Final Report Summary - MAP2ERA (Strengthening EU cooperation capacity of the National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Morocco: Towards Morocco’s integration into the ERA)
The Kingdom of Morocco is one of the most stable and dynamic European neighbours in the Mediterranean region. For the first time ever the Moroccan government's Five-Year Plan for 2000-2004 articulated the priority lines for research. The declared objectives of this plan were to align S&T research with socio-economic development priorities. Sectors declared as priority areas were (in priority order): agriculture, health, fisheries, drinking water, geology, mining, energy, environment, information and telecommunications technologies, and transport. The strategic importance of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants based agriculture and linked Natural Products industries for Morocco has further been underlined by the "National Development Strategy for Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Sector" developed within the USAID project (Contract 608-M-00-05-00043-01) in 2008. In fact, the proposed project is firmly based upon this Strategy and is seen as a key element of its implementation. This document positions MAP industry as a major competitive advantage of the country, the engine behind its growth and development, sector composed of mainly SMEs, thus giving employment to a significant part of Moroccan population.
The National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (NIMAP) has been created as a first and most indicative result of the policy to develop the new research capacities of Morocco, which „...are vital to socio-economic and national development of the country". Thanks to extraordinary governmental support, NIMAP currently ranks as the largest and most capable research centre in this field in the Mediterranean region and entire Africa.
Hence, the central goal of MAP2ERA is to reinforce the international research cooperation between Morocco's leading institute in medicinal & aromatic plants research NIMAP and ERA in the critically important areas (specifically FP7 Themes as "Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology", Environment and Health). This goal is attained through pursuit of the following specific objectives:
* O.1: To widen and reinforce direct links between leading research teams of NIMAP and best relevant European research organizations by conducting a series of networking and partnering events, and facilitating direct mobility of scientists aimed at initiating new joint projects (including Joint Research Programme) and ideas exchange.
* O.2: To build the cooperation capacity in NIMAP by providing a comprehensive training to members of the Moroccan research institute to develop/enhance their skills and competences with regard to building international research partnerships (including acquiring and participating in FP7 projects), as well as other important complementary research competences.
* O.3: To guarantee the sustainability and long-lasting positive effect of the project by developing a comprehensive Development Strategy of NIMAP aiming at significant strengthening of the role the Institute plays in meeting the national socio-economic challenges and regional/international research activities.
Project Context and Objectives:
The Kingdom of Morocco is one of the most stable and dynamic European neighbours in the Mediterranean region. The policy of economic and political liberalization started by King Hassan in the 1990s is now being continued by his son King Mohammed VI. Under Mohammed VI, the Moroccan Government has undertaken a number of economic, political, and social reforms. A key element of these reforms, which is particularly important to MAP2ERA, is the priority development of the national science and research system. For the first time ever the Moroccan government’s Five-Year Plan for 2000-2004 articulated the priority lines for research. The declared objectives of this plan were to align S&T research with socio-economic development priorities. Sectors declared as priority areas were (in priority order): agriculture, health, fisheries, drinking water, geology, mining, energy, environment, information and telecommunications technologies, and transport. This approach highlighted the need for effective institutional coordination, which enabled different parties to work together around common priority socio-economic objectives.
The strategic importance of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants based agriculture and linked Natural Products industries for Morocco has been underlined by the “National Development Strategy for Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Sector” developed within the USAID project (Contract 608-M-00-05-00043-01) in 2008. In fact, the proposed project is firmly based upon this Strategy and is seen as a key element of its implementation. This document positions MAP industry as a major competitive advantage of the country, the engine behind its growth and development, sector composed of mainly SMEs, thus giving employment to a significant part of Moroccan population. The National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (NIMAP) has been created as a first and most indicative result of the policy to develop the new research capacities of Morocco, which are vital to socio-economic and national development of the country“. Thanks to extraordinary governmental support, NIMAP currently ranks as the largest and most capable research centre in this field in the Mediterranean region and entire Africa.
The underlining idea of investing in setting up this research centre is two-fold:
• The Institute shall become the major catalyst for radical improvement of competitiveness of national agriculture (a backbone of economy in Morocco) through diversification of exports. At the same time, it is expected that NIMAP will contribute towards solving problems related to the dependency of national health system on imports of drugs and promote environment conservation.
• The Institute represents an important competitive advantage of the Moroccan science system – access to unique biodiversity, traditional strengths in applied and structural biology, agricultural sciences with capacities for large-scale field trials, etc. Development of research capacities in this area would inevitably enable Morocco to offer really unique research capacities, very much complementary to the ones available in Europe. No one other research field in Morocco has such a potential for international cooperation.
