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Research and innovation
News article11 December 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

26th Meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean Regional Platform in Research and Innovation

On 11 December 2020, the 26th Meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean Regional Platform in Research and Innovation took place virtually and was co-chaired by Ms Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation of the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, and Ms Rasha Smadi, Director for International Cooperation of the Higher Council for Science & Technology of Jordan. The meeting was attended by senior-level representatives of the Ministries for Scientific Research from the following UfM Member States, encompassing North, South and the East Mediterranean: France, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, and lastly Tunisia. The Secretary-General of the UfM, Mr Kamel addressed the meeting in the opening.

Building on the agreement reached at our June meeting to focus future cooperation in the areas of climate change, renewable energy and health, the object of the discussions today were a set of draft Roadmaps that highlight key urgent challenges and knowledge gaps in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The draft Roadmaps were produced by a technical group of leading national experts over the past months and presented today at the Platform meeting.

For example: how R&I can help to improve the health emergency preparedness in the region and to establish sustainable and resilient health systems able to answer the needs of the populations, in particular those in a situation of vulnerability due to gender, age, socio-economic or health conditions; how R&I can help to modernize the electric power systems; energy loss management, and advanced technologies; lastly, how R&I can help to address water scarcity, food security and sustainable agriculture, and biodiversity in a Changing Climate.

The Platform’s senior-level members highly appreciated the work carried out by the technical expert group and concluded on the following next steps. First, setting up of an on-line stakeholder consultation on the draft Roadmaps targeting a wider network of stakeholders in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Second, working towards the finalised Roadmaps at the next meeting of the Platform by mid-2021.

25th anniversary of the Barcelona process – side event

Back-to-back with the Platform’s meeting, on the margins of the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Process, the European Commission’s DG Research & Innovation in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) jointly organised a regional seminar aiming at taking stock of the Euro-Mediterranean Research & Innovation cooperation and informing the wider community of stakeholders in the region about recent developments and future prospects. The seminar was opened by Ms Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation of the European Commission’s DG Research & Innovation, together with Mr Kamel, the Secretary-General of the UfM. In addition, Carl Hallergard, acting Managing Director at the EEAS as well as Mr Guglielmo di Cola, Member of Cabinet of Commissioner Gabriel intervened.

The seminar aimed to inform participants on the most recent developments, Euro-Mediterranean research and innovation cooperation initiatives and progress since the 2017 La Valetta declaration, as well as the current and future R&I priorities in the region. The seminar presented some  success stories of R&I cooperation in the region. In particular:

  • Mr. Hichem Bouzekri from the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) highlighted the evolution of FP7 and H2020 projects for development of demonstration pilot projects in the field of renewable energies – e.g. the project RESLAG.
  • Ms Rula Atweh from Lebanon’s National Council for Scientific Research emphasized active involvement of leading national universities, such as Berytech University, in Horizon 2020 initiatives like the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), the newly llaunched Green Deal Call, and finally Marie-Curie Actions.
  • Ms Susan Kholeif from the Nationa Institue for Oceanography and Fisheries of Egypt highlighted the fruitful exchanges between researchers of key Mediterranean Partner Countries and Europe’s Member States for tackling issues of over-fishing in the Mediterranean Sea – i.e. project PEGASO.
  • Finally, Mr Hichem Ben Hassine from the Pasteur Institute of Tunis presented on successful mobilisation of leading Tunisian researchers for participations in Horizon 2020.

The seminar was open to the participation of  researchers, representatives from academia and industry and research institutes, technology transfer centers, incubators, technology platforms, grant offices at universities and research centers, from the 43 UfM countries.


More information

International cooperation with the Mediterranean region


Publication date
11 December 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation