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Morocco Research Advance in ICT for Water

Final Report Summary - MOICT (Morocco Research Advance in ICT for Water)

Executive Summary:
The overall objective of Morocco Research Advance in ICT for Water (MoICT) project is the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Morocco co-operational and technical capacities strengthening to reinforce the ICT for water research and application in the context of the European Research Area and development of research centre of excellence to respond to Morocco’s socio-economic needs. More specifically, MoICT aims to set up an innovation collaboration framework to enhance cooperation between research and private sector and enable better conditions for young researchers. The specific objectives of the action have been formulated as follows:
- Strategic strengthening of USMBA to become regional centre of excellence;
- Strengthening of USMBA capacities for ICT research and application in water sector;
- Raise of innovation capacities and quality of research management;
- Better integration in ERA and enhanced EU-Morocco research cooperation in ICT and water sectors;
- Research results and project information dissemination to wider EU/Mediterranean audiences;
- Support to young researchers through targeted mobility scheme;
- Fostering path to innovation through collaboration with industry stakeholders.

The MoICT project main outcome is the better integration of Moroccan researchers in ERA and strengthened USMBA research centre in terms of: increased USMBA ICT and Water research capacities and established permanent dialogue with innovation actors; increased research management capabilities and regional coverage encompassing strategic relations within Morocco, Mediterranean countries and EU regions; enhanced number of international research partnerships and participation in the FP7; enabled better conditions for Moroccan young researchers’ scientific career.
The project duration was 30 months, and brought together well defined mix of expertise in water research, ICT and strategic capacity building, represented by consortium of one Moroccan and three EU partners.

Project Context and Objectives:
In order to ensure effective and efficient response to pressing challenges Europe is facing today, innovation and research activities specific to actual needs is a must. This will ensure a steady progress to a strong and sustainable knowledge economy. Given the speed of globalization and the way knowledge is being generated and used, it is important not only to increase the volume of research and technological activities and initiatives and the exploitation of ICT (as key driver) but also to spread it through enhanced cooperation with international partners. This was evident in the communication from the commission to the council and the European Parliament regarding a Strategic European Framework for International Science and Technology Cooperation (2008). This was also reflected in FP7 being open to the participation of third world countries and through new instrument in FP7 to enhance international cooperation. If we look at geographical and cultural considerations, the MPC region is one of the most important regions to Europe.
MoICT project, guided by this vision, is designed to enhance partnership between EC and Morocco in the important specific field of ICT for water. Indeed, the overall objective of MoICT project is building of cooperational and technical capacities of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah University in Morocco to reinforce the ICT for water research and application in the context of the European Research Area and development of research centre of excellence to respond to Morocco’s socio-economic needs.