The main challenge MAP2ERA addressed is linked to the fact that created just a few years ago NIMAP really lacks international networks of partners, skills and knowledge in international research cooperation, important elements of its Development Strategy, which shall allow capitalizing on the Institute’s potential. In contrast to traditional Moroccan research centres, NIMAP did not have a chance to build its international strategy and convert a unique research potential into joint projects and collaborations. Therefore, the overall objective of MAP2ERA is to reinforce the international research cooperation between Morocco and Europe in the critically important areas (namely, in the areas relevant to such FP7 Themes as “Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology”, Environment and Health) through building international cooperation capacities of the National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Morocco, facilitating its participation in European and regional collaborative research initiatives and stimulating sustainable development in the European context. The overall objective was attained through pursuing the following specific objectives:
• O.1: To widen and reinforce direct links between leading research teams of NIMAP and best relevant European research organizations by conducting a series of networking and partnering events, and facilitating direct mobility of scientists aimed at initiating new joint projects and ideas exchange. To develop and prepare the Joint Research Programme to boost cooperation between NIMAP and one of the Europe’s leading research institutions with matching profile, namely ICSN CNRS.
• O.2: To build the cooperation capacity in NIMAP by providing a comprehensive training to members of the Moroccan research institute to develop/enhance their skills and competences with regard to building international research partnerships (including acquiring and participating in FP7 projects), as well as other important complementary research competences.
• O.3: To guarantee the sustainability and long-lasting positive effect of the project by developing a comprehensive Development Strategy of NIMAP aiming at significant strengthening of the role the Institute plays in meeting the national socio-economic challenges and regional/international research activities.
The project consortium composed of the following organizations will bring about the planned impacts:
• NIMAP – National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Created in the nearest past with the mission to integrate the Moroccan research capabilities in the field of agriculture, traditional medicine and environment. Possesses cutting-edge research facilities for agricultural experiments, chemistry and biochemistry (incl. phyto-biotechnology) research. One of the most modern and capable research centres of Morocco, leading research Institute in its field in Africa. If so, integration of NIMAP into ERA will deliver a significant impact on the whole Moroccan science system. NIMAP is the main beneficiary and driving force of the project.
• ICSN – Institute of Natural Products’ Chemistry of CNRS – Government-funded research umbrella of France. One of the largest chemistry research institutes in France, located on the exceptional campus of the Center for Research in Gif, the Institute is home to approximately 270 scientists, students, postdocs, technicians and administrators. The ICSN’s activities cover all aspects of natural products chemistry and biology and are supported by an exceptional set of analytical instrumentation. Research profile, areas of research interests and capacities match perfectly the ones of NIMAP. In the project, ICNS CNRS served as an exemplary twinning research partner for NIMAP, a partner providing its scientific and networking capabilities – an important relay to the European RTD community.
• UA - University of Alicante. UA is a young and extraordinary dynamic Spanish University with full spectrum of academic and research competencies. Several research departments of the University (e.g. Institutes of Chemical Processes and Biodiversity) work on the topics relevant to the research interests of NIMAP and will reinforce the partnering efforts led by ICSN. But, above all, the University possesses really unique experiences in supporting and facilitating internationalization activities in science and technology. UA shared this expertise with NIMAP.
• GIRAF – GIRAF PM Services GmbH is a well-established and experienced European training provider and consultancy with the staff, which has been involved in more than 20 European research projects and CSAs, and delivered more than 25 research, innovation and project management training workshops around the world. With its long-standing excellence in training and international project management, GIRAF guaranteed a high quality complementary research capacity building and supported the coordinator in running the project.
