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Download Gaza event – Brief Report

 

On 8 February 2017, the Islamic University of Gaza in cooperation with partners involved in the implementation of the Horizon 2020-funded MERID project (coordinated by EMUNI), is hosting a series of panel sessions on the topic of “Renewable Energy for Desalination: Innovative Research Solutions for Gaza” with renowned experts and researchers representing organisations such as the Middle East Desalination Research Centre, UNICEF or the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, among others.

After the conclusion of the debate sessions, a training event will take place where Ms. Tanya Dimitrova-Policy Officer at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, will introduce the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020.

 

Gaza, 8 February, 2017

Almashtal Hotel

09h30 – 09h40       Registration

09h40 – 10h15       Opening remarks

Mohammed Shabat, Islamic University of Gaza, Partner in Horizon 2020 funded-project MERID

Adel Awadallah, President, The Islamic University of Gaza

R El Sheikh, Deputy Head, Palestinian Water Authority

Andrea Carignani, Head of Unit “EU Neighbourhood, Africa and the Gulf”, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

Lucas Cibor, European External Action Service

Sophie Collette, Policy Officer, Office of the European Union Representative to West Bank and Gaza Strip, Unrwa

10h15 – 11h15     Panel session 1: Good practice exchange and lessons learnt from the region and EU

Jauad El Kharraz, Head of Research, Middle East Desalination Research Centre (MEDRC)

Mahmoud Shatat, Water and Sustainable Energy Specialist, Water and Sanitation Program Manager, OXFAM GB.

EU funded FP7 MED-CSD project

Gregor von Medeazza, Chief Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, UNICEF

Q&A

11h15 – 11h30       Coffee break

11h30 – 12h30       Panel session 2: From research results to policy recommendations

Piero de Bonis, DG Research and Innovation (via video conference with Brussels)

Violeta Kuzmickaiteec, DG Research and Innovation (via video conference with Brussels)

Ahmad Baraka, Research and Development Head of Department, Palestinian Water Authority

Local initiatives

  • Mahmoud Qedra, Solar system using Parabolic through solar energy collector for water desalination unit
  • Banan Alhalaq, Solar Households Unit for Water Desalination

 

12h30 – 13h00       Conclusions

 

EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 – How and where to apply?

 

Gaza, 8 February 2017

Almashtal Hotel

 

14:00 – 14:15          Welcoming words

Ministry of Education (via video conference with Ramallah)

Andrea Carignani, Head of Unit “EU Neighbourhood, Africa and the Gulf”, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

14:15- 14:45            General presentation of the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020

Tanya Dimitrova, Policy Officer “EU Neighbourhood, Africa and the Gulf”, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

Q&A

14:45 – 15:00          Coffee break

15:00 – 17:30          Nicola Tucci, Horizon 2020 training session

  • How to prepare and draft a successful proposal?
  • How to find partners and build a consortium?
  • Methodology
  • On-going open calls for proposals

Q&A

17:30                      Closure & Informal networking cocktail

 

Online webinar,

15 February 2017

11.00 AM (CET)

Join us for free!

This webinar will be the first of a series of MERID webinars providing information on how to increase the participation of Middle Eastern researchers in Horizon2020 Research and Innovation  programme enhancing research and innovation cooperation. The webinar broadcast on 15 February 2017 will focus on a particular measure of H2020, the MSCA-RISE. RISE is one of the 4 types of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, whose general objective is to support research training and career development for researchers at all stages, targeting innovation skills by encouraging transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. Supporting excellent researchers for excellent research.

The webinar, after a brief overview of the measure and type of action, will focus on good practices to provide a practical guidance for potential beneficiaries. In particular, the case of the RISE  CLUSDEV MED will be presented, where the main objective is to build joint collaborative projects for developing clusters as new potential instruments to reinforce research in the food, water and energy sectors by drawing together academic research teams from the EU and Mediterranean countries with multidisciplinary skills and expertise in the field of clusters.

