For several weeks, Egypt's future has hung in the balance as candidates for president battled it out, each declaring victory for himself, until an official count of the vote gave the win to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi last week. The president-elect has a scientific background, says Nature Middle East's Dalia El-Akkad — Morsi did a bachelor's and then a master's degree in engineering at Cairo University, then completed a PhD in material science at the University of Southern California, and became an assistant professor of engineering at California State University at Northridge.
With his election, Egypt's research community is hoping to see more government investment in research and technology, El-Akkad says. "According to his election promises, Morsi plans to gradually increase science research spending to 2.5 percent of GDP," she adds. "He will link research institutes to industry and promote the protection of intellectual property as a cornerstone to make research more attractive." Morsi has also said he will overhaul the country's higher education system by mimicking international standards of spending on education, including higher pay for faculty members. Egyptian scientists say they believe Morsi's US education and background in the sciences will lead to a new culture of research and innovation in Egypt, despite his affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.