Iran’s sci-tech breakthrough
to more than 3,7 million in 2011.
The country has made great strides in different sectors, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, aerospace, nuclear science as well as stem cell and cloning research. A 2010 report by Canadian research firm
Science-Matrix has put Iran in the globally top rank in terms of growth in scientific productivity with a 14,4 growth index followed by scientific research with a 9,8 growth index.
Iran’s growth rate in science and technology is 11 times more than the average growth of the world’s output in 2009 and in terms of output per year. With over 500 Research Centres, 140 government universities, 90 incubators and 25 Science and Technology parks, Iran has so far adopted four programs designed to promote the advancement of science and technology.
These programs are Vision 2025, Iran Science and Technology Mega Map (2009), High Technology Industrial Zones and Establishment of National Strategic Technologies Initiatives(2005). The Islamic Republic of Iran is ranked 27th in the world in science and engineering (S&E) articles in all fields. In recent years the number of international scientific papers that have been published in ISI journals has had a rapid increase which proves effective research at the boundaries of different scientific fields in Iran. In 2009 a total of 14 000 ISI articles were published in Iran. This is an unprecedented improvement compared to the paltry 20 produced in 1970.
The last two decades have witnessed remarkable advances in the field of biotechnology, highlighted by breakthroughs in genetic engineering and related techniques. New applications such as molecular farming, the use of plants as bioreactors, recombinant therapeutics and diagnostics abound.
Blood substitutes and antibiotics are among an increasing number of target products derived from plant-based biotechnology. Creating better tools to fight pollution and to improve protection of environment can also strengthen the role of modern biotechnology in the development of the third world countries, diversifying production, increasing income sources, creating more job opportunities and sustainable development.
In this regard Iran has registered phenomenon growth in biotechnology.
Trends of biotechnology in Iran are Health in the fields of Biopharmaceutical, Diagnosis, Cell Therapy, and Regenerative Medicine; Agriculture in the fields of Biofertiliser, Biopesticide, and Tissue Culture and Environment in the field of Waste treatment.
In recent years Iran has registered achievements in the field of Medical Biotechnology ANGIPARSTM, IMODTM, Cinnovex, Anti Cancer Drug SinaDoxosomeTM, GAMA-IMMUNXTM-Drug, among others. IMODTM is a medicine used in the management HIV/AIDS. Among the many uses of this drug are stimulating the immune system consequently increasing white blood cells and inducing resistance against disease, prevents
HIV patients from entering the AIDS stage, helping patients with AIDS to recover and experience a normal life. Iran is the third country which produces CinnoVex, a drug used in the treatment of relapsing Multiple Selerosis (MS) to slow the development of physical disability, slowing the rate of progression of brain and delaying significantly the onset of persistent deterioration in manual dexterity and timed ambulation. Anti-Cancer-Drug SinaDoxosome is a critical nanomedicine manufactured in Iran and used in the treatment of ovary cancer, breast cancer, multiple myeloma cancer, and Kaposi sarcoma associated with AIDS, and the treatment of a large number of other cancers at the clinical phase. GAMA-IMMUNEXTM-drug is made from human proteins.
This medication is a type of interferon used to reduce the frequency and severity of serious infections due to a genetic disorder called Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD) It is used along with antibiotics to help prevent serious infections and slows down the progress of another genetic bone disease namely malignant osteoporosis (a kind of hereditary osteoclast disorder)
Iran has made significant strides in the production of medical equipment in the past years. These include such equipment as Parseh Surgical Navigation System, which involves application of advanced techniques of analysis and recovery of the data provided by common medical imaging methods such as MRI and CT scan. Among the advantages of this equipment is the considerable increase in accuracy and quality of the surgery.
The machine is mostly applicable in Brain and Neurosurgery, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, Orthopedics, Spine Surgery and Radiotherapy. Robolens is a new design for Laparoscopic Surgery Robotic Assistant that helps the surgeon by holding and moving the laparoscopic lens under his/her supervision during surgical operation. It can be controlled by voice commands of the surgeon or by a smart foot switch system under his/her foot. Advantages of using Robolens include reduction in surgery time, elimination of movement errors, picture vibration, lens smudge among others.