Join us here for the webinar: Zoom.us platform. We advise downloading the latest version of this platform by clicking here before the webinar. In order to get familiar on how the platform works, please click here.

The webinar is organized and delivered by the MERID project’s partners CIHEAM Bari and Europe for Business.

The webinars attendance is free and open to everybody.

Register now to select the time of webinar!

Registration form: https://docs.google.com/a/scom.eu/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdzMFrz3VqkB_pHDBaUs-MGMFNLcSvT7Z6XiMU479ZTCMmDfg/viewform

 

 

Supporting documents available:
H2020-MSCA-RISE-2017 Part A and Part B template h2020-call-pt-msca-rise-2016-17_en
H2020 Work Programme 2016 – 2017: lET5qk-h2020-wp1617-msca_en
RISE 2016 – Research Policy Brief: khB9e8-RISE-2016-Research-Policy-Brief
RISE 2016 Support Document – Analysis of funded and unsuccessful proposals: RISE-2016-Support-Document-Analysis-of-funded-and-unsuccessful-proposals

Towards enhancing framework conditions for cooperation between the European Union and the Middle East

Press Release

Beirut (Lebanon), 1 December 2016. National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) Lebanon hosted MERID regional event with the title Towards enhancing framework conditions for cooperation between the European Union and the Middle East that took place on 1 December 2016. The aim of event was to address and discuss the remaining obstacles in cooperation in the field of science and research between the EU and Middle Eastern countries and capitalize the already existing collaboration frameworks. Event was further split to two moderated panel sessions, where experts from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria shared their experience on intellectual property rights policy, scientific visas and open access arrangements. Second moderated panel discussion was focused in management of technology and energy as two examples of concrete cooperation between the two regions.

In welcoming remarks, Mouïn Hamze (Secretary General of the CNRS-L), Jose Vinuesa (Sustainable Development Section, EU Delegation to Lebanon), Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry (President of the Euro-Mediterranean University, EMUNI) and Tanya Dimitrova (DG Research and Innovation, European Commission) emphasized the need for increased and enhanced cooperation, building trust, boosting cooperation in the areas, where collaboration already exists and surpass the remaining obstacles that are hindering the cooperation. Jose Vinuesa pointed out that in today’s globalized world, no major challenge can be solved without strong cooperation in science and research. In addition, he advocates the need for building trust among regions and the endeavours for stability and security. In this context, Tanya Dimitrova briefly presented the Horizon 2020 programme as an instrument that supports experts, policy makers and researchers to build upon new ideas and initiatives. The EU and the Middle East are facing certain societal challenges that can be addressed only in close collaboration between the regions. Abdlehamid El-Zoheiry stressed the fact that there are many areas of cooperation between the EU and the Middle East, but still too many obstacles obstruct the exploitation of their full potential.

The keynote speech was delivered by Alessandro Ovi, Vice President of the Foundation for World Wide Cooperation, who highlighted the international and regional cooperation from different angle. Language of science has no boarders, therefore it serves as a tool for creation of peace. It is of crucial importance that the intellectual resources in each institution and country is fully explored and exploited. This is how we can properly address the topic, draft recommendations, do the mapping, design policies or prepare reports on how to improve the cooperation in certain area. Cooperation can be also lifted by encompassing people from different cultures and religions – this is what we call movement of connections. If people from different background sit around the same table, we create the most efficient atmosphere to address the topic and, moreover, combat against extremist ideologies and bridge the cultural and religious gaps.

In setting the scene, Marie Vandendriessche (ESADE Business and Law School), George Bonas (CeRISS) and Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry (EMUNI) presented conclusions of MERID conference in Barcelona (May 2016), touched upon the progress of preparing the stocktaking report and pointed out those obstacles that affect the cooperation the most.