Specific objectives of the action have been formulated as follows:
- Objective 1: Strategic strengthening of USMBA’s to become a regional centre of excellence: MoICT has been focusing on enhancing the capabilities and ability of USMBA to be a key player in Morocco’s efforts to address pressing socio-economic challenges. This shall contribute to USMBA’s position to become key actor regionally and active in European research efforts in the field of water research and specifically in the application of ICT. This is realized through the strategic vision for the USMBA’s center of excellence in ICT for Water and the development of its business plan.
- Objective 2: Strengthening of USMBA capacities for ICT research and application in water sector: This objective shall guide the activities of the project to enhanced technical and research capacities of USMBA researchers to engage in visible and sound research in the field of ICT for water that is relevant to national needs and supportive of international research efforts. This shall also enhance its relevance in participating in FP7 and other related programs. Areas of improvement are to be identified and addressed through capacity building in technology, international cooperation and management of research and innovation as well as through the enhancement of the research infrastructure.
- Objective 3: Raise of innovation capacities and quality of research management: Innovation is a process by which an organization creates and uses knowledge to master and implement the design, development, and production of novel technological goods and services. Strengthening the innovation capacity of research centre is essential in realizing their strategic business plans, meeting their objectives and advance their position in the R&D map.
- Objective 4: Better integration in ERA and enhanced EU-Morocco research cooperation in ICT and water sectors: The objective is to reinforce research cooperation between Morocco and Europe on a wider scale in two important sectors water and ICT. The mean to realize this is through a better and effective partnership and collaboration between Morocco and European countries in the two fields. Tools to be used include coaching sessions and training workshops to build capacity of researchers and to familiarize them with the procedures and opportunities for co-operation in relation with EU programmes. Another important tool is a sustainable network connecting active researchers in the field with their counterparts in Europe which shall enhance joint activities and provide better access to research output.
- Objective 5: Research results and project information dissemination to wider EU and Mediterranean audiences: The objective aims at efficient dissemination of research output of ICT research and technological interventions in the water sector to all concerned stakeholders to contribute to improved access to knowledge in the field. The objective is to be reached through (1) appropriate use of both digital (such as project website and newsletters) and printed media (mainly project leaflets); (2) maintaining communication channels with mass media; (3) identifying and maintaining links with relevant initiatives, institutes and complementary projects; and (4) organizing a final conference to validate project findings and outputs with the various stakeholders at a national and regional levels.
- Objective 6: Support to young researchers through targeted mobility scheme: The objective guide the project to be in line with EU policies and directions in supporting young researchers. This has been evident through several program and initiatives such as the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Programme. This policy to foster young scientist is especially appropriate in the MPC region, a region that is characterized by its young population. Project tasks are planned towards more emphasis on empowering young researchers and helping them to be more active in R&D activities. This should be focused through accurate identification of challenges and opportunities for young researchers which lead to effective policies and activities to enhance their participation. The instrument to realize this is through mobility scheme with the aim to (1) build their necessary competencies and (2) enhance their connection with researchers in Europe.
- Objective 7: Fostering path to innovation through collaboration with industry stakeholders: Poor integration between R&D institutions and SMEs is a major disadvantage in the MPC region which constitutes an obstacle for effective research and technological development activities in relation to national needs. This objective aims at addressing the issue of insignificant cooperation between R&D centres and SMEs in Morocco in the field of ICT in water by fostering a better coordination between research and business sector. The objective is realized through continuous engagement with relevant industry stakeholders to identify priorities and research directions based on requirements in the field and competencies required to ensure sustainability.

Project Results:
The activities of MoICT project have started since the first month of the project (December 2011) and even before through the participation of the project coordinator, on invitation of the project officer, to the second ERA-WIDE meeting held in Marseille on October 2011 and the participation of the coordinator and the administrative coordinator of MoICT from USMBA team to the MIRA experts group and the event organized in Casablanca on late November 2011.
The main work performed during the 2 reporting periods of the project is summarized per workpackage as follows:

WP1: Project Management
WP Leader: USMBA
The activities of the project management in WP1 have covered the whole project lifecycle. Activities of this WP focused mainly on the provision of an efficient communication among partners and with the EC and on administrative and financial management with the aim to execute the pre-financing and the 1st financial EU contribution breakdown between partners.
The main achievements of this WP are summarized in the following points:
- Realization of the project handbook called “Project Implementation Manual” which established roles and responsibilities of partners and a methodology for quality and risk management.
- Realization of the consortium agreement of the project.
- Organization of 6 Project Management Board (PMB) meetings periodically each 6 months and drafting their related action plans.
- Distribution of the pre-financing and the 1st EU contribution among partners.
- Internal reviewing of all deliverables of the project.
- Submission of all project deliverables of the project according to the GA Annex I or to the new agreed action plan for the M1-M15 period given as annex to the Kickoff meeting’ minutes deliverable.
- Handling amendment N°1 of the project regarding a change in the duration of the 1st reporting period of the project from 12 months to 15 months.
- Provision of information regarding MoICT to EC or other actors when needed.
- Coordination of MoICT activities implementation:
• Ensuring the follow-up and respect of the agreed deadlines through email communication with all partners.
• Organization of MoICT training week.
• Implementation and follow up of the interviews prepared by REDINN for USMBA researchers which served as one of the inputs for the value chain analysis and positioning of USMBA.
• Identification of a methodology for managing and organizing the study trips.
• Identification of a methodology for hiring and managing the External Expert Group in order to exploit their expertise for the evaluation of the USMBA business plan produced during the last semester of the project lifecycle.
• Managing WP5 and encountered intersections between the 3 tasks T5.1 T5.2 and T5.3