To sum up, MAP2ERA brought together a set of focused and interconnected activities covering networking, training and coaching, capacity building and strategy development in order to radically improve the cooperation capacities of the young Moroccan research centre - NIMAP. Importantly, the project employed really special means for attaining the project goals:
• “Twinning approach” – building NIMAP’s capacity with the help of a matching experienced European research partner (mirroring, “learning-from-the-best”)
• Focus on practical “training-on-the-job” and “learning-by-doing” activities
• Combining “grass-root” and policy-level actions
NIMAP is not only a beneficiary, but the Institute actually led and coordinated the project implementation and this was the best guarantee that the project results are highly relevant and beneficial. At the same time, NIMAP was supported in all aspects of the project capacity building efforts: (i) research networking and internationalization – via extensive networking capacities of UA and ICSN, (ii) core research training – by solid and matching S&T expertise of ICSN and NIMAP, (iii) complementary research training – by involving professional and experienced training providers (UA and GIRAF). Moreover, the project incorporated strong capacities in dissemination, liaison building and project management, and this guaranteed its success. Finally, the project activities were coordinated with and directly “submerged” into the context of the Moroccan National R&D Strategy and EU-Morocco (EU-Mediterranean) S&T Cooperation process (via liaisons with MIRA INCO-NET platform, M2ERA INCO project, National FP7 coordinator, other relevant bodies). For all project activities it was ensured (i) that they correspond to the regional/national/international policies/priorities and (ii) that they do not duplicate or alter, but usefully complement the Research and Innovation activities foreseen by the national RTD programme, activities within EU-Morocco S&T Cooperation and other actions aimed at EU-Morocco cooperation foreseen by the EU Neighbourhood Policy.
As already indicated above, the overall objective of MAP2ERA is to reinforce the international research cooperation between Morocco and Europe in the critically important areas (namely, in the areas relevant to such FP7 Themes as “Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology”, Environment and Health) through building international cooperation capacities of the National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Morocco, facilitating its participation in European and regional collaborative research initiatives and stimulating sustainable development in the European context. The project activities and obtained results were built around the following specific objectives:
The objective will be achieved by combining the following interlinked and mutually supporting activities:
• “Sowing seeds”. A series of S&T networking/partnering events aimed at initiating direct contacts between matching scientists from NIMAP and their European colleagues with the aim to foster partnerships;
• “Cultivation”. Supporting mechanism allowing initial partnerships to grow into joint projects (see objective’s O.2 mobility scheme)
• “Giving perspective”. Development of a Joint Research Programme between NIMAP and ICSN CNRS for at least 5-year period – a concrete and time-bound plan of joint research supported by national/European RTD Programmes.
The two targeted, highly visible and effective partnering events – one in Europe and one in Morocco were organized. The European event had the prime goal to establish direct working links between leading scientific teams of NIMAP and its twinning European partner, ICSN CNRS. This allowed to contribute to the successful implementation of other project activities such as e.g. Joint Research Programme. The event in Morocco enabled Europeans to directly visit NIMAP and get a detailed picture of its capacities (incl. visiting test fields, industrial application facilities, major labs). At the same time it was organized in a form of a highly visible large-scale event with the participation of regional authorities, businesses and business multipliers, scientific teams from Europe and MEDA region.
The events’ design ensured exchange and partnering between NIMAP’s researchers and their matching colleagues from Europe (not only from ICSN!). If the first event brought together ca. 30 people (close team for better direct partnering), the attendance of the second event exceeded 200 people. On the one hand, this size ensured a critical mass of possible partners and networking opportunities. On the other hand, the scope also ensures that each participant and each partnership idea are carefully addressed. High visibility of these events and access to / selection of only most relevant and top-level European experts was ensured through the use of the CNRS’ and UA’s contacts and dissemination channels. Importantly, the main selection criteria were (i) research expertise, which matches research capacities and interests of NIMAP, and (ii) capacity and experience to initiate a joint project (including experiences in project acquisition). Moreover, the support of Moroccan S&T authorities and business community allowed for corresponding dissemination and promotion in the Moroccan research community and on policy-level. Thematic focus of both events was on the topics, which represent the current and prospective research interests and capacities of NIMAP, namely
- Phytology: agronomy, agro technology, in vitro technologies,
- Chemistry and chemical engineering for natural products,
- Phytobiotechnology-based Pharmacology.
The attendance of selected and critically important participants (e.g. key note speakers for the events, invited experts etc.) was supported through the corresponding mobility scheme (see below Objective O.2 for further details on the mobility scheme).
The event organization was done in accordance with the effective technology, acquired by the project partners in previous projects (e.g. the GIRAF PM’s key staff participated in organizing 4 high-level S&T partnering events within the FP6 ENGAGE project). As such, the design of the networking events ensured that by openly introducing both Moroccan and European experts to each other, these events also facilitate the inclusion of the NIMAP’s research groups into European RTD consortia that they might otherwise not be able to enter. Most importantly, it is a fundamental and significant characteristic of the networking events that specific, pragmatic and appropriate opportunities for research collaborations and joint projects between Morocco and EU were identified. Because of this, because of the top-quality of invited participants (through central players in Morocco, Mediterranean region and Europe) and because of precise tailoring of the events design to the needs and capacities of NIMAP, the MAP2ERA networking activities went far beyond what can possibly be offered by any alternative networking event e.g. conducted by NCPs, other partnering projects (like M2ERA) or even competing consortia. Practically, the project aimed at initiating and direct facilitating several joint project proposals for FP7, as well as several applications for national RTD programmes (in Morocco, France, Spain, etc.) and other international opportunities. In fact, the direct result of the partnering events was a successful FP7 proposal CINEA, which is currently in the negotiations over the Grant Agreement.