First moderated panel was dedicated to explore the state of intellectual property rights, scientific visa and open access. Experts from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon presented their experience in tackling these areas and in particular, shared the country’s regulatory frame and where improvements can be made. Two main findings can be extracted from the panel: there are no single and unified regulations for these areas, but there is a space for synergies; research is in many countries underfinanced and subject to changing yearly budget.

Second moderated panel on management of technology and energy was more thematically focused, since our aim was to see how the topics, elaborated in the first panel, affect the cooperation in concrete projects. Two findings can be listed at the end of the panel: there are already ongoing projects with the EU counterparts in both areas; there is a need for enhancing the trust building process between the institutions from the EU and the Middle East.

The live streaming was followed by more than 70 people. Full details of the event, included the live twitting report, can be found on MERID channels: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Conclusions of the event will be available soon.

 

TWITTER MOMENT: https://twitter.com/i/moments/804333071105462272

 

FOTO GALLERY

merid lancioxcf

MERID regional event: towards enhancing framework conditions for cooperation between the European Union and the Middle East

CNRS-L (Jnah Beirut), Lebanon, Thursday, 1 December 2016

The aim of the event is to tackle the existing framework conditions for cooperation focusing on one or more specific thematic societal challenges.

The specificities of the event are to discuss the IPR structure, scientific visas and open access arrangements with Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian experts, coming from academia and policy-making sector.

For more info about the agenda, please consult:

http://meridproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Draft_Agenda_Lebanon_Event_Beirut-1.docx

The event will start at 9.30 am (local time).

You can watch the live streaming here:

 

MERID regional event: towards enhancing framework conditions for cooperation between the European Union and the Middle East

CNRS-L (Jnah Beirut), Lebanon, Thursday, 1 December 2016

The aim of the event is to tackle the existing framework conditions for cooperation focusing on one or more specific thematic societal challenges, i. e. energy. The specificities of the particular event is to discuss the IPR structure, scientific visas and open access arrangements with Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian experts, coming from academia and policy-making sector.

Draft agenda

9h00 – 9h30 Registration

9h30 – 10h00  Welcome Remarks

–          Mouin Hamze, Secretary General of the National Center for Scientific Research of Lebanon

–          Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, President of the Euro-Mediterranean University

–          Maria Cristina Russo, Directorate for International Cooperation, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission

–          Christina Lassen, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon (TBC)

10h00 – 10h40 Keynote speeches

–          Alessandro Ovi, Vice President of the Foundation for World Wide Cooperation

10h40 – 11h00 Setting the Scene

–          Angel Saz-Carranza, Director of ESADEgeo, ESADE Business and law School

11h00 – 11h30 Tackling remaining obstacles in EU-Middle East cooperation

–          Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, President of the Euro-Mediterranean University

MERID Stocktaking Report

–          George Bonas, Managing Director, CeRISS

11h30 – 12h00 Coffee break

12h00 – 13h30 Moderated round table on:

–          Intelectual Property Rights,

–          Open Access and

–          Scientific Visas.

13h30 – 14h30 Lunch break

14h30 – 16h00 Moderated round table on:

–          Technology & Innovation Management and Transfer and

–          Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy.

16h00 – 16h30 Wrap up

20h00 Working dinner

Draft_Agenda_Lebanon_Event_Beirut-1

2nd Coaching Session of H2020 MERID project focused on the Middle East researchers and experts

Following the 1st coaching session that was successfully conducted on 1-2 June 2016, Europe for Business Ltd is happy to announce about the 2nd coaching session targeted to the Middle East researchers and experts from the H2020 MERID project members of consortia on 11-12 July 2016.

A representative from Europe for Business Ltd Leonardo Piccinetti will conduct a face-to-face coaching sessions that will last for 30 minutes time slot individually for each researcher or expert. The highest possible impact for the researcher or expert will be assured by following a structured pattern. Please see the Guidelines for coaching session.

The main objective of the coaching session is to discuss either project ideas or to obtain a specific ‘positioning’ advice taking into account participants field of expertise and the thematic areas they might target within open and upcoming calls for proposals.

