Context and Objectives
Research and innovation are vital for progress. Research offers policymakers a scientific basis for decisions grounded in data and evidence. It helps us to understand the global challenges we face, so that we can find the best way to overcome them and move towards a sustainable future. Meanwhile, innovation helps us bridge the gap between economic activities and respect for the environment, unlocking the potential of sustainable growth. The UfM aims to strengthen regional cooperation on research and innovation as a means of achieving its objectives of human and sustainable development, and as a way to push forward regional, scientific diplomacy.
With these principles in mind, the UfM Regional Platform on Research and Innovation (UfM Platform on R&I) has its origins in 1995 when a first Euro-Mediterranean Committee was created to promote and monitor cooperation in the fields of research, technology and development. Today, under the coordination of the UfM Co-Presidency, the UfM Platform on R&I brings together UfM Member States with the main objective of making recommendations for the joint implementation of research priorities while addressing issues concerning science, technology and innovation. Moreover, the policy dialogue benefits from the participation, as observers, of other regional organisations, such as the Arab League, as well as relevant initiatives like the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean (PRIMA) and BLUEMED, among others.
Through its activity, the UfM Platform on R&I contributes to human sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean region, by:
- acting as a forum for the exchange of information, views and recommendations on research and innovation policy in the Mediterranean region, and establishing a common information base on this subject;
- identifying issues of regional importance to be addressed by research and innovation and requiring cooperative Euro-Mediterranean activities, including initiatives from both shores;
- preparing and executing a work programme, where relevant, either through the Platform itself or through the establishment of ad-hoc working groups reporting directly to the Platform;
- proposing specific actions to be taken in the interest of the region;
- monitoring and providing feedback on research and innovation policies, developments and activities in the Euro-Mediterranean context;
- supporting and preparing the UfM Ministerial Meetings on Research and Innovation as well as reporting to and contributing to follow-up on issues concerning science, technology and innovation.
Climate change, renewable energies and health are priority areas for stronger regional collaboration in research and innovation for the coming years. These priorities were agreed at the 25th Meeting of the UfM Platform on R&I held in June 2020, which also established an Expert Group (EG) made up of leading academics in the field, in order to:
- develop a set of Roadmaps/Theories of Change and Impact Pathways (TCIPs) addressing key challenges and opportunities in each of the three priority areas of the platform; and
- prepare an assessment of horizontal linkages between these areas.
The activities of the UfM Secretariat in the area of Research and Innovation aim to:
- contribute to Sustainable Development Goals 9, “Fostering innovation”, and 4, “Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all”, as well as to all SDGs where the research and innovation dimension plays a crucial role in their successful achievement;
- continue providing support for the objectives highlighted by the Valletta Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation through Research and Innovation (2017), and 5+5 Dialogue inputs on Research and Innovation; and
- facilitate the switch towards “higher productivity, innovation capacity, quality jobs, green and inclusive growth” through the linkages between innovation and employability of researchers, graduates and students, in line with UfM Ministerial Declaration on Employment and Labour (2019), which called for the main streaming of employment and decent work objectives in sectorial areas including research and innovation.
- European Commission Directorate-General for DG RTD – DG for Research and Innovation (DG RTD)
- European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations
- The Higher Council for Science and Technology
More information on the activities of the UfM Platform on R&I is available at the following link