Cultivation phase (enabled and supported by attaining the O.2 objective) reduced the barriers for entering into European consortia by making possible for the initial partnerships created at the events to enjoy the following types of support:
• Consulting, advising and direct facilitation of competent professional European and Moroccan experts in such aspects as identification of corresponding funding opportunities, shaping the project idea into a solid competitive proposal, finding right partners, etc.
• Enabling direct bilateral meetings between members of the NIMAP staff and European consortia (e.g. for visiting a potential European project coordinator, attending project design meetings, FP7 Information Days, etc.).
Finally, the project gave a chance to reinforce direct links between the leaderships of NIMAP and ICSN CNRS, to better understand the priorities and capacities of each other, to delineate potential research topics of common interest. Eventually, the working group representing both research centres on the basis of national RTD Programmes and strategic plans (funding priorities), common research interests, available and prospective research capacities, other factors, developed a NIMAP-ICSN Joint Research programme covering the period at least 5 years after the end on the project. The parties made sure that the plans have solid financial fundamental by coordinating the Programme’s development with the national S&T Agencies (both in Morocco and France). The programme includes:
• Cooperation Agreement (framework document)
• Time-bound list of RTD works/projects/publications to be jointly performed (with names of leading scientists from each side, sources of funding, expected results and joint exploitation plans, links to national RTD Programmes).
• Plan for personnel exchange (incl. sources of funding – national or international).
• Plans for joint participation in third-party initiatives (e.g. significant international projects supported by the UN Food and Conservation Programmes, etc.)
As a result, this Programme does not only enable NIMAP to significantly internationalize its research works, but it serves as an example for any kind of bilateral institutional partnerships NIMAP will develop in the future. Moreover, the Programme will stimulate joint efforts to get onboard of FP7 consortia pursuing relevant objectives.
The attainment of specific objective O.2 is achieved through three measures: (i) the conduct of two training workshop (one – during the first project year to deliver general knowledge, the other – during the second year to address specific needs and issues – IPR issues in European collaborative projects), (ii) the set-up and implementation of a coaching scheme for NIMAP’s researchers and other staff members, and (iii) developing the NIMAP’s training capacity in the domain of Natural Product’s Chemistry applications for economy and society.
The training workshops comprised science-related training to raise the awareness among the participating researchers on FP7 priority research areas relevant to the NIMAP’s capacities (as indicated above, FP7 KBBE, Health, Environment) and cooperative opportunities offered by other schemes (like FP7 People, Capacities, bilateral opportunities, etc.). In addition, the 1st event included actual project training (e.g. how to convert a scientific idea into a project, how to write a successful proposal, how to manage a cooperative project, how to deal with IPR etc.). Importantly, the training was organized the way, which allowed the application of the knowledge received to all major funding programmes enabling EU-Morocco S&T cooperation. As such, the 1st training event included the following basic modules:
Part 1: Science-related training:
• FP7 funding opportunities, in particular Cooperation’s Themes listed above, Capacities and People Programmes (focus on provision of background information, better understanding of the Work Programmes’ texts, concrete examples of fundable project ideas);
• Other relevant EU funding opportunities, e.g. CIP (Competitiveness and Innovation Programme), EuropAid opportunities, major bilateral RTD cooperation instruments (also, focus on enabling trainees to better understand and make use of science-related information sources)
• Potential joint calls / instruments between EU and the Mediterranean region.
Part 2: Practical project management training:
• From scientific idea to a project work plan
• Proposal writing workshop (including partner search and consortium building techniques)
• Practical project management workshop
• Financial management workshop (specifically adjusted to the requirements of trainees)
• Innovation and links with industry and users (commercialization strategies, technology transfer, etc.)
The modules comprised not only theory, but also the relevant practical exercises based on real successful projects (best practice examples). To ensure the effectiveness of the targeted theoretical and practical training, each training event lasted 2 days and was limited to 15 participants. The target audience was key scientific personnel and researchers as well as research managers in NIMAP.