On behalf of Europe for Business Ltd team we kindly ask you to indicate your preferred date and timing between 9:00 – 13:00 (GMT +2) on 11-12 July 2016 by clicking here.

The coaching session will be conducted through Zoom.us platform, please download the latest version by clicking here and get familiar with the platform before the face-to-face session takes place by clicking here.

Please find bellow the Guidelines for coaching session and complete the registration Registration Form by clicking here.

Looking forward for the successful coaching session!

On behalf of Europe for Business Ltd team

Guidelines for coaching session

Synthetic Conclusions from the Energy & Water Panel

Angel Saz-Carranza, Marie Vandendriessche, Alison Courtney

Conclusion 1: The need for science in public policy

Science introduces rationality into the public policymaking cycle.

All speakers on the panel were technical experts with strong, specialized knowledge on the scientific foundations of their field of study. They were thus able to provide policy-makers with concrete and indispensable information, both on their academic research fields and research cooperation in their fields.

Specific examples of how scientific data and research can improve public policy included:

  • Shatanawi (Jordan) and Rabi (Palestine) engaged in a conversation on possible technical solutions to the Dead Sea’s ongoing evaporation.

  • Shatanawi illustrated the critical energy-water nexus, arguing that energy produced through hydropower could in turn be used to provide drinking water, by powering the desalination plants which will become ever more necessary in the future, as the effects of climate change become apparent in the region.

  • Candela (Spain) underscored the need for specific cost-benefit analysis and financial sustainability in water projects, to guarantee their execution and survival.

  • Ghaddar (Lebanon) promoted out-of-the-box thinking to develop alternative solutions to address the modern-day and future challenge of global warming, including localized cooling systems, bioclimatic planning for outdoor thermal comfort, and the use of solar energy to power cooling and dehumidification solutions.

  • Al-Naseri (Iraq) provided a detailed diagnostic (rationally the first step in any policy-making process) of the water situation in Iraq, and highlighted the need to improve the energy efficiency of desalinization and water treatment processes.

  • From the audience, Woertz (Germany) raised the issue of complex interactions, for example, the behavioral and scientific research that has found that raising efficiency can drive consumption up (Jevons Paradox, or the rebound effect).

In short, scientific research and knowledge must be taken into account when designing policies, thereby introducing rationality into policymaking, which was also mentioned by Octavi Quintana-Trias (EC) in the previous panel.

However, as Ghaddar remarked, in order to create a mutually beneficial relation between science and politics, there is a stark need for trust between the two parties (as was also mentioned by Javier Solana in his key note speech). Science must trust politics and vice-versa. This requires enhanced transparency and openness in governance.

Recommendation 1: Foster dialogue between scientists and policymakers in order to increase the rationality of public policy.

Recommendation 2: In order to maximize the effectiveness and the scope of the science-policy dialogue, trust between scientists and policymakers is critical. Trust can be built and grown by improving the transparency of governance and its processes.

Conclusion 2: Adapt to the context. Develop appropriate technology & capacity-building

A key conclusion is that technological solutions are not automatically appropriate in different contexts, and that new technologies require specific capacity-building. Rabi, speaking from the Palestinian context, strongly advocated for the latter.

While Al-Naseri strongly supported science and technology to solve the main water issues confronting the region, Ghaddar complemented his remarks by underscoring that one-size-fits-all does apply in this case: confronted with climate change for example, some countries have gone nuclear, others are going solar.

Candela called for transposing, with the necessary adaptation to the local context, technologies which had proven successful in foreign settings. Spain’s experience during the past decades could be a guiding example, where scientists were trained abroad, then returned and adapted learnings to local context.

Asl-Soleimani (Iran) argued that there are critical problems with local engagement and knowledge: many programs are started; then abandoned because of lack of knowledge. He proposed, on the one hand, that it was necessary to improve knowledge of research and science so that people understand their usefulness for their daily lives.

