My scientific story in Vienna: lessons learned and deserved thanks

27. January 2023 ScholarsAlumniForscher/innen
Prof. Raafat Khidr from Egypt, a successful OeAD alumnus, has done his doctorate at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in the 90s and has maintained scientific exchange with Austria until today. Nowadays, he is Prof. of Poultry Nutrition at the Desert Research Center in Egypt.

It is really very interesting for me to remember the critical moment and situations in my life periods. One of these situations was in the early 1990s when I was fond of Austria and wanted to complete my doctorate studies at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU). In the beginning, it was difficult to travel without a scholarship, but my ambition led me to take a risk and travelling without any financial support from my home country. After obtaining the visa, I travelled at the beginning of May 1991 from Egypt, where I worked as a Research Assistant at the Desert Research Center at the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. Life in Austria was cruel as I worked in different places to cover my living costs. After one year and half I was able to improve my language skills and learned German, which enabled me to start my qualified courses for a doctorate at BOKU.

Professor Rudolf Leitgeb was a turning point in my scientific life indeed, as he gave me a recommendation to apply for a PhD scholarship from OeAD, formerly known as the Austrian Academic Exchange Service. I am so indebted and much obliged for this eminent Organization which offered me a scholarship for 3 years from 1992 till 1995. This scholarship included a high monthly salary, accommodation and medical insurance. I still remember fondly Mag. Hörmann and Frau Zwettler and all my colleagues at OeAD who all offered me assistance and help. After two years and half of the scholarship, I could finish my doctorate studies. Then, I returned to my home country.

Due to my good reputation at BOKU, Prof. Leitgeb invited me back several times to share and exchange different scientific works and scientific opinions with him. 2002 was my last time in Austria with a scholarship administered by OeAD, the North-South-Dialogue-Scholarship Pogramme financed by the Austrian Development cooperation. I occupied many different administrative and scientific positions, for example Chairman of the animal and poultry production division at the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Chairman of the Desert Research Center, etc. Now, I am emeritus professor in my career and still have a deep scientific cooperation with my colleagues at BOKU. Finally, I am so thankful to OeAD and the Ministry of Science, Education and Research in Austria and also for Prof. Leitgeb, who rests in peace, hoping to continue our scientific cooperation between Egypt and Austria.

Raafat Khidr on Linkedin