WP2: Strategic Intelligence and Innovation Framework
WP Leader: CUBIT
WP2 has achieved its overall and specific forecasted objectives. Thanks to the successful accomplishment of WP2 activities, USMBA has become able:
- To foster the link between research and private sector by developing dialogue on innovation with a large number of ICT-Water stakeholders, SMEs and technology-driven enterprises. The targeted events (Stakeholders’ Meeting) realized and the communication platform of innovation actors established during WP2 activities development has enabled a stronger cooperation between USMBA and the ICT-Water stakeholders as well as a major involvement of the policy makers.
- To strive for a competitive positioning as an innovative technological centre in ICT-Water sector. The strategic intelligence planning finalised during this WP activities has included a throughout analysis of ICT-Water sector in Morocco, its national policies and current S&T cooperation in ICT-Water and related fields, in the light of USMBA research and innovation priorities, its needs and capacities.
- To create the basis for strengthening the know-how and management capacities of its young and experienced researchers in: technical and scientific research related to ICT-Water sector, EU-FP7 research programme and its funding opportunities, market and entrepreneurship, etc. The capacity building framework established by two work plans to capacity building developed during WP2 activities, has become the basis for the capacity building and transfer of knowledge training cycles included in WP3 and WP4.S

WP3: Institutional Strengthening
WP Leader: REDINN
Work package activities have progressed well towards the achievement of its objectives with the aim to familiarize researchers and staff at USMBA with opportunities and procedures under FP7 instruments and activities as well as to improve researchers’ ability to form and manage research groups and consortia to develop proposal related to ICT/Water.
All trainings in Fez, Morocco foreseen in the project have been concluded, but the Consortium has decided to extend the actions of WP3 up to M28, in order to perform an additional training in Morocco, at the end of February 2014. The reason is the willingness of supporting USMBA’s researchers to deepen issues related to the launch of Horizon 2020 and to prepare them to take profit of the new opportunities for the next programming period 2014-2020. Capacity building and coaching activities have been therefore extended in this perspective.
Capacity building activities have been achieved according to the 4 foreseen aspects:
- FP7 capacity building: designed to enhance competencies and skills of staff in proposal writing and in forming research consortium, in particular for FP7 programme. However, the achieved skills will also enable better joint research projects development for other funding programmes, available in Morocco. The objective has been achieved through organization of two training rounds, one at M6 and one at M12, and their corresponding one-to-one and online coaching sessions. The trainings have been performed in line with priorities, defined in D2.1 First Work Plan to capacity building. An additional training session of 3 days has been organized focusing on the transition from FP7 to Horizon 2020. The Training has been delivered in Fez, Morocco in February 2014, thus extending such work Package to M28.
- Research managers training: aims at increasing the long term competitiveness of USMBA as key player in research and innovation, focusing on strengthening research and innovation management capacities. The objective has been achieved through the organization of an intensive 3-days course for research managers in Morocco, designed around science entrepreneurship, covering topics on exploitation of RTD and entrepreneurship; acquisition of grants and venture capital; management of interdisciplinary projects; innovation life-cycle management; technology transfer; invention and the intellectual property rights.
- Young researchers’ capacity building: This task has been designed to support young researchers through raising awareness about mobility schemes and opportunities under FP7 and other related programmes as well as enhancing competencies of young researchers in terms of applying for proposals and forming research consortia. The objective has been fully achieved through the organization of a 2-days training cycle in Morocco in M12 in line with the priorities defined in D2.1 ‘First Work Plan to capacity building’ and in D2.5 ‘Second Work Plan to capacity building’. The intensive 2-days training for Young Researchers organized by CUBIT and USMBA and implemented on 28th-29th November 2012 has been designed around young researchers’ mobility needs, including ICT research-entrepreneurship issues which young researchers could follow also during the Research Managers training session. This training session aimed at: introducing Young Researchers to some of the mobility funding opportunities under FP7 and under other programmes; preparing them to apply for those mobility actions; and preparing them to elaborate business plans by the means of practical exercises. Project concept papers elaborated during the training by the YRs working groups have been publicly presented and discussed during the Open Networking Day of 30th of November 2012. The YR training has been successfully realized thanks to the preparation work of CUBIT and USMBA experts and the real involvement of the participants.
- Coaching sessions: REDINN is responsible for individual assistance and coaching of selected researchers in one-to-one sessions. The coaching sessions should (i) help to define project idea and/or define specific capacities that could be of use in future consortia; (ii) support the partner search while pointing to most relevant information/networking resources and events; (iii) coach to enhance coordination capacities for proposal writing and team management; (iv) guide through project application process while providing immediate response to raising issues. The coaching sessions will enable researchers to aggregate their capacities and other partners around project ideas that they could coordinate. CTM and CUBIT have supported coaching from scientific aspects, where needed to assess scientific aspects of proposed ideas and potential synergies/impact of EU relevance.