On the other hand, and again speaking from the Iranian context, with which no formal and consistent research cooperation frameworks have existed up to now, Asl-Soleimani suggested that scientific cross-border cooperation should attempt to generate the necessary local institutions capable of producing locally appropriate technologies. In other words, he believed research funding should be used to set up practical or theoretical institutions in the destination countries in order to define research needs, develop new research and cooperation, and assist in determining the optimal distribution of research funds at the local level.

Recommendation 3: Ensure policies supporting science and research are adapted to local contexts, making sure to explore issue linkages when designing these policies.

Recommendation 4: Focus on local capacity-building, both (a) for the implementation of new technologies and (b) to determine local needs in terms of research funding and priorities.

Conclusion 3: Include input from non-governmental stakeholders to improve effectiveness, implementation and reach

Many panelists pointed out that involving all stakeholders in research planning was key in ensuring effectiveness; it is an important step in generating broad support along the full research life cycle. Involving businesses, civil stakeholders, and end users, particularly, was pointed out as a critical element. As such, several interesting points were put forward.

Candela suggested that strategic research plans involve stakeholders and users, and pointed out that in Spain, research funding is conditional on the involvement of all stakeholders, including users, in the project proposal phase.

Regarding business, a comment from the floor underscored that many technically viable solutions are hampered by the obstructing efforts of incumbent market players. Rabi thus replied that precisely because of this, business must be taken into account as a key stakeholder.

Ghaddar also pointed to the critical role of stakeholders in both research and education, suggesting to create alliances between hard sciences and humanities in order for the former to speak the language of the people. This may also help attract young talent, as well as improving research dissemination and communication.

Asl-Soleimani explained that this also applies in Iran, remarking that the mass emigration of scientists is in part due to the current governance, which has led to a clear lack of research facilities at home. In this context, he repeated the call for dialogue between scientists and policymakers to address this situation.

Lastly, again from the floor, Bogliotti proposed the idea that perhaps some sort of permanent platform or institution on water in the Mediterranean region could be set up, including all stakeholders, including governments and research institutions, in order to (a) advocate for change, including at the political level, and (b) substantiate and implement the solutions currently available rather than creating yet another shopping list of demands.

A comment from the floor underscored that a great deal of research has been carried out in the region, including on STI cooperation. However, there has been very little progress in implementation. One proposal is therefore to pause new research for one year, and simply implement existing research. This exercise will aid in identifying, among the countries of the region, the elements that are missing in order to reach the critical implementation phase.

Recommendation 5: Link businesses, technology, and research challenges: include all stakeholders – including businesses and end users – in research planning in order to ensure effectiveness of research outcomes and improve their chances of implementation.

Recommendation 6: Creating links between hard sciences and humanities and improving communication on research can both extend the reach of research outcomes and help to attract young talent to research fields.

Recommendation 7: Focus on implementing existing research outcomes first and identifying bottlenecks in implementation rather than embarking on new research funding and endeavors.

Driving Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation at EMUNI’s annual conference on Migration, Diaspora and Brain Circulation

Thursday, 12 May 2016, Barcelona, Spain

EMUNI’s 2016 annual conference, together with its General Assembly, and the regional event of project MERID (Horizon2020 project funded by the EU) addressed the role of diaspora in intercultural dialogue, trust-building and development cooperation between the European Union, Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East countries. Interactive discussions and lively debates examined the potential use of Diaspora as bridges for building trust and catalysts for cooperation and partnership in the Euro-Mediterranean region and Middle East. The event also aimed at employing science diplomacy in exploring new avenues of cooperation, particularly with Iran and Iraq.

The event, which was hosted by the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, hosted over 130 high profile participants, including heads of international organizations, rectors and vice-rectors of universities, senior academics and officials as well as policy-makers from 29 countries and international organisations. The keynote opening speech was given by Javier Solana, President of ESADEgeo – Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics.

