• Past 03/07/2017 04/07/2017
  • Tehran, Iran

  • eu_policy higher_education

The European Commission and the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research & Technology co-hosted a two-day scientific & research event to pave the way for expanding Iran-European Union (EU) cooperation between higher education institutions, research institutes and other organisations through the EU's higher education and research and innovation programmes, Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020.

This initiative follows the joint statement agreed between EU HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohamad Javad Zarif, of 16 April 2016 on EU-Iran bilateral cooperation.

Among the high-level Iranian representatives attending the event were H. E. Dr Hossein Salar Amoli, Acting Minister for International Scientific Cooperation; H. E. Dr  Mohsen Asadi Lari, Acting Minister for International Scientific Cooperation of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education; H.E Ali Morteza Birang, Deputy for International Cooperation of the Office of Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology and H. E. Dr Mojtaba Shariati Niasar, Deputy for Education, from the Ministry of Science, Research & Technology, who were joined by a number of Iranian university rectors and vice rectors.

European Commission participants included high-level officials from its Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, the EU Joint Research Centre and the European Research Council Executive Agency. They were joined by rectors, vice rectors and representatives of higher education institutions from 21 European countries for the two-day event.

The event covered various topics in research and innovation and higher education. The first day focused on higher education in science, technology and research and opportunities available under the Horizon 2020 programme. This included thematic workshops on different topics, as well as mobility grants for researchers such as the European Research Council grants and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

The second day was dedicated to exchanging ideas and best practices, as well as exploring the opportunities for Iran-EU cooperation between higher education institutions, including under the European Union's flagship education programme Erasmus+. This included:

Testimonials from academics and alumni from both sides provided first-hand insights and perspectives of the benefits to be gained from involvement in these actions.

To promote cooperation between the EU and Iranian institutions, sessions were held arranged on both days to allow university officials and academics themselves the opportunity to network. Bringing the two sides together created the right environment to sow the seeds leading to successful partnerships in future.

From 2017 onwards, Iranian higher education institutions are now able to participate in the international credit mobility programme. This enables universities and other higher education providers from 28 EU member countries, together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey, to partner with institutions from Partner Countries around the world. Participants are then eligible to study or teach at their respective partner institutions for a period of 3-12 months for students and 5-60 days for staff.

Iranian students continue to take part in the Erasmus Mundus programme, which provides scholarships for Master and Doctoral students to study on selected courses (based on mutual agreement) throughout the world. On average, around 30-50 Iranian students are chosen per year.

The EU Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020, to be published in October this year, will provide Iran-EU  research and innovation communities numerous opportunities for collaboration. This will pave the way for ongoing science, technology and higher education cooperation between the two sides with improved mutual understanding.