WP4: ICT4Water Research Capacities and Mobility
WP Leader: CTM
The main objective of this WP is to strengthen USMBA capacities for ICT/Water research with the focus of enhancement of technical capacities to correspond with Morocco’s socio-economic demands for water in the information age and enable better knowledge exchange through incorporated mobility schemes.
This objective has been achieved through the implementation of 3 tasks:
- ICT4Water capacities strengthening: aiming to improve the water capacities of USMBA researchers by means of filling the knowledge gaps in water-related ICT. In order to identify these knowledge gaps, an exhaustive revision of the current state of water facilities in Morocco and specific technological needs have been assessed. The identified gaps have been filled by carrying out 2 cycles of trainings:
o Part A of cycle 1, 22-24th April 2013, responsible CTM. The following topics have been subject of this training:
- ICT for water management
- Decision Support Systems (DSS) in water management
- Application of GIS and remote sensing technologies in water management
- Workshop: GIS for water management
- Network layers: Caption, Production, Transport, Distribution; Inputs-Outputs: Water/Information
- Workshop: Epanet models
- Supervision: hydraulic and quality
- Workshop: DSS in Network control
o Part B of cycle 1, 25th June 2013, responsible CUBIT. The first objective of this training was to transfer the know-how from CUBIT engineers to USMBA researchers, in particular with regard to the innovative system FluctuS and other similar existing and developing applications, including those for smart Water management.
o Cycle 2 training related to Market and Entrepreneurship Competences and Needs, successfully implemented on 2nd October 2013: responsible CUBIT and CTM. The following topics have been subject of this training:
- Research Transfer Techniques
- Setting-up spin-off companies
- The incubation process: How does an Incubator make the choice?
- Writting a sustainable business plan - part II
- Great ideas get funded: Crowdfunding
- Joint research programme: aiming at formulating a joint research programme and a strategic plan of research activities to enable a permanent cooperation platform between EU and Morocco research partners with respect to the S&T policy dialogue between EU and Morocco. For this purpose, the three partners involved determined all the specific needs for twinning activities which could be carried out during MoICT lifecycle and beyond. The MoICT scientific and research partners established the following main requirements for the elaboration of the Joint Research Programme:
o identification of USMBA research needs and strategic research priorities;
o exploitation of partners’ research capacities;
o selection of the appropriate technological research areas/topics for common cooperation;
o well determined research targets of the identified common research areas/topics.
The core task for the Joint Research Programme planning and development was the evaluation of the most advanced research directions common for the three organisations as well as the identification of joint research fields which could have mutual interest and potential for the growth. The elaboration of the JRP was organised in a six-step work plan developed according to the timing schedule indicated for each step in the ‘Methodology for the JRP development’ prepared by CUBIT. As a result, involved partners established scientific long-term cooperation by the means of bilateral Joint Research Agreements-Twinning plans and bilateral Memorandums of Understanding. The four agreements have been signed on M30.
- Mobility scheme: targeting USMBA researchers and Moroccan young scientists. The main achievement of this task is the implementation of 20 study trips:
o 2 study trips to REDINN (2 Young researchers)
o 9 study trips to CTM (8 researchers 1 young researcher)
o 9 study trips to CUBIT (7 researchers 2 young researchers)

