Five days before Iraq’s second largest city fell to the Islamic State (IS), the militant group formerly known as ISIS, Mohammad Al-Attraqchi, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Mosul, went to work for the last time.
He has not been back since and does not plan to return.
IS started its takeover of Iraqi territory in December in the western province of Anbar, moving rapidly into the north in early June. In the cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Tikrit, and other areas where IS now has full control, research has ground to a complete halt, paralyzing the academic community and broadening the scientific knowledge gap between Iraq and the rest of the world.
The central government in Baghdad has ceased funding universities and schools in regions under IS control until the conflict is resolved.
Ahmed Sameer Alnuaimi, head of an independent Baghdad-based medical research office and assistant professor at the Baghdad College of Medicine, said he fears that conducting quality research in Iraq will soon become impossible.