Three lively panels including 18 high-profile pannelists discussed the constructive use of brain circulation to advance scientific cooperation and unleash the untapped potential of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern scientific communities. By employing science, technology and innovation in addressing the cross-cutting societal challenges of water and renewable energy in the region, the panel organised through the MERID project offered new avenues and identified potential obstacles for EI-Middle East cooperation. Resulting from the fruitful discussions, a set of recommendations of how to surpass the remaining obstacles in cooperation between the European and the Middle Eastern research communities were compiled and presented. Many contributions, inputs, ideas, statements and interventions can be found on MERID’s twitter profile and under the hashtag #braincirculation.

 

About the event

This is a time of both intense challenges and critical opportunities for the relationship between the European Union and the North African and Middle Eastern region. A series of highly significant socio-political developments – such as the immense refugee flows from war-struck Syria and Iraq, the diverse reactions of European societies to these flows, as well as the signing of the JCPOA with Iran – may prove to be either barriers to inter-cultural understanding, or an opportunity to build trust, bridges and tolerance between the two regions.

The aim of this event, which brings together EMUNI’s 2016 General Assembly and the Horizon-2020 project MERID’s Regional Event, is to address the role of diaspora in intercultural dialogue, trust-building, and development cooperation and to explore the roles of these diaspora in cooperation on science, technology and innovation between the EU and its southern neighbors.

This event will focus, on the one hand, on the constructive use of brain circulation to advance beneficial scientific cooperation and unleash the untapped potential of the Middle Eastern scientific community. On the other hand, by examining the state of the science, technology and innovation on the cross-cutting societal issues of water and renewable energy in the region, the event will provide opportunities to explore fertile avenues for cooperation and identify potential obstacles to that cooperation.

Throughout the event, particular attention will be paid to Iran and Iraq, two relatively new players in the regional discussions, with whom no formal research cooperation has existed so far.

About EMUNI’s General Assembly, brain circulation and migration

Since the end of the cold war, and peaking in the 1990s, mass movements of refugees (largely from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia) have led to the formation of substantial diaspora that have consolidated themselves in destination countries and integrated in various forms of transnational activity. These diasporas, which developed as a consequence of refugee flows of migrants fleeing upheavals in their countries (what is referred to as migration crisis), are continuously reinforcing the transformation of societies worldwide.

Today, new communication technologies, the refugees’ increased education levels and the stronger role of the “old” diaspora has enabled new migrants and refugees arriving in Europe to increase their influence and impact on both the host country and their homeland. At the same time, and all over the world, existing diaspora – created by those who were once refugees – have largely contributed to the development of society in all fields (politics, economy, engineering, science etc.).

Following the end of World War II, large numbers of highly skilled scientists emigrated from Western Europe to the United States. In 1963, the British Royal Society published a report on the migration of scientists from the UK which received much media attention, triggering the Evening Standard newspaper to coin the term ‘brain drain’. Subsequently, the concept of “brain drain” and “brain gain” evolved to describe the relocation of researchers from one country/region (usually less developed, which suffers the drain) to another (more developed, which benefits from the gain). As such, this drain/gain concept has a negative connotation and is considered as a win-lose scenario.

More recently, the term “brain circulation” has been used to describe a dynamic system of human capital flows and exchanges. Countries may accrue benefits to their domestic scientific capacity through diaspora effects, where knowledge, skills and professional networks established by the “expatriate” researchers are shared with their countries of origin.

As EU borders become flooded with refugees and the European public opinions became polarized between friendly welcoming on the one hand and hostile rejection on the other, the need for building trust and inter-cultural understanding between Europe and the Middle East has never been so urgent.

