A new research and innovation agenda is needed for the Mediterranean


There is no such thing as a doubt that innovation is a necessity in modern economies. Funding in analysis and improvement (R&D) is crucial for companies and international locations and contributes to a robust economic system by means of job creation, earnings era and long-term financial development. Within the final years, to deal with international development in innovation and expertise, lots of the MENA international locations have developed particular person initiatives, methods or insurance policies to advertise innovation and the data economic system. However consequently, the present state of scientific cooperation within the Euro-Mediterranean area is characterised extra by North-South interactions than by South-South collaboration. 

Warmth waves impacted a lot of North Africa and Europe earlier than summer season even began. Meteorologists have heralded this unusually early warmth wave as an indication of what’s to come back as international warming continues, with all that it implies: rising sea ranges, disappearing biodiversity, the warmth we’re sweating by means of on each shores of the Mediterranean… 

As one of many world’s principal hotspots, the Euro-Mediterranean area faces widespread challenges that don’t cease at borders from local weather change and droughts to a pandemic. Greater than ever, we must innovate. Collectively. If we wish to obtain each a inexperienced revolution and financial development, we have to put scientific analysis cooperation on the centre of our improvement methods. This requires coordinated efforts to advertise useful resource and data sharing, create new joint initiatives, and improve communication amongst our present techniques. 

However analysis doesn’t, or shouldn’t, occur in a vacuum. Due to this fact, analysis and innovation nonetheless should be linked to native industries and economies. Extra dialogue must occur between academia, business, and governments if we wish analysis to be seen as a chance to deal with the disparities in our societies. That’s why it’s essential we don’t solely try to make the world of analysis extra accessible however to make sure that its affect is felt throughout Mediterranean economies, making a case for a sustainable and equal future, based mostly on abilities and laborious information.

That is the place the training, analysis and innovation triangle continues to reveal how fixed interplay between these three endeavours makes viable innovation attainable. Entry to greater training and analysis alternatives not solely brings a rustic important financial return, but additionally helps people attain their full potential.

In response to UNICEF estimates, on the present tempo, 39 million extra youth will arrive within the labour market throughout the area by 2030. With the world’s second-youngest demographic, the Southern Mediterranean area faces challenges in offering high quality employment alternatives for this incoming labour drive, particularly younger ladies. Though in a number of international locations – Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia – ladies now outnumber their male counterparts as tertiary training graduates, they continue to be disproportionately affected by unemployment. 

This wasted potential is what drives me and my colleagues to develop initiatives that sort out two issues directly: creating profession alternatives and making certain a sustainable Mediterranean Sea.

Simply consider the potential this strategy might have in an entrenched and sophisticated construction, our power grids. As the main target in analysis establishments throughout the area shifts from petrochemistry to greener options, I see this as an opportunity to alter how we work and are available collectively, united by the identical objective. There are numerous consultants working in silos throughout the Mediterranean who might revolutionise our power grids if solely that they had entry to one another’s data, information units and assets. And allow us to be taught from the covid-19 pandemic! The place the world learnt simply how vital scientific cooperation was vital in creating vaccines. Collaboration, in the case of creating storage options and infrastructure implementation, is essential. 

On the Union for the Mediterranean, we’ve got all the time labored at this crossroads of human and sustainable improvement. One of many principal challenges we face at present is to advertise scientific excellence within the Mediterranean space, in addition to to search out new options to the challenges confronted by our communities in relation to water and meals administration and well being points as highlighted by the current pandemic. Challenges that require a brand new imaginative and prescient, past easy expertise switch and in direction of true co-creation, on a spirit of co-ownership.

On the inaugural Ministerial Convention on Analysis and Innovation, all of the Euro-Mediterranean international locations endorsed a Ministerial Declaration on innovation and analysis. It is a step in the appropriate course to fulfill the tempo of change and the dimensions of the challenges we at present face and to foster collaboration between scientists and innovators on each side of the Mediterranean. They’re endorsing new analysis roadmaps on subjects that matter local weather change, renewable power, and well being. We’re beginning to search for collaboration alternatives and synergies in R&I, not simply to offer short-term options, however to wholly rework how we stay, work, and be taught.

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