Because of their high customization (focus on individuals and scientific interests of NIMAP) and comprehensiveness (theory and practice), the MAP2ERA training events were highly effective and went beyond the training that could possibly be provided by local NCPs and similar institutions (e.g. FP7 National Coordinator). The details of the training scheme and its individual selection of courses were specifically designed and tailored to meet the requirements of the NIMAP’s personnel.
Even though the above training courses already include practical sessions and exercises, Moroccan researchers were able to actually test and practice their acquired abilities in a real-life environment thanks to the proposed coaching scheme, which comprises the second of the training measures within MAP2ERA. The coaching scheme allowed a number of NIMAP’s scientists to actually meet and directly work with and suitable European partners for actual practice and implementation of joint-projects. This once more underlines MAP2ERA’s philosophy as practical “trainer-on-the-job” and support / guide to “learning-by-doing”.
As already indicated above, basis for the mobility of researchers (both the invitation of European and other experts to the networking events (objective O.1) and the secondment of NIMAP’s researchers to European partners as part of the coaching scheme (objective O.2)) was the set-up and implementation of a mobility scheme. Each grant was intended to contribute to travel and subsistence costs for one individual (i) participating in the networking event or (ii) participating in the coaching scheme (i.e. travel to a clearly defined European organisation willing to accept this individual and, moreover, confirming its commitment to include the research group this individual represents into future research consortium). The scheme had a light-weight, defined and approved application, evaluation and selection procedure, as well as impact analysis mechanism. The actual evaluation and allocation of grants to applicants was done by the project steering committee, which also defined and prioritized the grant selection criteria:
• With regard to supporting the mobility of priority experts (e.g. key note speakers etc.) that attended the networking events, a corresponding shortlist of priority experts was suggested in close consultation with NIMAP to build the basis for allocation of grants.
• With regard to the grant allocation to applicants of the coaching scheme, a plan for the distribution of grants was developed by NIMAP (based on the defined priorities and selection criteria), which provided the basis for selection.
Finally, in order to boost the NIMAP’s capacities to initiate and lead the national and regional projects in the field of industrial application of Natural Products’ technologies in economy and society, the project implemented a very focused training measure in order to enable the institute to provide training measures to Moroccan and regional farmers, inhabitants of rural areas, entrepreneurs, etc. (training of trainers). This training allowed better coordination of respective scientific directions between Moroccan and European colleagues with a clear focus on industrial applications. With this aim the following training-on-the-job measures were developed and delivered to selected experts from NIMAP:
• Module 1: Phyto-agriculture in special environmental conditions
• Module 2: Phytochemistry and industrial biotechnologies for natural products
• Module 3: Viable business models for SMEs working in the field of Natural Products industrial applications.
NIMAP was responsible for the selection of experts, ICSN oversaw the content and provided training of trainers. Jointly, the specialists of ICSN and NIMAP’s trainers developed the set of training modules to be then used for subsequent training of users in Morocco and, wider, the Mediterranean region.
The project allocated respective resources to enable the mobility. Also, NIMAP invested in developing the special training facilities (Training Centre), equipped with necessary equipment enabling effective and practical training.
Activities in attaining the Objective O.3 was firmly based on the conduct of a SWOT
analysis, which allowed for identifying the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and
opportunities of the Moroccan research centre. In accordance with the ongoing reforms in Morocco, the strategy gives clear recommendations as to how the institute can change their
structures with regard to links with other institutes / universities, innovation and links with industry (e.g. through creation / incorporation of technological parks, innovation departments etc.). The required information was obtained through interviews with NIMAP’s leadership, heads of departments, leaders of research groups, but also Moroccan national S&T authorities (the Government Authority in charge of Scientific Research - Autorité Gouvernementale Chargée de la Recherche Scientifique) for general policy level input. Based on the outcomes of this analysis, a corresponding strategy was suggested that comprises specific measures to increase the scope of NIMAP, to improve its responses to the socio-economic needs of the country and region, and to build a sustainable and solid basis for future development also with regard to further integration into the ERA.
The details of the SWOT analysis as well as the development strategy were formally laid down in the Strategy White Paper “NIMAP strategic development agenda”. This analysis underpinned the development of the operational Plans – interlinked documents describing initial phase of the Strategy Implementation and based on available implementation instruments. The set of Strategic Development Plans include the following:
• Institutional Reforms Plan
• Capacity Building Plan (e.g. human resource development, research training plans, etc.)
• Plan for Internationalization
Most importantly, the strategy development was led by NIMAP in close cooperation with ICSN and UA. ICSN is particularly suited for this task, as the following reasons illustrate:
• First of all, ICSN is a research institute with perfectly matching profile and expertise – just an ideal example for NIMAP.
• Second, ICSN has similar organisational structure and also aims to increase its scope and coverage, establish stronger links to the industry and diversify the research agenda. This makes sharing and mirroring extremely effective.
• Last and most importantly, ICSN is one of the Europe’s leading research centres in the field of natural Products’ chemistry research and applications. Its strategy and structures have been proven successful on an international level and under constantly changing external circumstances for several decades. As such, NIMAP indeed “learnt from the best”.
The project impact is most visible on the capacities of NIMAP - the Morocco's central S&T entity in the field of bio-technologies for agriculture and processing of agricultural products, to search for and build international research partnerships, attract financial resources for international research activities and successfully participate in the European Research Area. Thus, this will increase the degree of EU-Morocco S&T cooperation and create new opportunities for economic cooperation in the field of food and agriculture.
In particular, the following principle outcomes obtained through the project enabled this impact:
- Two partnering events resulted in establishing a system of direct links between leading research teams of NIMAP and ICSN CNRS, as well as tens of initial partnerships between European and regional RTD and industrial players. High visibility of the 2nd event contributed to promoting bilateral cooperation and improving the policy-level climate for joint research initiatives. Deep involvement of business multipliers and public authorities also contributed to building the NIMAP's reputation and innovation capacities. More than 250 people were directly exposed to the project activities.
- Two research training events allowed to equip all leading scientists and RTD administrators of NIMAP with the knowledge on European research project modalities and partnering techniques. Building the Institute's capacity to develop competitive project proposals and create/participate in international research consortia significantly reinforced the overall capacities of the centre. Moreover, training of trainers and creation of the Training Centre built a capacity to develop and deliver modern training measures in the field of biotechnologies for agriculture to local and regional users, thus increasing the regional scope and visibility of NIMAP.
- Coaching and mobility schemes enabled all key researchers of NIMAP (all in all ca. 20 staff members) to meet their European colleagues with the aim to learn more about opportunities for joint research projects, discuss initial project ideas, initiate bilateral collaborations. Importantly, the direct research training also contributed to building new research capacities of NIMAP.
- The project helped NIMAP to develop its Strategic Development Agenda and facilitate the process of institutional reforms aimed at internationalization of NIMAP's research. The further implementation of the strategic plans will keep and further develop the project results and shall convert it into a truly international leader in the field.
- During the project 4 FP7 research proposals with the participation of NIMAP were developed and submitted (2 Marie Curie IIFs, 1 KBBE SICA and 1 INCO R2I). The CINEA proposal was positively evaluated and retained for funding.
In order to deliver the impact and make the project results widely accessible in Morocco and Europe the system of dissemination and awareness raising activities was designed and carried out. With regards to the dissemination activities, the following most visible activities have been implemented:
- The project conference held in Fes, Morocco, in May 2012 attracted more than 200 participants from the region and Europe (see http://map2era.com/en). Among principle participants and sponsors were national S&T authorities, associations of businesses, leading national and trans-national companies specialized in natural products, etc.
- The project was selected as a success story of EU-MEDA S&T cooperation and the article on the project was included into the brochure "Investing in European success" and the project was presented at the “Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation: An agenda for a renewed partnership” in Barcelona on 2 and 3 April 2012.
- Several high level national and international publications with the references on the project website
- Multiple interviews, briefings, presentations
- The project website with the exhaustive information on the project
- Other dissemination activities targeted at potential European, national and regional partners of NIMAP and aimed at boosting research and industrial profile of the Institute.
By nature, the project was not aimed at developing concrete scientific and technological results, but rather at building research and partnering capacity of NIMAP. Therefore, the major exploitable results the project delivered are concerned with capacity building and institutional reforms in the context of EU-Moroccan S&T cooperation in the field of biotechnologies for agriculture. The exploitation of these results will be implemented through experience sharing with other MEDA partner research organizations pursuing internationalization goals, e.g. more active engagement with ERA.
List of Websites:
The project public website is http://www.usmba.ac.ma/map2era/ the website of the project conference is http://map2era.com/
The prime project contact is as the following:
Prof. EL Khanchoufi Abdessalam
Director of NIMAP