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The event “EU-IRAN Higher Education and Research” was held on 3-4 July at the University of Tehran.

Organized by the European Commission (EC), the event had seen the participation of representatives from the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, the Governments of Iran, the Netherlands and Germany, several Universities from Europe and the Middle East and EU-funded projects.

Under the spotlight, the opportunities of the cooperation in research and innovation with Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ programmes. Moreover, workshops were held on different topics, such as: “EU-Middle East Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation”, “Key Enabling Technologies”, “Horizon 2020 Social Sciences Thematic Programme”, etc.

Merid participated with four partners of the consortium: CERISS (Center for Regional and International STI Studies and Support), ESADE (Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics), MOST (Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology) and IRAMOT (Iranian Association for Management of Technology).

Dr. George Bonas of CERISS held a speech about the “Do’s and Don’ts for a successful Horizon 2020 applicationand moderated a workshop to present the draft Comprehensive Policy Paper on “Future EU-ME cooperation opportunities – Recommendations for an enhanced EU-ME STI cooperation“.

The Event was very successful” – Dr. George Bonas said – with the participation of a lot of Iranian stakeholders (Ministry of Science, Research and Technology; Ministry of Health and Medical Education; Vice-Presidency; Rectors and other representatives of Universities from Tehran and many other cities; etc.) which also proves that the interest in H2020 topics is strong. “My presentation helped attendees to better understand the necessary steps to take in order to improve cooperation from both from the authorities side, as well as from the researchers side”. 

The parallel Workshop, dedicated to the discussion of the recommendations, attracted a wide range of experts and representatives of our stakeholder groups and it was among the most demanded workshops in terms of participants. Many contacts and discussions were held during the two days with several stakeholders. This allowed MERID partners to get valuable insights on the views of the Iranians and on the obstacles that can exist in their participation in H2020.

Amir Gharit, who participated at the event on behalf of IRAMOT, shared with us his impressions:

“The event was a true success, and allowed sharing information with more than 90 participants from different provinces of Iran. The first day focused more on research and H-2020 projects while the second day was about the educational programs of EC. I really appreciate George’s speech and I was not the only one. I heard people referring to that speech until the end of the event. 

Our project session was also a success. Lots of Iranians came to me after the session to know more about our experience in H2020 participation, so that I will do other workshops in different national research centers and universities.”

Samir Badrawi of MOST was delighted with the good impression made by MERID: “Day-1 event was very fruitful and successful. MERID group was shining, and all attendees of the workshop with George Bonas were really happy when George revealed some tips on how to make successful application for winning H2020 Calls. Besides, presenting MERID as a successful project case of H2020 made the session even more active“.

In addition, Kyriaki  Papageorgiou from ESADE provided a testimonial on her Marie Curie experience and Marie Vandendriessche, also from ESADE, contributed to the session on Jean Monnet activities by presenting the project MEKBiz that she managed. ESADE has been active also to conduct bilateral policy dialogue meetings with the participants of the event.

MERID – Middle East Research and Innovation Dialogue project – is a coordination and support project funded by Horizon 2020. Active since January 2015, the project is focused on Science Diplomacy, to intensify and encourage Research & Innovation cooperation between the EU and the Middle East region.

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An overall report of the event is available on the website of the European Commission at the following link: http://bit.ly/2uZ8FaI


Rami M. Ayoubi is Senior International Development Consultant. PhD Supervisor School of Management at Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. Last year, he participated at the regional event organized by MERID in Beirut. As a researcher with direct experience in the field of scientific exchanges between countries and international programmes of funding for research, we asked him to share with us his ideas, hopes and critiques about the state of science diplomacy.

According to the current situation, which are, in your opinion, the most significant difficulties that science diplomacy faces? Could these difficulties be considered actual limits for science diplomacy?

I think that science diplomacy is an innovative concept and activity by itself. If implemented comprehensively, science diplomacy could result in better life for people. However, there are constraints and difficulties which could limit its implementation. In summary, the main challenges are around three major constraints: macro support from governments, implementation support from funding bodies, and micro support from the scientists themselves.

I listed some of these below:

  • There is no comprehensive approach to science diplomacy. It is rather micro small attempts from activists in cultural and science dialogue.
  • The policy of most countries is still under-represented when it comes to science diplomacy.
  • The traditional view of people towards scientist as non-leader of change in the society, makes it very difficult to get positive public opinion in most countries when it comes to border-less science.
  • Most scientists around the world are not lobbying enough with each other aiming at establishing organizations of scientists without borders.
  • The funding bodies, including the European Commission, should play and pay a bigger attention and role to potential projects that would enhance dialogue and science diplomacy between nations. MERID is a good example, but the question is how many MERIDs are there?

Do you think that science diplomacy could have a proactive role for the topics of instability and migration?

When it comes to issues like instability and migration, I prefer to adopt the scientists’ dialogue. In my opinion, I think that the scientific approach of most scientists and their objective approach of putting solutions to global issues will help for better life internationally. Therefore, science diplomacy could have a proactive role for the current critical topics of instability and migration. However, this is very much linked to the current difficulties that scientists are facing with the biased behavior of some of their governments. The scientific approach of creating solutions to instability and migration with a flavor of leadership skills and diplomacy skills will enhance the possibility to create some immediate solutions that could ease these issues.

Can you describe whether and how the MERID project has an impact on your activities?

I think the aims of the MERID project are both holistic and doable. Myself, when I first participated in the activities of this project, I was not very clear of its outcomes. However, by time and after joining some of its activities and practicing science diplomacy practices through the workshops, I felt personally that this project will have an impact on my current activities and work. Working previously with Erasmus+ in Syria, with the Ministry of higher education and currently as adviser for international development at Cardiff Met university in UK, the MERID project enhanced my thoughts towards science diplomacy with the current Syrian Government (despite the European sanctions), and supported my current activities at Cardiff Met of working with colleagues towards establishing global academies for global crisis solutions.

Since 2015, MERID project has been working to contribute to the development of science diplomacy, with a particular focus on the Middle East region, through the organization of webinars, regional events, dissemination of information, etc.., mainly addressing the issues of brain circulation and science diasporas. 

MERID project includes 13 partners from 13 European and Middle East countries, coordinated by Euro-Mediterranean University EMUNI.

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IRAMOT 2015

IRAMOT Conference 2015 will be held during Dec 16-17, 2015 with the motto of “Learning and Technological Innovation in Large Enterprises and Networks” in Tehran, Iran.

The conference will be held to provide a platform and bring together the global community in the field of Management of Technology.

These are the conference’s main topics:

  1.  The Linkage of Innovation Strategy with Business Strategy in Large Enterprises and Network
  2. Models and Processes of Enhancing Absorptive Capacity; from Learning to Innovation
  3. Inter-organizational and International Technological Networks, Interactions and Co-operations
  4. Learning and Technological Innovation in Large Enterprises and Networks  in the Context of a Resilient and Knowledge-based Economy
  5. Mechanisms of Financing for Technological Development in Large Enterprises and Networks
  6. The Role of Intellectual Property in Learning and Technological Innovation in large Enterprises and Networks