Last year, on February 18 – the NewScientist had reported that the “Scientific output has grown 11 times faster in Iran than the world average, faster than any other country“.

This year, on March 28 – the NewScientist has reported that the “Iran has the fastest rate of increase in scientific publications in the world“. Iran’s scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238, according to the magazine.

“And if political relations between Iran and the US are strained, it seems that the two countries’ scientists are getting on fine: the number of collaborative papers between them rose almost five-fold from 388 to 1831 over the same period,” wrote Andy Coghlan.

The British Royal Society , UK’s national academy of science also reported on March 28, 2011 that the Islamic Republic along with Turkey, Tunisia, India and Brazil are rapidly emerging major scientific powers to rival the traditional ‘scientific superpowers’ of the US, Western Europe and Japan.

Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS, Chair of the Advisory Group for the study, said: “The scientific world is changing and new players are fast appearing. Beyond the emergence of China, we see the rise of South-East Asian, Middle Eastern, North African and other nations. The increase in scientific research and collaboration, which can help us to find solutions to the global challenges we now face, is very welcome. However, no historically dominant nation can afford to rest on its laurels if it wants to retain the competitive economic advantage that being a scientific leader brings.”

The Royal Socity’s report found that science is becoming increasingly global, with research undertaken in more and more places and to a greater extent than ever before. In addition to the meteoric rise of China and, to a lesser extent, Brazil and India, the report also identified a number of other rapidly emerging scientific nations, including:

“Iran is the fastest growing country in terms of numbers of scientific publications in the world, growing from just 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008. The Government is committed to a “comprehensive plan for science”, including boosting R&D investment to 4% of GDP by 2030 (it stood at just 0.59% of GDP in 2006)”.

The report considered the role of international scientific collaboration in addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of our time, concentrating on the IPCC, CGIAR, the Gates Foundation, ITER (I was part of Canadian team) and efforts to deploy carbon capture and storage technology. It looked at the strengths and shortcomings of these models to provide lessons for how international scientific collaboration might be better deployed in future.

Iran tops in science growth for the second year | Rehmat's World