Barcelona, 3rd April 2012.- Prof. Ilan Chet, Deputy Secretary General for Higher Education and Research, represented the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation which was organized in Barcelona by the European Commission’s Research and Innovation DG on April 2nd and 3rd.
The aim of the conference was to reinforce the international cooperation and launch a renewed partnership policy in Research and Innovation in order to address the common societal, economic and political changes affecting the Mediterranean region, particularly in the Southern countries. The discussion focused mainly on the fields of water, energy, health, transport, and marine environment.
The meeting was attended by approximately 350 top-level scientists and policy makers from more than 30 Euro-Mediterranean countries. Among those attending the conference were: Mrs. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation, and Science; Mr. Lahcen Daoudi, Moroccan Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Training; Mr. Stavros Malas, Cypriot Minister of Health; and Amb. Fathallah Sijilmassi, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean.
Prof. Chet participated in the closing session of the meeting. He highlighted the connection between Research and Innovation (R&I) and Higher Education and underlined that R&I constitutes a long term project which usually doesn’t coincide with aspirations of the politicians who have to show quick results. Furthermore, he suggested giving further incentives to researchers in order to create a stimulating environment and improve conditions for innovation. In addition, he stressed the importance of intellectual property in this critical period due to the economic crisis and the resulting cuts in university budgets.
Prof. Chet concluded by presenting a short summary of the projects which are currently being developed by the Division of Higher Education and Research. He informed about the establishment of a new International University in Fes (Morocco) which will focus on Euro-Mediterranean priority issues.