France, the UK and the US are to provide financial backing for the establishment of an Iraqi Academy of Science. The academy will seek to attract research talent back to the country, and to assist in the development of Iraq. An inaugural meeting took place in London, UK, on 27 November, and was organised by Hussain Al-Shahristani, an Iraqi chemical engineer and visiting lecturer at the UK's University of Surrey. 'The Iraqi Academy of Science will be an autonomous, self-governing organisation of distinguished scientists dedicated to employing their talents for the advancement of science in Iraq,' said Dr Al-Shahristani. 'The academy will also revive Iraqi talents for the good of humanity after decades of abuse of Iraqi scientists under Saddam Hussein's regime.' France's Academy of Sciences, the UK's Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences are supporting the initiative, and Dr Al-Shahristani intends to also secure financial backing from within Iraq. No private sector investment has, however, yet been found. Engineering will be one of the academy's priorities, with the reconstruction of the country's infrastructure of uppermost importance. Medicine will be another priority. Cancer rates are believed to have soared in Iraq over the past decade.
France, Iraq, United States