‘Doing’ science in Egypt is about to become cheaper: last week, the Egyptian Parliament approved a draft law that exempts higher education bodies and scientific research from taxes and customs duties, including the value-added tax of 14%, according to Al-Monitor. The exemption also applies to tools, devices and resources imported from abroad with the goal of doing scientific research, while the payment of research teams will also be tax-exempt if a project receives and external grant.

Many have hailed the law, which the Ministry of Finance has one month to issue a final statement on. SCImago Journal Rank places Egypt at #41 for scientific output rank, second only to Iran in the Middle East and North Africa region. At the same time, however, according to UNESCO data, the country spends only 0.6% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on research and development. By comparison, the highest 15 ranked countries have an expenditure of at least 2% of their GDP on research.

"It represents a real revolution in the field of scientific research and a qualitative shift of the national economy towards the knowledge economy", stated Chairman of the Education Committee Gamal Shiha in a report.

The new legislation also allows companies to finance research projects and grants permission to higher education institutions and research bodies to establish their own companies in order to exploit the outputs of scientific research.

"This contributes to putting scientific research into practice to contribute to the service and development of society, increasing the national output [of research]," Shiha stated.