Center for International Scientific Studies and Collaboration
Ministry of Science, Research and Technology
The Islamic Republic of Iran

The International Scientific Meeting Office (ISMO) was founded in March 1999 with the aim of expanding international collaborations in science and technology of Iranian universities and research institutes. Among its first tasks was the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation signed by the then Ministry of Culture and Higher Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Italy. In July 2001, the ISMO was officially renamed the Center for International Scientific Studies and Collaboration (CISSC) and expanded the scope of its activities by identifying, developing and managing unique collaborative programs designed to address the scholarly challenges of Iranian academics in a globalizing world.

The programs are funded through the annual budgets allocated by the MSRT, and cash or in-kind contributions by other government institutions and private sponsors. The MSRT has undertaken to finance R&D in a variety of discipline such as fundamental science and engineering to promote knowledge creation in order to find the solutions to grand challenges which require S&T advances. Internationalization is increasingly becoming a major priority for all Iranian institutions of higher education in order to help the achievement of the twin goals of creating an environment of academic excellence, and increasing scientific and technological competence of Iranian researchers and faculty members. The CISSC works closely with Iranian universities and research institutions to establish links with internationally leading research institutes and creative R&D centers around the globe.

Current Activities and Programs

Invited Collaborative Research Program (ICRP)
The CISSC has tried to help the MSRT to improve the quality of its research programs by facilitating international scientific collaboration between researchers in universities and research centers across the country and foreign researchers in various academic disciplines ranging from basic science to social science and art. Under this program, the prominent international researchers are invited to travel to Iran for a specific period of time in order to engage in collaborative research projects with Iranian scholars. Currently, the CISSC has a preference for projects that could lead to: human and institutional capacity building in S&T through collaborative research; innovation-led economic growth; university-industry partnership; knowledge exchange on issues that concern Middle Eastern and Islamic societies; capacity-building and improved dialogue between Iranian and non-Iranian scholars through various joint projects with partners both at the regional level and worldwide.

Simorgh Program
This distinctive program of the CISSC is designed to attract overseas outstanding scientists and experts in various field of S&T to speak at an academic event in Iran. The purpose of the so-called Simorgh program, which started in 2010, is to provide opportunities for the faculty members and students at Iranian universities to enhance their research and training by establishing ties with foreign scholars. What distinguishes this program from the other sponsored programs of the CISSC is the requirement of organizing academic events for the invited guest speakers in one or more universities outside Tehran, preferably in the less developed cities across the country. Travel expenses related to the costs for domestic and foreign flights, local accommodation, and meals are covered by the CISSC. So far, various universities across the country have hosted foreign speakers who have been invited to Iran through this short-term visit program.

Jondishapoor Program
The CISSC in partnership with the “Cooperation and Cultural Activities” (SCAC) section of the French Embassy in Iran is coordinating and managing Jondishapoor program, which is designed to promote collaborations among Iranian and French researchers and faculty members in a variety of fields including humanities and social science, life science, agriculture and environment. Past research projects have focused on such topics as nutrition, health, solar energy, mathematics, stellar astronomy, gardening, earth science and climatology. The program places emphasis on projects which:
•    Are accompanied by training at doctoral or post-doctoral levels;
•    Provide the opportunity of collaborations between several Iranian and French laboratories or research centers;
•    Foster technological innovation and competiveness in order to solve development problems, particularly in economic and social domains.

Membership in SESAME
The term SESAME is the acronym for “Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Application in the Middle East”, referring to an intergovernmental scientific and technological facility located near Amman, Jordan. Upon completion, the facility which is constructed under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will be the first major international research center modelled on the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Following the approval of the SESAME project by Majles-e Shourā-ye Eslāmi (Islamic Consultative Assembly or the Iranian Parliament) and the establishment of the National Accelerator Commission by the MSRT, the National SESAME Committee was formed. The CISSC is responsible for SESAME administrative affairs in Iran, and accordingly hosts the secretariat of SESAME Iran, which promotes application of techniques of synchrotron radiation to science and engineering research. The CISSC has sponsored international workshops and conferences on medical and engineering applications of synchrotron radiations organized by Iranian research institutions.

International Conference Participation Support for PhD Students to Present their Research Projects
The CISSC provides financial support for Iranian graduate students who want to acquire experience abroad by attending an international conference overseas during the course of their study. The program is open to all graduate students, who have been invited to present a paper at conferences abroad, but priority will be given to young scholars, or scholars belonging to the under-represented groups from smaller and less developed regions of the country, or scholars attending an international conference for the first time, or scholars who address the current socio-economic problems of the country. The purpose is to provide opportunities for better communication and international research collaborations between Iranian graduate students and the rest of the world.

Organizing and Sponsoring Workshops, Conferences and Symposia
The CISSC provides financial assistance and logistics support for academic conferences, meetings, and workshops organized by Iranian faculty members in institutes of higher education in Iran. In the past, the CISSC has sponsored or held academic events ranging from small one-day meetings to multi-day conferences in various fields of study. In addition to its annual conference which brings together distinguished professors and scholars with wide-ranging expertise, the CISSC hosts regular speeches, and other academic events. The CISSC also sponsors short courses, summer or winter schools, conferences, and seminars with the current focus on medical application of synchrotron radiations, sustainability, dust storm control, water resource management, ethical responsibilities of scientists, safeguarding the Persian language, and S&T diplomacy.

International Cooperation in Educational Development (ICED)
The CISSC facilitates contacts between Iranian scholars and researchers residing and working abroad who are willing to collaborate with their compatriots inside Iran. Under this program, prominent Iranian professors and scholars living abroad are invited to visit Iranian universities and teach short-term courses, which typically last up to six weeks. Moreover, the CISSC strives to broaden cultural and intellectual experiences of Iranian researchers and faculty members by providing financial support for those who have been invited to teach a short course in universities in other countries.

International Cooperation in Applied Research Development (ICARD)
In this program, the goal is to cultivate collaborations among Iranian nationals working overseas and those residing in the country. The CISSC promotes joint scientific research in a number of fields by inviting distinguished Iranian scholars and innovators working in other countries to travel to Iran for a short time period lasting several days or weeks. In addition, the program will provide opportunities for sabbatical leaves for faculty members who want to immerse themselves in a foreign community and gain experience in international research collaborations.

Other Main Activities
The CISSC plays an institutional role in the implementation of selected science and technology (S&T) agreements, which have been signed by Iran’s MSRT and academic institutions around the world with the goal of enhancing international collaborations and effective partnerships. The CISSC manages projects related to Iranian scholars’ membership and participation in several international academic and scientific organizations including the ICTP, and Third World Academy of Sciences. It also facilitates field trips and educational excursions abroad for Iranian professors and students. Finally, the CISSC has acted as a secretariat of a few scientific networks including the secretariat of the S&T Networks of the Islamic Countries (e.g., the Network of the Islamic World Scientists, the Network of Women Scientists of the Islamic World), Iran’s Centers of Excellence, National Accelerator Commission, and Knowledge-based Products Development Network.