Initiatives to boost international research cooperation

A Moroccan-German Institute of Applied Sciences is to open in Meknès in Morocco under a partnership between Morocco’s University of Moulay Ismaïl and Germany’s Aachen University of Applied Sciences – one of a number of partnership initiatives set to revolutionise research in Moroccan universities and institutes by developing new education programmes and promoting research and innovation.

Another project that will support Morocco’s efforts to develop a knowledge-based economy is the establishment of an Egyptian-Moroccan universities coalition to promote joint research.

The initiatives were announced by Morocco’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Lahcen Daoudi during the opening session of the third national meeting on “Informatics: Methods and Applications”, held from 23-25 April at the Errachidia-based faculty of science and technology of the University of Moulay Ismaïl.

The measures focus on academic excellence, innovative research and capacity building and are aimed at strengthening Morocco’s global competitiveness, its economic growth through the development of human capital, its production of intellectual property and application of research in all sectors relevant to economic development.

To enable public universities to carry out these aims, the initiatives will link Moroccan universities with international laboratories to promote knowledge and technology transfer and create new disciplines to ensure that graduates are prepared for the market and industry.

New technologies will be integrated in Moroccan universities to help their rehabilitation, and government international engagement will be promoted.

Further, the initiatives will help to install up-to-date equipment in university laboratories to enhance research capacity and postgraduate training as well as help researchers carry out advanced research.

It will also promote technical and practical experience through workshops, and provide appropriate conditions and financial resources for excellent research.

The Egyptian-Moroccan scientific coalition, which was unveiled on 1 April and aims to promote scientific cooperation between universities and research centres in the two countries, is a first step towards implementing Morocco’s new initiatives.

Moroccan-German institute

Another is the partnership agreement for the new Moroccan-German Institute of Applied Sciences, signed in April in Düsseldorf between Professor Marcus Baumann, rector of the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, or FH Aachen, and Hassan Sahbi, president of the University of Moulay Ismail in Meknès, or UMI, reported Libération of Casablanca.

The two partners agreed to base their common academic and research activities within the institute, which will be constructed on a 10-hectare site at UMI.

The universities are engaged with other potential founder members of the institute, and they undertook to “develop a partnership agreement for the establishment of the Moroccan-German Institute of Applied Sciences in the near future, including a financial plan”, reported Libération.

The first stage will be to offer Moroccan students two bachelor degrees in applied chemistry and electronic engineering, with other courses to follow, said the paper.

It noted that this was not the first agreement between the two universities. Last year UMI and FH Aachen launched a new international bachelor of engineering programme, two years after a first BSc in applied chemistry.

France considers increasing cooperation

In a separate development, France has expressed its interest in increasing cooperation with Morocco, reported Libération.

Catherine Morin-Desailly, president of the French senate’s culture, education and communication commission, said during a meeting in April with Moroccan Minister Daoudi that France was “paying close attention” to the reception in its universities of Moroccan students, and hoped to increase joint projects with Morocco in view of the immense challenges which confronted its young people.

There are nearly 34,000 Moroccan students in France, and they form the biggest national group of foreign students in the country.

“In Morocco as in France, we share the concerns of our youth and of their appropriate education in giving them the keys to both their fulfilment and their success,” said Morin-Desailly.

She said her meeting aimed to establish an assessment of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries and to work for “its new expansion, development and depth”.

Daoudi called for strengthening relations between the countries, especially in the areas of education and culture. “French universities must approach the emerging ‘low-cost’ markets, particularly in industrialised countries, to promote and improve research,” he said, noting that France offered an entry for Morocco to Europe.

* Some of this article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.