On 5 September 2022, the conference “Tunisia’s association to Horizon Europe” was held in Tunis, gathering physically more than 380 high level participants representing the Tunisian research and innovation ecosystem. Researchers, small and medium-sized firms, start-ups, scientific societies, non-governmental groups involved in scientific activities, and institutional partners were among those who took part.
The event, celebrates the launch of the Horizon Europe Programme in the country, following the signature of the Association Agreement on 29 March 2022 and it has been organised by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in close coordination with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and the EU Delegation to the Republic of Tunisia.
The high-level conference featured panel sessions in a variety of fields, with a particular emphasis on Horizon Europe's five Missions (Adaptation to Climate Change, Cancer, Restore our Oceans and Waters by 2030, Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, A Soil Deal for Europe). The European Innovation Council (EIC), Horizon Europe's flagship programme for start-ups and SMEs, was also presented. Participants at the conference also discussed Tunisia's membership in Horizon Europe as a chance to discover collaborative creative solutions to common climate change concerns in the Mediterranean area.
The conference took place in the presence of Her Excellency, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tunisia, Mrs. Najla Bouden, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mr. Monsif Bukthir, the Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, Mrs Naila Al-Qunji, the Minister of Economy and Planification, Mr. Samir Saeed, the Minister of Agriculture, Water resources and Maritime Fisheries, Mr. Mahmoud Elias Hamza, the Minister of Heath, Mr. Ali Mur Abat, Ms Signe Ratso, Acting Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and His Excellency, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Tunisia, Mr. Marcos Cornaro.
Ms. Signe Ratso, the Horizon Europe Chief Negotiator and Acting Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, underlined in her speech that the association to Horizon Europe will enable Tunisian researchers and innovators to develop exciting and ambitious new research ties and collaborations with researchers and innovators throughout the EU and around the world while stressing that Tunisia is the only African and Arab country associated to Horizon Europe, as this was the case also in Horizon 2020. Ms. Ratso also highlighted that under the new Horizon Europe programme we will not only experience even better numbers in terms of Tunisia’s participation, but also a greater and more successful integration of Tunisia in the European Research Area.
During the opening session, an award ceremony honouring successful Tunisian stakeholders in the Horizon 2020 Programme and start-ups that have successfully completed the first stage of application for European Innovation Council (EIC) funding was held with the participation of Her Excellency, Prime Minister, Mrs Najla Bouden.
The Prime Minister visited as well the exhibition organised on the occasion of the conference and had exchanges with Tunisian representative of research and innovation projects funded by the Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation.
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