WP5: Vision for Centre of Excellence
WP Leader: REDINN
The WP5 objective is to facilitate the strategic planning for USMBA’s development and ensure competitive development to the research centre of excellence, with specific expertise in water research according to Morocco socio-economic needs. WP5 is designed to utilize results of previously carried project activities, analysis and outcomes of established linkage with the private sector in order to develop a business plan for USMBA’s center of excellence in IT4Water and its related foresight planning for sustainability, as well as the exploitation of international expertise ensuring a best use of independent revision for the developed centre of excellence strategic plan.
The main achievements have been realized through the implementation of 3 tasks:
- Exploitation of international expertise: setting up an international External Experts Group (EEG) in order to exploit their knowledge and ensure best use of independent revision for the strategic plan of the centre of excellence in USMBA. The task dealtt primarily with the selection of three international experts within fields of innovation management, science park management and water intelligence systems. A methodology for hiring the EEG has been elaborated, a preliminary time table for executing the review process has been defined and implemented according to the real time constraints encountered during the execution of this task.
- Strategic development: focusing on the development of strategic directions for USMBA growth towards vision of research centre of excellence and leading Morocco’s innovator in the ICT/Water cross-cutting sector. The strategic business plan has been built upon the value chain analysis and strategic positioning carried out in WP2, feedbacks from stakeholders’ cooperation framework and guidelines by the External Experts Group.
- Foresight planning and sustainability: ensuring the centre’s sustainability and the capitalisation of research results by paying particular attention to the short-term and long-term public and private funding, and to the collaboration with financial stakeholders (banks, business angels, venture capitalists). The outcome of this task was the development of a ‘Roadmap for the synchronisation of research funding’. It assembled and reviewed different inputs from work carried out during MoICT project lifecycle and provided a further strategic analysis for the purpose of the elaboration of the institutional future roadmap. Morocco’s trends, experts’ opinion, current and future policies, economics, stakeholder inputs, factual evidence, and technology foresight have been taken in consideration in order to obtain the strategic action plan reflecting USMBA strategic goals synchronized with the research public and private funding opportunities identified.

