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Research and innovation
News article27 April 2021Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

UfM regional platform in research and innovation wraps up 2nd Virtual Stakeholder Consultation Workshop

Participants at the 2nd Virtual Stakeholder Consultation Workshop organised by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Platform in Research and Innovation on 21 April discussed the preliminary results of an online survey aimed at gathering input from all key stakeholders on three Roadmaps & TCIPs for future priorities on Climate Change, Renewable Energies, and Health.

UfM’s Virtual Consultation Workshop on 21 April connected members of its newly established Expert Group and key stakeholders relevant institutions and organisations, as well as members of the UfM Bureau. The online meeting underscored UfM’s longstanding commitment for an effective and inclusive Euro-Mediterranean regional cooperation agenda.

Co-chaired by the European Commission and Jordan, the workshop, shared the preliminary results from the online survey currently underway (17 March to 7 May 2021) on the three Roadmaps & Theories of Change and Impact Pathways (TCIPs) being developed by the Expert Group according to the three priority areas – health, renewable energy and climate change – as well as the horizontal integration dimension of the UfM priorities.  

The survey is directed at civil society, governmental organisations at local, regional and national levels along with private sector entities and higher education and research institutions. Its purpose is to help UfM Member States identify targeted topics to focus on in each of the priority areas and help refine the draft Roadmaps &TCIPs to be adopted by the Senior Officials at the next UfM R&I Platform in June 2021.

Opening remarks were made by the Co-chairs of the UfM Bureau Platform on R&I, Ms Nienke Buisman (EC DG-RTD) and Ms Rasha Smadi (HCST Jordan), as well as Ms Itaf Ben Abdallah, from the UfM Secretariat, Senior Advisor on Higher Education and Research. In a truly collective effort, the Expert Group members together with the stakeholders can help fine-tune the working documents to be addressed in this ongoing consultation process and help to chart a more sustainable course for the Mediterranean.

Preliminary survey results

Dr Sonia Abdelhak, from the Institut Pasteur of Tunis presented several preliminary survey results for health. The top three priorities for health were smarter, greener and healthier cities; sustainable and resilient health systems for societies; and reducing health inequalities.  As far as the top three threats for health, respondents selected inequities and disparities at the level of the population; limited preparedness of the health systems to face health threats; and the lack of trust of communities towards research, health professionals and policymakers.

Professor Sara Rainieri, from the University of Parma, Italy shared the preliminary survey results on renewable energy. The top three priorities included advanced technologies / hydrogen production with renewable energies; distribution system modernisation; and modernisation of the electric power systems.  Encouraging renewable energy transition and low carbon technologies and ensuring energy security and reducing energy risk were renewable energy subtopics respondents felt would benefit local societies and contribute to a sustainable process.

Laurent Drapeau, IRD, presented the results for climate change. The top three priorities for climate change were water scarcity; food security and sustainable agriculture; and biodiversity in climate change.  The main threat identified was the possible negative impact on socio-economic parameters including poverty, health risks, migration, livelihood, urbanisation and food crisis to name a few. Other threats were the negative impact on biodiversity and on food security.

Addressing the horizontal integration of the UfM priorities, Dr. Abdelhak noted that there is a common vision based on preliminary feedback and the Expert Group has taken into consideration high priority areas/topics to improve. There were direct links between climate change and health including epidemiological risks related to new emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases and heat stress. Indirect links include food insecurity and malnutrition, water insecurity. These links cause increases in inequities and vulnerability among the Mediterranean populations and associated risk of population displacement and migration which need to be addressed.  

As for links with renewable energies, solutions with both short and medium-long term impacts were addressed. The goal is to move towards smart cities based on sustainable and ‘healthy’ sources of energy aids in strengthening the health system.

The workshop concluded with comments from Stefan A. Haffner, DLR, Germany who mentioned that the Roadmaps & TCIPs and will be finalised and integrated into one document before June 2021.  He urged participants to share the survey link with colleagues as the online survey will run until 9 May 2021. 

The Roadmaps & TCIPs will be further refined by the Expert Group in view of their final adoption at the 27th meeting of the UfM Platform in June 2021. 

Background information

The UfM Regional Platform in Research and Innovation actively supports the sustainable development of the Mediterranean region and plays a central role in stimulating and monitoring Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the fields of research and innovation.

Further to the Platform’s meeting in June 2020, an Expert Group was commissioned with developing draft Roadmaps &Theory of Change and Impact Pathways – (TCIPs) in the three identified priority areas of health, renewable energy and climate change. These Roadmaps &TCIPs set out the main challenges in the region from the perspective of research and innovation collaboration between Member States of the UfM, as well as opportunities or potential intervention areas for enhancing this collaboration in the coming years.


Publication date
27 April 2021
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation