (NBC) To fulfill the objectives of the third national plan for social improvements, cultural developments, and economic progress, and also considering the impor- tance of biotechnology and its increasing applications in different fields such as industry, agriculture, medicine, protection of the environment, national security, and defense, the NBC (http://ibw.nrcgeb.ac.ir/) was established by order of Iranâs President on January 23, 2001. The committee works under the supervision of the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology. The NBC objectives are as follows: â¢ enriching the scientific background of biotechnology and developing biotechnology, â¢ expanding and improving the biosafety aspects of biotechnology appli- cations with regard to Islamic and human values, and â¢ increasing public and managersâ knowledge of biotechnology.
CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY IN THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF IRAN 71 Related professional commissions are Basic Science, Agriculture and ÂNatural Resources, Medicine, Animals and Aquatic, Industry, Defense and National Secu- rity, and Biosafety and Environment. National Research Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology NRCGEB was established in 1989 under the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology (http://www.nrcgeb.ac.ir/). Since then, NRCGEB has been given a mandate to undertake original, state-of-the-art research activities. It has been established with the dual purposes of promoting research in avant-garde areas of biological sciences and biotechnology and providing advanced training and edu- cation programs for scientists and students from other universities and academic institutions. The center activities have been focused on five major areas, including medi- cal biotechnology, plant biotechnology, animal and marine biotechnology, indus- trial and environmental biotechnology, and basic sciences. In each division, a strong emphasis is placed on a highly innovative and pioneering investigation in the fields of both basic and applied biology. About 170 employees including 93Â researchers (41 Ph.D.s) are currently working at the center. In addition, there are also researchers from universities and research centers from inside the country and around the globe who are cooperating with the center through shared research projects and applied educational courses. The Iranian Journal of Biotechnology publishes original scientific research papers in broad areas of biotechnology. The main areas include agriculture, ani- mal and marine sciences, basic sciences, bioinformatics, biosafety and bioethics, environment, industry and mining, and medical science. The language of this journal is English, and it is indexed by ISI. Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII) ABRII (http://www.abrii.ac.ir) is one of the national agricultural research institutes under the supervision of Agricultural Research and Education Orga- nization (AREO). AREO is an organization of the Ministry Jihad-e Agriculture. ABRII was established in 1983 as the Plant Biotechnology Department of the Seed and Plant Improvement Institute. It was upgraded to the level of an inde- pendent institute in 1999. ABRIIâs research activities are mainly focused on the field of advanced plant molecular biology and biotechnology. As a national research institute, ABRII strives to promote applied and basic research in plant science and technology and organizes workshops for advanced training of experts who are involved in research and development.
72 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE Other related biotechnology institutes include â¢ Pasteur Institute of Iran (http://www.pasteur.ac.ir/), â¢ Razi Vaccine and Serum Institute (http://www.rvsi.ac.ir/), and â¢ Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute (http://www.abrii.ac.ir/). Polymer and Petrochemical Institute The Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute (IPPI: http://www.Â iranpolymerinstitute.org) was established in 1986 on 22 acres of land to carry out applied research in polymer science and technology and to help local industry in training engineering students at the postgraduate level, as well as taking on direct challenges to meet their needs. IPPI, with more than 110 highly trained staff at the Ph.D. and masterâs levels, has eight research divisions, including rubber, plastic, composite and paint, adhe- sive and resin, novel drug delivery systems, polymer science, special polymers, and biomaterials. These divisions are supported by the technical and engineering department of the institute for their development projects. IPPI departments include â¢ Department of Polymer Science and Catalysts, â¢ Polymerization Engineering Department, â¢ Color, Resin, and Surface Coatings Department, â¢ Composites and Adhesives Research Department, â¢ Plastic Research Department, â¢ Rubber Research Department, â¢ Novel Drug Delivery Systems Research Department, â¢ Department of Polymer Science and Catalysts, â¢ Biomaterials Research Department, â¢ Polyurethane Department, and â¢ Gas Conversion Group. The Iranian Polymer Journal (IPJ, http://journal.ippi.ac.ir) includes IPPI scientific achievements. The journal is well received in international academic circles. The submission of articles from worldwide sources is a promising sign that the IPJ, within its short life, has gained international recognition. Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics (IBB) IBB (www.ibb.ut.ac.ir) was founded in 1976 with the triple purposes of fulfilling research in the areas of biochemistry, biophysics, and related areas; performing collaborative research activities with domestic as well as reputable research centers around the world; and training students at the masterâs and Ph.D.
CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY IN THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF IRAN 73 levels. In that year, the institute admitted 19 M.Sc. and four Ph.D. students in molecular cell biology. Ever since, and especially from 1988 onward, IBB has been actively engaged in training graduate and doctoral students in biochemistry and bioÂphysics. The other main activity of IBB is basic and applied research in biochemistry and biophysics, including exchanging scientific information with other research centers and institutions both inside and outside the country. IBB is regarded as one of the prestigious research institutes affiliated with the University of Tehran, and as such it enjoys a high position among the research centers in the country. Two important research centers of IBB are the Iran Bioinformatics Center and the Biomaterial Research Center. Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Institute of Iran (CCEII) CCEII (http://www.cceii.org/en/index.php) is housed in a four-story research building in the northwest of Tehran. This research center is affiliated with the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology. The joint efforts of chemists and chemical engineers are to fulfill the following goals: to provide fundamental and educational research facilities related to all chemical and chemical engineer- ing areas and to diversify the talent of chemists and engineers. To make modern facilities available at pilot and semi-industrial levels, the center has been taking an active part in recognizing, elaborating, and conducting some of the national research projects since 1989. More than 50 full-time staff members work in the research, administration, and service departments. In addition, a number of sci- entists and researchers from other universities and educational centers in Iran and abroad cooperate with the center in research projects. CCEII is comprised of five research laboratories in the areas of analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, organosilicon chemistry, and chemical engineering. Iranian Nanotechnology Initiative (http://www.irannano.org/) According to the fourth social, economic, and cultural development plan, nano- technology is one of Iranâs priorities in technology, and there is a Âspecial committee for nanotechnology development (National Committee of Nanotechnology). The missions of the committee include â¢ ratification of the goals, strategies, major policies, and plans to develop nanotechnology in country, â¢ classification of the responsibilities of the governmental entities, deter- mination of their missions, and coordination among them, and â¢ monitoring of the implementation of the plans.
74 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE Nanotechnology Policy Studies Committee, Technology Cooperation Office The Nanotechnology Policy Studies Committee (http://www.tco.gov.ir/nano/) has been established to study the different aspects of this technology, its applica- tions, and its impacts on other technologies. To formulate the countryâs macro infrastructure, it is necessary to have a survey of the following: â¢ applications and impacts of nanotechnology, â¢ potential of different countries in nanotechnology, â¢ necessary infrastructures such as national laboratories, educational pro- grams, and scientific networks, and â¢ the potential in the universities and research centers as a basis for allo- cating research activities to them. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) The research division of AEOI (http://www.aeoi.org.ir/) consists of several research centers as follows: â¢ Nuclear Fusion Research Center, â¢ Gamma Irradiation Center, â¢ Center for Renewable Energy Development, â¢ Nuclear Research Center for Agriculture and Medicine, â¢ Information and Data Processing Center, â¢ Reactor Research and Operation Department, â¢ Research Center for Lasers and Their Applications, â¢ Yazd Radiation Processing Center, â¢ Bonab Research Center, and â¢ Nuclear Fuel Production Division.