WP6: Networking, Synergies and Dissemination
WP Leader: USMBA
WP6 is aiming at increased visibility of MoICT project activities, dissemination of research results and scientific information, as well as increasing linkages with other research and innovation actors in Morocco and EU, facilitating communication between the stakeholders.
This WP has been implemented in the form of 4 tasks:
- Dissemination infrastructure and materials:
o Dissemination strategy and plan have been developed and have led to the development of the 'Dissemination Plan'.
o MoICT corporate identity designed and realized, dissemination materials manufactured and were ready for dissemination purposes from M2 of the project lifecycle.
o Printing and distribution of dissemination material related to all MoICT events: the 2 stakeholders’ meetings, all MoICT trainings as well as the open networking day and the final conference.
o Dissemination of the MoICT leaflets with project overview and partner profiles in several national and international events.
o Development and online publication of the dynamic version of MoICT website available at (http://www.moict.eu/). As planned the website has continued to be updated regularly with all relevant news relating to FP7, and ICT and/or water.
o Press releases:
- 4 press releases were published on the official daily newspaper and most widely distributed in Morocco ‘’LE MATIN’’.
- More than 20 electronic press releases were produced by the project coordinator and published on the MoICT website.
o MoICT newsletters: 2 issues of the project newsletter have been produced.
- Networking activities and contacts with other relevant EU initiatives:
o Networking activities at European and regional level as well as activities for creation of synergies with other ICT and Water initiatives in Mediterranean region and EU were achieved. In particular, USMBA, through the invitation of CTM, has become a founding member of Netwerc H2O. Netwerc H2O is a European association which aims to promote, support and improve the application of sustainable practices in the use of water at regional and municipal level, becoming an efficient channel of communication and exchange of the latest smart technology for the benefit of our local communities.
o Participation of MoICT representatives to European and regional networking events:
- Participation of USMBA and REDINN representatives to the Green week 2012 conference (22-25 May 2012 in Charlemagne building, Brussels, Belgium).
- Presentation of MoICT project by USMBA representative in a satellite event ʺFrom idea to proposal: Transnational funding opportunities for water projectsʺ organized by EFB in parallel to the Green Week 2012 conference (23 May 2012 at the EFB premises).
- Presentation of MoICT project activities and results by CUBIT representative in a scientific event organized by APRE (Agency for the Promotion of the European Research) which is an important non-profit research organisation based in Italy that provides information on EU research programmes, assistance and consultancy to potential participants and organisation of workshops, info-days and seminars and training courses in order to promote Italian participation on European RTD programmes.
- Participation of USMBA representatives to the Infoday devoted to international cooperation activities organized by the European Commission (directorate general for research & innovation) on 11th july in Brussels – Belgium, in parallel to the 3rd ERA-WIDE meeting.
- Participation of USMBA representatives to the ICT Proposers' Day 2012, held in Warsaw - Poland on 26 and 27 September.
- Presentation of MoICT project activities and results by USMBA representative in the information and training Workshop: ''How to write a good proposal’’ held in Fez-Morocco, on 10 and 11 of October, organized by the Moroccan ICT NCP within the framework of a twinning activity with the ICT NCP of France.
- Participation of USMBA representative to the Networking Visits for African NCPs to Bonn. Organized, in Bonn – Germany from 19 to 21 Nov. 2012, within the scope of the FP7 project CAAST-Net –Coordination and Advancement of Sub-Saharan African European Science & Technology Cooperation.
- Participation of USMBA representative to the ‘’thematic workshop on water’’ organized in Fez-Morocco on September 7th , in the framework of the OSMOSE Tempus project
- Participation of CUBIT and USMBA representatives in the ICT 2013 Event held in Vilnius on 6th-8th November 2013. During this 3-days event, CUBIT representatives networked with a number of participants coming from EU MS/AC ICT organizations to whom presented the MoICT project. Dissemination material has been also distributed through the different event sessions. The ICT 2013 Event has represented also moments of discussion between CUBIT and other organizations about future opportunities of cooperation between EU and Morocco within the Horizon 2020 landscape.
- Participation of CUBIT representatives in the 3 events held in Brussels 20-22th November 2013 dealing with the European Innovation Partnership on Water, in which MoICT partners are actively involved: EIP City Blueprints Action Group meeting, EIP Water Annual Conference, NETWERC H2O conference. Promotion and dissemination of the MoICT project through networking and leaflets distribution have been done through the 3 events. Future opportunities of cooperation including MoICT partners have been discussed and contacts for future proposals in the framework of Horizon 2020 have been established.
- USMBA Networking: the main achievements are:
o Networking activities between ERA-WIDE coordinators and creation of synergies with other ICT for Water initiatives in the Mediterranean region through the participation of USMBA representative to the second regional ERA-WIDE meeting and the workshop on “Business plan development for research and Innovation” organized by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and the DG research and Innovation of the European Commission on October, 3-6 2011 in Marseille, France.
o Coordination between MoICT activities and other EU funded projects in the region through the participation of USMBA representatives to some Mediterranean and regional events:
- The working meeting of MIRA project experts group on de-contamination of the Mediterranean (WP7) on November 27-30 2011, Casablanca, Morocco.
- The 3rd ERA-WIDE meeting held in Brussels – Belgium, between 9 and 12 July 2012.
- The CAAST-Net –MIRA Networking on innovation, organized, in Cairo– Egypt from 22 to 23 November 2012, By CAAST-Net and MIRA projects.
- The final conference of MIRA project held in Marrakesh (Morocco) on 23-25 January 2013.
- Presentation of MoICT project activities and results in the “EuroAfrica-ICT FP7 Awareness & Training Workshop” held on October 9-10, 2012 in Tunis, Tunisia.
o Visits to European Labs and research centers for networking and elaboration of future research collaborations such as: the MIS Laboratory (Modélisation, Information & Systèmes) at the University of Picardie Jules Verne – France, CUBIT and the University of Pisa – Italy,
o Participation to the “Strenthning the bond between people and rivers”: Study visit organized by WWF-the World Wildlife Fund for Nature for parting to the “H2020 capacity building/Mediterranean environment programme” (H2020 CB/MEP) held in Barcelona.
o Participation of a delegation from USMBA to the XIIth international symposium on Environment, Catalysis and Process Engineering organized by the University of Las Palmas-Gran Canaria, with the aim to present the results and outcomes of MoICT project and develop new collaboration horizons.
- MoICT Final Conference: The objective of the final conference is to validate MoICT project achievements and ensure further dissemination of the project outcomes as well as the latest developments and research output of ICT and technological interventions in the water sector to all concerned stakeholders at national, regional and international levels. MoICT final conference has been organized on 6-7th May 2014 and the related D6.6 submitted during the same month.

