The Mediterranean innovation potential put forward during the Innovation week in Casablanca
2-5 March 2015, Casablanca, Morocco
The Innovation Week will take place from the 2nd to the 5th of March 2015 in Casablanca and will involve several EU projects working on the sustainable development in the Mediterranean region. Multiple workshops, trainings, roundtables and a brokerage event will be organised to discuss the great innovation potential of the Mediterranean Region.
Research and innovation cooperation within the Mediterranean is critical to tackle important common challenges and develop practical tools to achieve growth and job creation, environmental protection and social development.
The R2I programme from the European Commission supports this since 2012, co-financing projects aiming to bring research to the field and therefore foster innovation. These projects join forces with other Mediterranean initiatives to proudly present and animate events focusing on the great Mediterranean innovation potential.
The European project MENFRI – Mediterranean Network of Forestry Research and Innovation will be one of the partners involved in this initiative and will co-organise two trainings: “Horizon 2020: An insight into the EU framework programme for research and innovation” (Wednesday 4th of March, with the project SOHEALTHY), and “Business & Innovation Training in the Mediterranean Area” (Thursday 5th of March, with the project MARE).
To develop its full research potential, the Mediterranean region needs to know and master the available tools and funding opportunities. The training on Horizon 2020 will provide attendants with the basic knowledge about H2020, how to prepare proposals and find adequate partners.
The training on “Business & Innovation in the Mediterranean Area” will aim to facilitate the knowledge, innovation and technology transfer from academia to business, while addressing crucial points such as commercialization (instruments, skills, etc).
The trainings will bring together researchers, SMEs, public organisations, technology transfer offices and other relevant stakeholders, and are open to all (registration is mandatory).
General political context
The EU seeks to develop particular close relationship with Morocco, its geographical neighbour, and to support Morocco's economic and political reforms.
The relationship emphasizes close cooperation on democratic reform, economic modernization, and migration issues. The current agenda of EU-Morocco relations is spelled out in an Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy. Morocco and the EU are bound by the legally binding treaty in the form of an Association agreement.
The Euro-Mediterranean Barcelona process started in 1995 and provides the political framework for Morocco-EU partnership. Within this framework an S&T cooperation agreement was signed in 2003. The agreement promotes the opening of ERA and European Research programmes to the Moroccan participation. The FP7 supported bilateral platform MOBILISE - Morocco and the EU: strengthening Bilateral Links in Innovation and Science for Economy - supports the implementation of the agreement.
At a regional level, Morocco is a member of the MOCO (Monitoring Committee for Euro-Mediterranean research and innovation) which brings together all EU and South Mediterranean countries to define strategic orientations for Euro-Med S&T collaboration.
Morocco’s participation in FP7
In regard to FP7, the trend of participation of Morocco has been increasing. Morocco is the second most active Mediterranean country in FP7 and so far there have been 57 Moroccan public and private institutions which participated in 74 projects under FP7. The total EU contribution to these projects has amounted to almost EUR 296 million, EUR 10 million of which went to the Moroccan partners.
Most applications were submitted under the thematic priorities Food, Agriculture & Biotechnologies, Health and Environment.
Morocco is involved in the multi-lateral dialogue platforms MedSpring, ERANETMED. In addition, Morocco is involved in 2 ERA-WIDE projects MAP2ERA and MoICT (Morocco Research Advance in ICT for Water).
The sixth EU-Moroccan Joint Committee meeting
The sixth EU-Moroccan Joint Committee meeting on Science and Technology took place in Brussels on 12 September 2012. The meeting was carried out jointly with the ENP sub-committee meeting on research and innovation. It was co-chaired by Elisabeth Lipiatou, Head of Unit, European Neighbourhood, Africa and Gulf (D3), DG Research and Innovation, European Commission and Zayer El Majid, Director for Technologies of the Ministry for Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Training for Executives.
At the meeting, both sides exchanged information on recent developments in policy and programmes relating to research and innovation.
The European Commission provided information on the forthcoming programme Horizon 2020 which will open new opportunities for cooperation with Morocco and will bring the country even closer to its ambition to join the European Research Area.
The Moroccan side presented to its European partners its National Strategy for development 2025 and the new Action Plan for RTDI 2013-2016 which clear objective is to use research performance and results in response to the socio-economic needs and challenges.
Both sides reiterated the principles of their partnership namely co-ownership, mutual interest and shared benefits and discussed on-going projects and possible future areas of bilateral, regional and bi-regional cooperation.