Tunisia seeks to create Mediterranean spaces of research, innovation and higher education (Chahed)

Tunisia aims to create Mediterranean spaces dedicated to research, innovation and higher education, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said Friday at the opening of the Third Ministerial Conference on Research, Innovation and Higher Education of the Dialogue 5+5 taking place on March 30-31 in Tunis.

These spaces will be based on the principle of free movement of researchers between the two western shores of the Mediterranean and on a connection to regional and global scientific networks to facilitate the exchange of scientific data and develop skills.

“Promoting the 5+5 dialogue to develop partnership and solidarity relations between the countries of the northern and southern shores of the Western Basin of the Mediterranean is the basic principle supported by Tunisia in its collaboration with member countries of the dialogue”, said the Prime Minister.

The organisation of this 3rd ministerial conference in Tunisia reflects the importance Tunisia attaches to higher education, scientific research and innovation, he said.

He added that the higher education sector is experiencing a qualitative leap through the restructuring of the entire national research system, which is now more open to the socio-economic fabric and changes in the labour market.

Youssef Chahed also indicated that a national conference on higher education reform will take place on June 30 and July 1, 2017.

This reform will take place on five major axes: university training, employment, human resources, Governance and innovation.

“The national unity government will ensure that these reforms are carried out without delay,” said Chahed, stressing the importance he attaches to bilateral and multilateral partnerships in the field of higher education and R and I.

He cited the numerous signed with the European Union on December 1, 2015 which made it possible to join the Horizon 2020 programme.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Slim Khalbous explained that strengthening co-operation between the western shores of the Mediterranean remains the best way to face regional and global competition.

“Technology transfer contributes to the economic growth of less developed areas and opens up new markets where levels of social and political stability are constantly improving,” he said.

He also highlighted the need for the 5 + 5 countries to collaborate more closely in the field of intellectual property and for free access to the basic data bases and platforms.

Collaboration between researchers in the region under the Horizon 2020 programme Prima (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area) will help bridge the gap and regulate the brain drain through the creation of poles of excellence in member countries.

A “Tunis Declaration on Higher Education, Research and Innovation will close the proceedings of this conference.

It will focus on intellectual property, patenting and exchange of students, academics and research between countries on both sides of the joint financing of research in the Mediterranean region, the minister told the press.

Source: TAP news Agency