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.