In February 2015, EMUNI organized its annual conference on science diplomacy with the notion of utilizing science as a vehicle for intercultural understanding, inter-religious tolerance and rational discourse. Building on the topic of last year’s conference and its recommendations, EMUNI decided to further advance the cause within the current socio-political context, elaborating on what – in our opinion – are the main contemporary drivers/barriers of this cooperation. The 2015 conference achieved great success, particularly in terms of the policy recommendations, which were welcomed and taken into consideration by the European Commission at the highest levels, including the HR VP Federica Mogherini as well as high-level actors from the Southern Mediterranean such as Princess Sumaya of Jordan.

EMUNI thus wishes to capitalize on today’s socio-political developments in the relationship between Europe – and specifically the European Union – and the North African and Middle East region. The signing of the Iran nuclear deal, the immense flow of refugees from war-struck Syria and Iraq and the divergent response of the European societies to this crisis comprise both a challenge and an opportunity for the future of EU-Middle East cooperation. While appearing to be barriers for inter-cultural understanding, they also represent an opportunity and constitute drivers for building a culture of trust and tolerance between the two regions. We have to bear in mind that the refugees of today are the diasporas of tomorrow.

This conference pursues an activist approach, where our strategic objective is the “constructive use of brain circulation” to the benefit of intercultural dialogue and understanding. We need to bear in mind that diaspora comprise a huge potential that needs to be explored and unleashed. By engaging the Middle East diasporas in Europe in constructive brain circulation with their countries of origin, our conference provides avenues for prosperous scientific cooperation and tapping into the untapped potential of Middle East scientific community, particularly the youth.

The MERID Project: Science diplomacy in practice

The MERID project, starting in January 2015, is an example of science diplomacy in practice. It seeks to boost existing collaboration frameworks between the EU and Middle East countries while creating new channels and forging new links, especially with countries that are newcomers to EU cooperation in Research and Innovation. MERID’s ultimate goal is to employ Research and Innovation as channels for intercultural dialogue, understanding and reconciliation.
MERID involves diverse partners from the European Union Member States, in addition to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine as well as Iran and Iraq. Participation of the latter countries is of particular importance as the MERID project will represent the very first attempt to systematise support to the policy dialogue and engagement of research communities of Iran and Iraq in the EU’s actions and in particular the EU’s programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020”. The MERID partners were carefully selected to embrace relevant stakeholders from diverse backgrounds representing various sectors, from research governance organisations to civil society, including also academia and the business sector.
MERID adopts Science Diplomacy as a tool to deliver long-term impact and structuring effects on cooperation between the EU and the Middle East region. Its focus is primarily on direct cooperation among researchers and policy makers while striving to establish preconditions for fostering joint research projects and initiatives with the EU. This will be achieved by facilitating and creating framework conditions for international cooperation and increasing coordination between policies and programmes.
It is worth mentioning that the MERID project, under coordination of EMUNI, was chosen for funding among ten competing projects focusing on intensifying and encouraging research and innovation cooperation between the EU and the Middle East region along the first call of the EU H2020 programme for Research and Innovation.

Purpose of the MERID event

uilding on the MERID project objectives, the purpose of this event is to tackle the existing framework conditions for research and innovation cooperation between the EU and the Middle East region. In this event, we will address cooperation in science, technology and innovation by focussing on two specific thematic societal challenges: water and renewable energy. The magnitude of these challenges at the regional level and their wider international impact make them excellent fields for study, and sharing knowledge and brain circulation among researchers, experts and policy makers can significantly contribute to addressing these challenges and offering sustainable and long-term solutions. The specificities of this particular event were determined half-way through the MERID project in order to incorporate the input and priorities of countries such as Iraq and Iran that so far have not participated in any EU regional STI activities.

Expected outcomes

  • Generate an overview of the cutting-edge research being carried out in the MERID partner countries in (a) thematic area(s) of high socio-economic relevance.
  • Identify specific topics and areas of mutual interest and potential cooperation.
  • Identify obstacles to cooperation.
  • Commence a policy dialogue on building forward-looking framework conditions for STI cooperation while addressing current challenges.

