Put AUB’s fine doctoral research students together with appropriate funding and a supportive educational system of faculty and resources, and the result is an award ceremony such as the one held Tuesday at AUB. The Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) awards ceremony was held on its fourth consecutive year at AUB, in the presence of AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri and CNRS General Secretary Moueen Hamzeh.
Since 2012, and based on a Memorandum of Understanding between AUB and CNRS, selected PhD students at AUB have been receiving three-year scholarships on an annual basis.
The Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (or Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – CNRS) is a governmental organization which supports research projects in the scientific disciplines according to national research priorities. The research it supports contributes to the overall wellbeing of the country in terms of its productive sectors, the environment, public health, and socio economic development.
Since the inception of AUB’s partnership with CNRS, AUB's Graduate Council has been coordinating the application process and awards ceremony with AUB's faculties and CNRS. This year, the number of awardees was raised from 8 to 11. With eight students receiving the three-year award every year from 2012 to 2014 and another 11 doctoral students awarded this year, a total of 35 students have received this scholarship to date. With the approval of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon, this year, CNRS also raised the age limit for awardees from 28 to 30 years based on a suggestion by AUB.
President Fadlo R. Khuri, Dr. Moueen Hamzeh, and Interim Provost Muhamad Harajli distributed the award certificates to this year’s 11 doctoral scholarship awardees. Attending were also members of the CNRS Board of Directors, Deans and Department Chairs from the various AUB Faculties and Departments, as well as friends and family members of the awardees.
The following doctoral students were awarded with the CNRS Scholarship this year:
• Nadine Abbas; Electrical and Computer Engineering
• Assil Abou Diab; Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Abdel-Karim Ajami; Electrical and Computer Engineering
• Zainab Awada; Pharmacology and Toxicology
• Oula Dagher; Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
• Najwa Hani; Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Carine Jaafar; Cell and Molecular Biology
• Johnny Nakhleh ; Cell and Molecular Biology
• Yara Rizk; Electrical and Computer Engineering
• Wael Slika; Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Hind Zahr; Cell and Molecular Biology
In his word of welcome at the ceremony, the Chairperson of the AUB Graduate Council, Dr. Rabih Talhouk, said that “over the past three years, CNRS has contributed to AUB’s PhD programs a total of $280,000 in student tuition/stipend support. Now it supports almost a quarter of AUB’s doctoral students, not to mention the support CNRS provides for research of many AUB faculty members.”
CNRS General Secretary, Dr. Moueen Hamzeh, in his turn announced a commitment to 14 annual scholarships to AUB doctoral students. “I am pleased to indicate that AUB is one of our privileged partners in research activities in Lebanon. Indeed forming 32% of the research projects subsidized this year by the CNRS within its Grant Research Program. As for the Associated Research Units (ARU) program, AUB took part in 4 out of 12 ARUs. This is undoubtedly due to the high quality research implemented at AUB,” he said.
In his speech, AUB President, Dr. Fadlo R. Khuri, said ‘This is the kernel of science: The opportunity to have protected time to think, to learn, to write, and to excel is the fundamental underpinning of academic pursuit of knowledge. In maintaining a vibrant scientific research community in Lebanon we prove to ourselves that we can make an impact in some of the most competitive fields in the world in everything from archaeology and history, to molecular biology and structural engineering.” “Our goal is to increase the [scholarship for research] ‘traffic’ so that our finest students can study, can think freely, and can excel so that we can continue to add the best value to academic thought, not just in Lebanon but in the Middle East.”
“This award is a lifetime privilege and a testament and appreciation of our work. The scholarship provides us with the opportunity to focus on excelling in research.” – Nadine Abbas, PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture.