• Posted 20-Jul-2021

27th Meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Platform in Research and Innovation

On 7 July 2021, the 27th Meeting of the UfM Regional Platform in Research and Innovation took place virtually.

Attended by more than 60 participants, the meeting was co-chaired by Ms Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation of the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, and Mr Arafah Dia-Eddin, Secretary-General, Higher Council for Science & Technology of Jordan.

The virtual meeting was an opportunity to present and adopt the roadmaps pertaining to R&I cooperation priorities in the region, namely renewable energy, health and climate change. Participants in the meeting also engaged in an active discussion around possible implementation modalities aiming at putting those roadmaps into action.  Participants also discussed the state-of-play and results of the Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), and its contribution to the joint EU-Mediterranean R&I policy agenda. 

Sustainable development in the region

In his introductory remarks, Mr Nasser Kamel, UfM Secretary-General stressed the importance of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the fields of research and innovation (R&I).  Considered central to the region, R&I builds bridges and assists to share common knowledge. 

Kamel noted that the three key priorities – climate change, health and renewable energies – are of paramount importance to the region along with regional cooperation.  He cited PRIMA and BlueMed as successful science-based initiatives.

Addressing the meeting, Russo spoke of the new global approach to R&I adopted by the European Commission on 18 May 2021. Its aim is to strengthen multilateral partnerships to deliver new solutions to green, digital, health and innovation challenges.

The meeting took stock of the work done so far, including the PRIMA initiative and its achievements and to look at the future on how to structure work in R&I in the three priority areas.

Co-Presidents of the PRIMA Foundation, Angelo Riccaboni and Mohamed Shinawi took the floor to present the results of PRIMA.  Shinawi spoke of how close cooperation in education, science and research helped to overcome challenges. Riccaboni presented PRIMA’s achievements mentioning that the policy aligns with accelerating green transition and recovery in the Mediterranean region.  He noted that equal footing in governing and managing between Northern and Southern countries resulted in mutual trust-building and encouraging collaboration among stakeholders. Riccaboni presented PRIMA’s initiatives and concluded that it was a fully functional and efficient platform in implementing its R&I agenda. It holds a growing role in scientific diplomacy, supports new R&I roadmaps developed by the UfM’s Regional Platform on R&I and was ready to collaborate.

Co-chairs of the UfM Bureau Platform on R&I, Nienke Buisman (EC DG-RTD) and Mahmoud Abu Hussein HCST Jordan provided an overview of the Roadmaps and Horizontal Crisis Management Approach on future priorities. It was agreed to create a common reference point for future activities in the three priority areas along suggestions for their horizontal integration.

Armela Dino of the Spanish Ministry of Science & Innovation presented the Concept Note which sets out instruments and modalities for future implementation of the R&I Roadmaps. The document provides a good opportunity for an increased and more effective investment in the region and addresses the need for a long-term framework in R&I and capacity building.

John Bell, Director for Healthy Planet (DG RTD) spoke on R&I collaboration in the Mediterranean and the contribution of PRIMA. He mentioned that both sides of the Mediterranean are facing socio-economic challenges that are impacting lives and livelihoods. The Roadmaps are an excellent way to deliver effective, sustainable development and socio-economic impact.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Roadmaps. 

On 8 July, the European Commission in collaboration with the UfM organized a virtual workshop that took place on the occasion of the Launching of Horizon Europe (HE). The aim of the workshop was to bring together multiple R&I stakeholders in the EUROMED region aiming at introducing cooperation opportunities under HE. The event brought together close to 200 participants from various countries, namely Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Oman; Italy, Spain, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania and Portugal; Canada, Albania, Libya, Israel, Palestine, UK, Syria, Yemen and Montenegro.

Source: European Commission I Research and Innovation (https://bit.ly/3wEEtjH)