EU and Jordan sign the agreement for the participation of Jordan in PRIMA
Signature of PRIMA agreement
The European Union and Jordan signed today an international agreement on Jordan's participation in the 'Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area' (PRIMA). This initiative brings together both shores of the Mediterranean in a joint research programme to work together on two of the major challenges of the region: efficient and sustainable food production and water provision.
The signature took place in the margins of the World Science Forum, where Mr Carlos Moedas -EU's Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation- presented the recently published Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020. Science diplomacy continues to be a priority for the EU's Research and Innovation policy and it will be further enhanced through the forthcoming Horizon 2020 calls, including around 30 international cooperation initiatives of large scale and scope on topics dedicated to areas of mutual benefit comprising a total budget of over €1 billion.
The PRIMA international agreement was signed with Jordan by Ms Maria Cristina Russo - Director for International Cooperation of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission - and by Mr Margus Rava - Ambassador of Estonia to Greece - on behalf of the EU and by Dr Khaled Elshuraydeh -Secretary General of the Higher Council for Science and Technology- on behalf of Jordan.
Today's signature is paving the way for full participation of Jordan in PRIMA after the ratification of this agreement by both parties.
PRIMA is supported by Horizon 2020 -the EU's research and innovation framework programme- with €220 million and by the contribution of a number of EU Members States and Southern Mediterranean Countries with €274 million. The EU participates in PRIMA on the basis of Decision (EU) 2017/1324, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
Recent developments in R&I
Both sides exchanged information on recent developments in policy and programmes relating to research and innovation.
- The EU side provided information on Europe 2020, the Innovation Union, Horizon 2020 and the development of a new international strategy for research and innovation.
- The Jordanian side provided information on the recently established National Science and Technology Innovation Policy and Strategy 2012-2016. In terms of Research and Development the priority areas identified are water, energy, food security and health. In terms of innovation, Jordan shows a clear commitment to translate its current fragmented approach to innovation into a national strategy around 6 innovation clusters: medical and pharmaceutical, ICT, clean technologies, architecture and construction, education and career development and banking and finance.
- Jordan is currently the 4th most active partner in FP7 in the Mediterranean region, directly after Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, involved in 25 projects. The highest level of cooperation in terms of proposals received is in environment, food, agriculture and biotechnologies and ICT.
- A few of the projects that were discussed: ERA-Wide projects for their capacity-building benefits and the ICT project JOIN-MED for its ability to unite actors in the area of ICT during a period of political difficulties in the Mediterranean region. The ENPi funded project SRTD that aims to increase the contribution of Jordan's Research and Technological Development and Innovation sectors to Jordan's economic growth and employment was also discussed. The BILAT project EU-JordanNET that will allow Jordan to organise a regional event in October 2012 to link it better to the INCO-NET MIRA.
- The Marie Curie actions open to Jordan were presented in detail. Until now, 3 Jordanian institutions and 4 Jordanian researchers have participated in FP7 Marie Curie Actions. The EU encouraged Jordan to make better use of the scheme. The soon to be nominated People National Contact Point should certainly help improve the situation.
The International Cooperation objectives of DG Research and Innovation that aim to increase relevance and impact were discussed:
- The "general opening" of the Framework Programme and its central criterion of scientific excellence. Several ideas were discussed to help Jordan increase its participation. The distinction was made with the ENP instrument, which includes capacity-building measures.
- Principles of common interest and mutual benefit: common challenges such as climate change or food security are better addressed together.
- Promotion of cooperation at bi-regional level to increase the impact of the cooperation: Jordan was encouraged to play an important role in the Euro-Mediterranean Monitoring Committee on Research Development and Innovation (MoCo) and the INCO-NET project MIRA. The Euro-Mediterranean Conference that will take place in Barcelona on 2 and 3 April was discussed extensively, especially in terms of thematic priority setting for the region; Dr. Khaled El-Shuraydeh has participated in the Steering Committee of this conference and expressed his intention to participate in the Conference.
- Improved coordination of research policies and programmes: in line with the conclusions of the last MoCo meeting that include the request of the Mediterranean region to focus cooperation on co-ownership and co-funding, the probability of launching an ERA-NET or ERA-NET Plus for the region was presented (planned for the Capacities WP2013).
- Improved synergies with the external policy of the EU: holding the Joint Committee meeting and the ENP sub-committee together allows for the creation of synergies between FP7 and the ENP in the area of research and innovation. The ENP Action Plan integrates research and innovation capacity-building. Moreover, the ENPi funded SRTD project has started its second phase early 2012 receiving another EU contribution of 5 Meuros.
- It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in Amman, Jordan, in 12 to 18 months' time. Both parties agreed that a continuous exchange of information should take place in the meantime, with the possibility to organise a video-conference.