Expected outputs

  • The conclusions of this regional event will be summarized in a report, shared with all MERID partners and participants, which will in turn provide valuable input for the full MERID project and three concrete MERID deliverables. They will:
  • Help to further develop and complete specific elements in the Policy Dialogue Action Plan.
  • Provide direct input for the Practical Framework for Enhancing STI Enabling Factors.
  • Help to identify opportunities and specific topics of interest for the Bilateral Policy Dialogues.

View the program of the event

H2020 Regional Middle East Info-Day

The “H2020 Regional Middle East Info-Day” was held by Iranian Association for Management of Technology (IRAMOT) in cooperation with MERID project partners on December 15, 2015 in Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran with the presence of some representatives of MERID partners and more than 50 Iranian participants from different organizations and institutions which were involved in STI sectorsin Iran.

Here are some of the organizations that participated in this meeting:

· Vice Presidency for Science and Technology,

· Ministry of Science, Research and Technology,

· Ministry of Petroleum,

· Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade,

· Ministry of Health and Medical Education-Pasteur Institute of Iran,

· Innovation and Flourishing Foundation,

· Technology Development Foundation,

· Center for Innovation and Technology Cooperation,

· Tehran Urban Planing and Reseach Centre,

· Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology

· Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences,

· The Research Center of New Technologies in Life Science Engineering of Tehran University,

· Agriculture Biotechnology Research of Iran,

· Vice Presidency for Science and Technology- Headquarters of Development of Nanotechnology,

· Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science,

· etc.

At the beginning of the conference each of the participants introduces themselves and their organizations. Then Mr. Ghadiri (Managing Director of IRAMOT) welcomed to all participants and briefly described the event and role of IRAMOT in MERID Project. After that, Dr. Mahdi Elyasi (Deputy of Policy Making and Strategic Evaluation of Vice Presidency for Science and Technology) described the goals and opportunities of taking part in these kinds of international programs for Iranian organizations. Then Mr. Hribar and Mr.Bonas presented the MERID project and opportunities in H2020 program for Iranian STI actors and also let everyone ask their questions in regard to the project.

H2020 Regional Middle East Info-Day

This event was held along with MERID project’s objectives in order to understand the status of Science, Research and Technology in Iran and to explore and enhance collaboration opportunities between Iranian STI actors and EU countries under H 2020 program.

H2020 Regional Middle East Info-Day

 Kick off Meeting

On Friday 13th, 2015, the Kick-off of the MERID (Middle East Research and Innovation Dialogue) took place in Portorož (Slovenia). MERID is a Horizon 2020 project coordinated by Euro Mediterranean University (EMUNI) in Slovenia.

MERID seeks to boost existing collaboration frameworks between the EU and Middle East countries while creating new channels and forging new links, especially with countries that are newcomers to EU cooperation in research and innovation. MERID’s ultimate goal is to employ research and innovation as channels for intercultural dialogue, understanding and reconciliation.

MERID involves diverse partners from the EU Member States, and in addition to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine also Iran and Iraq. Participation of the latter is of particular importance as the MERID project represents the very first attempt to systematise support to the policy dialogue and engagement of research communities of Iran and Iraq in EU’s programmes for Research and Innovation. MERID adopts Science Diplomacy as a tool to deliver long-term impact and structuring effects on cooperation between the EU and the Middle East region. Its focus is primarily on the direct cooperation among researchers and policy makers while striving to establish preconditions for fostering joint research projects and initiatives with the EU.

During the kick-off meeting, the president of EMUNI, Prof. Dr. Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, stressed the importance of the project as the very first attempt to involve researchers from the wider Middle East (with particular focus on Iran and Iraq) and a bridge of science diplomacy among between researchers and research institutions from the Middle East and the EU. As underlined by the project officer at the European Commission, Ms. Tanya Dimitrova, the MERID project represents an important turning point as it will contribute to the creation of a comprehensive strategy in order to further enhance cooperation between the European Union and Middle East in the future.