AUB celebrates CNRS scientific research scholarship awards and partnership

​​Safa Jafari Safa, ss152@aub.edu.lb, Office of Communications​

The annual National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) Scholarship ceremony was held to honor new recipients at AUB of the CNRS scholarship. This year, a total of six undergraduate and 14 PhD students received the scholarship.​

The CNRS council awards dozens of scholarships to fund education in universities in Lebanon, increasing the diversity and quality of students who choose to remain and study in Lebanon. Established in 2006, the undergraduate scholarship award is granted to students who score top marks in the Lebanese Baccalaureate exams at the national level. The PhD fellowships were established in 2012 and are awarded on merit, reflecting a level of excellence in doctoral studies and research quality. The CNRS also awards grants every two years, through the Faculty Grant Research Program to proposals from faculty members of all Lebanese universities, based on international review criteria and co-funding projects. The council also offers research excellence awards to honor global-standard home-grown research in Lebanon and faculty researchers for their service to Lebanon, the region, and humanity as a whole.

This year, all six undergraduate awardees were selected from AUB's Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). The PhD candidates were selected across the three AUB faculties that currently offer doctoral programs: the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (seven fellowships); the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (three fellowships); the Faculty of Medicine (three fellowships); and a joint PhD in the schools of medicine and engineering.

To date, the total number of AUB undergraduate awards granted since the scholarship program started in academic year 2006-07 stands at 215, while 78 doctoral fellowships have been awarded since academic year 2012-13. Starting this year, the Faculty of Health Sciences at AUB and the university's newest faculty, the Rafic Hariri School of Nursing, also initiated new PhD programs in epidemiology and nursing science respectively, leading to a total of 12 PhD programs now offered at AUB. In addition, currently under review are PhD program proposals by the Olayan School of Business and the Chemistry Department at FAS.​

AUB President Fadlo Khuri thanked Dr. Mouin Hamze, CNRS general secretary, and Dr. Georges Tohme, president of the CNRS Board of Administration and the 2008 honorary doctorate recipient at AUB, for their service to research and education that helps Lebanon stand proudly on the global stage. He also spoke about the “prized partnership" with CNRS, which he referred to as “one of the most successful and important branches of the Lebanese government."

“CNRS is the platform by which Lebanese researchers gain access to much larger networks of international funding organizations, especially on the EU-Mediterranean level," said President Khuri. “Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in Lebanon is fostered, creating opportunities to collaborate as part of Lebanon's long-term development strategy.  The CNRS grants and programs bring prestige, collaboration and affirmation as well as resources to AUB. It is a partnership for the betterment of Lebanon, and a vital one for AUB."

In his speech, Dr. Hamze spoke about the long collaboration with AUB and the commitment of both CNRS and AUB to the development of innovative research in the service of their communities. He added that AUB was the university of choice for a total of 131 students (44%) out of 301 outstanding undergraduate students supported by CNRS over the years. This year's PhD awardees at AUB reflect 25% of all CNRS-Lebanon awarded scholarships (highest percentage, matched only by USJ). Within 159 ongoing scholarships of the CNRS in Lebanon, AUB continues to host 31 fellows of which 23 are women researchers.​

“Over the years, our partnership has been anchored through joint programs that strengthen scientific research, create a critical mass in areas of excellence, support innovation and respect scientific integrity," said Dr. Hamze. “CNRS-Lebanon is proud of its partnership and a shared commitment to scientific research with AUB. A commitment that continues to expand as we work to develop, implement and support important initiatives that integrate the dynamics of a changing research landscape, with a focus on innovation, applied research and social and human sciences as niches that responds to social responsibility."