Potential Impact:
MoICT project activities addressed specifically international cooperation challenges, as defined in the European Framework Programme and particularly by the ERA-WIDE scheme: widen the boundaries of the ERA and facilitate the cooperation with key international partners. In particular, reinforce the cooperation capacities of research centres located in the ENP countries, specifically addressing Mediterranean region and Morocco among others. The call has given these countries the possibility to improve the research activities of their highest quality and/or promising centres in a scientific field addressed by the thematic priorities of FP7 (ICT for Water in MoICT).
MoICT project activities have been designed to contribute to the impacts listed in FP7 capacities Work Programme. In particular, the following impacts have been perceived:
1. Contribution to RTD capacity building and management in USMBA: MoICT activities have been designed to reinforce the USMBA capacity building for participation in EU Framework Programme and to reach relevant impact on the increasing ICT technologies in water sector in Morocco.
The project implemented several capacity building cycles using different tools in order to support USMBA with all the necessary expertise it needs to become a competitive research centre with a Euro-Mediterranean vision and a well-established regional position.
A direct impact has been perceived in relation to:
o Research capacities in the water technological field like: i) ICT for water management; ii) Decision Support Systems (DSS) in water management; iii) Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies in water management; and iv) DSS in Network control.
o Research capacities in the ICT technological field with regard to the innovative smart system FluctuS and other similar existing and developing applications, including those for smart Water management.
o Horizontal level capacities, namely internationalization of research, competitive research and innovation, management and strategic planning. These skills has been acquired by USMBA personnel through all the project activities and in particular, through the “Market and Entrepreneurship Competences and Needs” training covering topics like: i) Research Transfer Techniques; ii) Setting-up spin-off companies; iii) The incubation process; iv) Writting a sustainable business plan; and v) the Crowdfunding.
2. Enhanced participation of USMBA in FP7 and similar programmes
Innovative events (coaching sessions) have been organized in the frame of FP7 trainings with the aim to offer to USMBA researchers the opportunity to experiment themselves in proposal writing and EU project management. Such events have empowered the capability of USMBA researchers and key personnel to check FP7 funding as well as other relevant EU funding opportunities. As direct result, several proposals have been submitted to FP7 and to other international funds and some of them have been funded.
3. Increased visibility and scope of USMBA with increased linkage with economic and social environment.
During the implementation of the project activities MoICT explicitly called for the active participation of various stakeholders’ groups (Scientific actors such as Universities and their spin-offs, Research centres, JRCs, European Commission representatives, national mass media TV, newspapers) as well as international and national actors. Indeed, 2 stakeholders meetings have been organized as well as an open networking day that have gathered representatives from all of the cited actors. This had a direct impact on strengthening the linkage with different economic and social communities.
As result, some twinning initiatives have started between USMBA and other research centers and associations at international level. At local level, a permanent dialogue platform with stakeholders (like SMEs, IT Associations, Networks, Regulators, Policy Makers, Financial organizations) has been established.
One of the main project outcomes has been the development of a Joint Research Programme (JRP) covering a 5-years period after the project completion between USMBA and MoICT scientific partners. Such programme has been elaborated accordingly with national RTD programmes and strategic plans involving all the Partnership’s members stimulating bilateral/multilateral research works.
4. Networking with other research centres in Member States or Associated Countries (mobilizing the human and material resources existing in a given field, disseminating scientific information as well as the results of research, facilitating communication between the centres having similar scientific interest).
Networking can be considered as the keystone of all the project activities. The impact has been pursued in all WPs. Indeed, a great number of trips have been organized within the project framework for networking purposes. They have promoted USMBA to intensify cooperation between the Centre and other EU/Mediterranean research institutions. The Networking activities offered also the possibility to present USMBA expertise and needs to international partners in the ICT research and application in water sector, mainly from Mediterranean and ERA.
5. Increased job opportunities for young scientists (measures to avoid 'brain drain' phenomena: better career opportunities, better work conditions, access to research infrastructures).
Young scientists, junior researchers, graduates represented one of the most important target groups for MoICT project. This has been reflected and taken into account in many projects’ outcomes as the mobility scheme (WP4), the training activities (WP3) and the plan for strategic development (WP5) as well. Many of these activities like the young researchers training and the study visits provided to young members of research staff opportunities to build successful research career, also spending a time period abroad for studies. This permitted them to participate directly in the EU research programmes and to acquire the latest achievements in the field of ICT research and application in water. After completion of these activities, and returning back to their institutions in Morocco, better career opportunities will be given to them.

List of Websites:

www.moict.eu
Responsible of providing data for the website: Ahlame Begdouri (MoICT coordinator): abegdouri@gmail.com
Webmaster: Rachid Belmeskine: rachid.belmeskine@hotmail.com

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