With over 15years of research experience in the production of nucleus pre-basic and basic-seed potato derived from minituber (RoytuberTM ), Iran’s Royan Tolou Co. has successfully introduced a new and revolutionary method for producing minituber through advanced gardening processes to economically produce large volumes of healthy and virus-free RoytuberTM seed potato.
Utilising this technology enables farmers to economically produce high yielding virus-free seed potato, reduces the production period of the seeds from 10years to 4 years, 80 percent savings in water consumption, nutrient solution, and energy and increase the quality and quantity of seed potato production.
Another notable achievement in agriculture has been the invention of Phosphate Biofertilisers BARVAR- 2 and KARA Biofertilisers respectively. BARVAR- 2 phosphate biofertiliser contains two types of phosphate solubilising bacteria (PSB) i.e. bacterial strain P5 that release phosphate from inorganic compounds by producing organic acids and bacterial strain P13 that release phosphate from organic compounds by secreting strong phosphates enzymes.
Some of the accruing benefits of using the biofertilisers include; more than 50 percent decrease in chemical P fertiliser usage, reduction in soil-borne diseases, improvement in the soil structure, in gross average, 15 percent increase in yields, and compatibility with other chemicals, genetic stability and reducing environmental pollution. Nitro Kara Biofertiliser is made from Nitro Kara a nitrogen fixing biofertiliser.
Nitro Kara has a highly efficient nitrogen fixing bacteria of Azorhizobium caulinodans. Advantages of using KARA Biofertilisers include, reduction in the need for artificial chemicals, increases Water use Efficiency, enhance seed germination and plant growth, increase production of cereals minimum 100 percent vs control without any nitrogen chemical fertiliser, shorten the seedling period and ripen crops 5-7days earlier, restores natural soil fertility and is easy to apply.
Iran has registered remarkable growth in the field of nanotechnology. Consequently, Iran’s rank in nanotechnology has jumped from 60th in the world in 200 to 12th in 2011. Since 2004, with the initiation of human resources development plan, Iran has had the highest rate of growth among the countries of the world. By timely realising the importance and role of nanotechnology, the Centre for Innovation and Technology Cooperation of I.R.
Iran Presidency began to promote nanotechnology potentials during 2001 and 2002 by employing various methods such as organising for a and seminars, establishment of a centre to provide information, publication of books and bulletins and holding meetings with experts. Those efforts resulted in the recognition of nanotechnology as a technology with a national priority, and to this end, “Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council” was established in 2003 in order to develop nanotechnology in the country.
Iran’s Nanotechnology Initiative Council has a multi-sectoral structure that encompasses all significant key players in nanotechnology field including research, educational, industrial investment, and policymaking bodies. The Nanotechnology industry in Iran comprise of more than 77 universities and research institutes with more than 11000 researchers above Msc level. There are more than 1950 active academic staff in nanonscience and technology, over 188 different companies in different fields of nanotechnology, 68 of among are based on incubators.
At least 130 companies are producing nanotechnology products, 24 companies produce laboratory equipments, 16 companies are services companies and finally 24 companies are commercial. Some of the Nanotechnology products in Iran include the Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM) abbreviated NAMA-STM. This technology is an advanced scanning tunnelling microscope which enables users to take images from conductive to semi-conductive surfaces like metals or even biological molecules like DNA or antibody at the same time providing clear, accurate and reproducible 2D and 3D imaged in nano meter-scale.
Thermoplastic Acrylic Resin Modified with Nano clay is another notable scientific feat achieved by Iran in recent years. This product is applicable in basic resin traffic paints for lining streets and roads, and producing industrial paints with high resistance. Due to higher mechanical resistance, this product has a longer life-time than conventional paints and so further implementation of painting which imposes high costs is done in longer periods of time. Hydro Conversion is another product of Iran’ nanotechnology.
Iran has scored a first in aerospace in recent years in the field of aerospace where numerous achievements have been recorded. Among the major achievements is the establishment of launching platform for Omid satellite and Kavoshgar 3 to space, manufacturing of IRAN-140 aircraft and other large and small aircrafts and many other aviation products.
- Mohammad Asadi is the Head of Cultural Centre of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.