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Future European Tunisian Research Innovation Cooperation

Final Report Summary - FETRIC (Future European Tunisian Research Innovation Cooperation)

Executive Summary:
The overall objective of FETRIC Project is to improve the S&T cooperation between EU and Tunisia by strengthening bilateral cooperation between research and innovation actors, especially in the context of Horizon 2020 programme. The project is divided into 5 work packages:
- WP 1 is dedicated to “Support policy dialogue between Tunisia and the EU” by gathering all the relevant bottom feedback from the project field and contributing to the preparation and implementation of the road map for future STI cooperation in a understandable form for policy-makers;
- WP2 gives a special focus on the innovation processes in societal challenges of mutual interest such as Scarcity of resources, Energy (specifically renewable energy and energy saving) and High quality affordable food. After an in-depth analysis of the Tunisian STI system, a methodology will be applied to each of the identified societal challenges so as to bring research and innovation actors together and hence align EU–Tunisia science, technology and innovation chain processes;
- WP3 named “Raising the EU- Tunisia S&T Cooperation” aims at improving knowledge and skills on scientific and technological matters so as to improve the quality and number of partnerships involving both researchers and entrepreneurs from Tunisia and Europe. This will mainly be done through the building and improvement of technical and management skills in the Liaison Office and the Tunisian networks of multipliers it coordinates;
- WP4 is dedicated to develop efficient “Information, communication and dissemination activities” to increasing the visibility of FETRIC activities to make them more easily available to the scientific and technological communities from Tunisia and EU;
- Finally, WP 5 is dedicated to “General management” of project’s activities and funds with the aim to ensure the quality-control of action deliverables, including through an external review committee.
Project Context and Objectives:
FETRIC aims to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the EU and Tunisia, by enhancing synergies between S&T EU and Tunisian actors, projects, and programmes. FETRIC will tackle the Horizon 2020 societal challenges through a challenge-based approach in order to examine and answer societal problems in both Tunisia and the EU, especially in these fields:
- scarcity of resources;
- energy with a focus on renewable energy and energy saving;
- and high quality affordable food.
OBJECTIVES
- Paving the ground for the future STI Cooperation Agreement between Tunisia and the EU and building synergies among existing S&T projects and programs between EU and MPC;
- Tackling the Horizon 2020 societal challenges: bringing together resources and knowledge across different fields and innovation chain;
- Creating a national 'Liaison Office for the promotion and coordination of EU-Tunisian S&T cooperation';
- Supporting Tunisian participations in Horizon 2020 by reinforcing the existing networks of multipliers (national, thematic, institutional and focal contact points) and innovation actors;
- Showcasing Tunisian resources, main laboratories, applied technologies, RDI performers and innovation chain success stories;
- Reaching relevant public authorities, funding bodies, researchers, research managers, innovation-oriented SMEs and industry, other relevant EU organizations and the public at large.
Project Results:
Despite the different circumstances encountering the smooth implementation of the project, FETRIC Project relatively did well, its main S&T results:
- An annual country report on ST&I cooperation progress and impacts was prepared;
- A benchmark was done on national STI policies and strategies, Mediterranean governance reforms and cooperation;
- An in-depth analysis of the Tunisian STI system;
- The successful negotiation occurring between the EC and Tunisia enabling the latter to become an associated country to H2020 Programme in December 2015 (The Tunisian Parliament ratified this agreement between Tunisia and the EC by an organic law n. 20 of 15 March 2016);
- The FETRIC Liaison Office was officially launched, and to ensure its sustainability the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR) created a special Programme Management Unit to support the association of Tunisia to H2020 (This Unit was created by decree n. 955 of 22 July 2016);
- The number of H2020 projects involving Tunisian institutions increased significantly from 1 project in 2014 to more than 20 projects by the end of 2016;
- A network of 23 NCPs in different thematic was established in order to improve the TN participation in H2020; this network was accompanied by the establishment of a new governance system at the Ministry two months before the end of the project thanks to the efforts of the new team taking in charge the responsibility of FETRIC Project;
- An interesting activity was well-implemented by the developments of different plans for improving the Innovation Management Capacity of 3 Research Centers (RCs) operating in the Nexus (Energy-Food-Water) through the assessment of their Innovation Management Capabilities, the development of a strategy to improve the management capacity of these RCs and the development of a strategy to improve the capacity for innovation, enhancement of research results valorization and technology transfer of these RCs. And a relevant result of this activity, BMBF (German Federal Ministry for Education and Research) allocated a grant (350 000 EUR) in form of a Project entitled TRIFOLD 'Technology Transfer and Innovation in Tunisian Research Centers – Capacity Building Measures' to ensure the next steps of this activity;
- The organization of 2 training sessions (March 2014 and June 2015);
- The organization of a study visit (Germany, December 2014);
- Supporting the participation of several researchers in 3 brokerage events in collaboration with MedSpring Project;
- The development of several communication materials.
FETRIC had also direct and indirect positive results on the cooperation between EU and Tunisia by:
- Identifying the strategic societal challenges, on which to address future RTDI activities of Tunisian and EU actors;
- Setting up the special Programme Management Unit as a stable organization to support the Tunisian participation in Horizon 2020;
- Paving an innovation-friendly environment in Tunisia to make the Tunisian triple helix actors the driver of innovation.
Potential Impact:
As concrete and significant impacts of FETRIC Project, we can mention:
- Bridging the scientific gap between Tunisia and the EU;
- Support the policy dialogue and contribute to the definition and implementation of joint strategic agendas for research, development and innovation;
- Contributing to the enlargement of European Research Area towards Mediterranean Partner Countries for mutual benefits and advancement;
- Sustainability of STI bilateral relation and uptake of the coordination mechanisms;
- More engagement of the civil society in the identification of the national priorities;
- Synergies with other national or international research activities;
- Increasingly substantial investments to Tunisian young entrepreneurs and researchers;
- Strengthening Tunisian researchers and innovative entrepreneurs capacities;
- The decrease of unemployment rate especially among those holding higher education degrees.
The main dissemination activities in FETRIC Project were:
- Project website;
- Social media (Facebook and Twitter);
- Press releases;
- Participation in national and regional events to communicate on the project and to present its results.
List of Websites:
Project website: www.fetric.eu
Facebook Page: agorafetric
Twitter account: @FETRICPROJECT
www.horizon2020.tn
Phone number. +216 71 835 019
Fax. +216 71 835 351
E-mail: h2020@mes.rnu.tn