Fifteenth MED-SPRING E-Newsletter

Mediterranean Science, Policy, Research & Innovation Gateway


The Mediterranean Science, Policy, Research and Innovation Gateway (MED-SPRING) is a Coordination Action financed by the INCO-Net instrument under the FP7 - Capacities Programme. The aim of the Project is to contribute to the quality of the Euro-Mediterranean research area, with a particular focus on the bi-regional Euro-Mediterranean S&T cooperation, research and innovation, policy dialogue and cooperation monitoring.




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Dear readers, welcome to the fifteenth issue of the MED-SPRING E-Newsletter, which has the purpose of informing about our activities and involving researchers, stakeholders, policy makers and governmental officers in a renewed strategy for the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, with a particular focus on the Euro-Mediterranean Science and Technology Cooperation.


Keep an eye on AGORA MED-SPRING

Our recent activities

MED-SPRING 1st Euro-MedHackathon: Eco-Efficiency in the Agro-Food Chain - The "1st Euro-Med Hackathon: Eco-Efficiency in the Agro-Food Chain" took place in Amman (Jordan) from 14th to 15th December 2016. The 2-day event was organized by MedSpring and STRD-II projects and was hosted by HCST, in collaboration with STRD-II programme, MHESR, and CIHEAM-IAMB.

The private sector was represented by four Italian companies, Barilla, Seeds&Chips, Torino Wireless and SPRING invited to shortlist the 30 ideas participating in the Hackathon. They also offered their sponsorship for the awards to the final three winners. More than 40 participants including young innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs, from 10 Euro-Mediterranean Countries gathered at the event venue, and worked in a collaborative and participative way towards its success. Read more.

Our coming activities

MED-SPRING Final Conference - MED-SPRING organizes on July 6th and 7th a twodays event, hosted by the European Commission. The "Annual Meeting of the General Assembly" will be held on July 6th, while the Final Conference "The MedSpring legacy for Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation on R&I", will be held on July 7th. The venue is at the A. Borschette Congress Center (CCAB) - European Commission - Rue Froissart 36, in Brussels (Belgium). Read more.


Also in the pipeline!

ERANETMED Third Call Pre-Announcement - This is a pre-announcement of the third joint transnational research call that will be co-funded by the following ERANETMED partners: ANR (France), ASRT (Egypt), BMBF (Germany), CIHEAM Bari (Int. Org.), CNRS-L (Lebanon), DGRSDT (Algeria), HCST (Jordan), MESRSFC (Morocco), MESRST (Tunisia), MIUR (Italy), MINECO (Spain), RPF (Cyprus), STDF (Egypt), TUBITAK (Turkey). It aims at informing research teams about the imminent publication of the joint transnational research call in May 2017. Read more.

MED-SPRING participates in the Seeds&Chips Global Food Innovation Summit - The MED-SPRING project participates in the "Seeds&Chips Global Food Innovation Summit", which was held from 8 to 11 May 2017 in Milan, Italy. This is one of the top food innovation events worldwide. It was dedicated to showcasing national and international talent and cutting-edge solutions from around the world. Read more.

COST Connect: Water for Food and Agriculture in the Mediterranean Area - Water for food and agriculture is an important topic on the agenda. COST supports more than 20 Actions in this area and European stakeholders intensively discuss the issue with a strong focus on the Mediterranean area. COST aims to provide networking opportunities to structure this important field, to link the active researchers with policy stakeholders and thus connect the dots in the European Research Area. Read more.

First Euro-Mediterranean Conference for Environmental Integration - The conference aims to gather new research contributions from all disciplines of environmental sciences by many Euro-Mediterranean scientists from diverse backgrounds, in particular from the geo- and bio-environmental sciences and engineering, and thus make an essential contribution towards ensuring that science and knowledge can contribute to promoting a more sustainable environment for the Euro-Mediterranean region. Read more.



Meet our partners: The Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - IRD 

The ``Institut de Recherche pour le Développement" (IRD) is a public research institute under the joint authority of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, dedicated to basic research, on subjects related to sustainable development. It develops both local capabilities and collaborative projects that aim at finding solutions adapted to the human and planetary challenges: pandemics, climate change, humanitarian and political crises, etc. This inter-disciplinary institute is also one of the main operators of French research policy on topics relating in priority to regions and countries in the inter-tropical regions and the Mediterranean area. IRD is quite unique in its mode of functioning, since it conducts research within negociated partnerships with research units and research partners in developing countries on health, environmental sciences, climate sciences, geology and geophysics, biological sciences, modelisation and computer sciences, and a large range of social sciences.

Strategic partnerships with research teams from the Global South are the main tool of action of IRD. IRD is unique in the fact that it is the only research institute in the World that has the possibility to send its own researchers or engineers (820 researchers and 1228 IRD engineers and technicians) overseas for long periods (usually two to four years); 35% of the research personnel is based overseas in this way; it has also the legal capacity to engage in direct negotiations with national and international authorities for the definition of long-term research programmes.

Moreover, IRD respects the freedom of researchers in deciding their research topics, methods and temporality and are evaluated by multi-disciplinary scientific committees with internal as well as external and foreign scientists. IRD - formerly known as ORSTOM - has a very long historical trajectory since the second world war and until very recently most of its production is open access and the Institute manages one of the largest scientific documentations databases ( and, among other things, one of the largest collection of maps of Africa.

IRD manages its own collections of books and a strong film unit. It has also very exceptional competences in expertise and participate in international regulations such as, for example, disease control in tropical areas, control of fishing quotas, surveillance of biodiversity, control and water management, environmental observatories, observatories on violence, research on education and knowledge and so on. Among its 56 units, IRD has a strong social science component (around one third of its researchers). Thus, IRD has been one of the largest anthropology hubs in Europe for Africa. Since this year (2017) IRD has a new strategic plan that mentions clearly all these principles:  developing equitable scientific partnerships and co-publications with developing countries (around 4000 publications and co-publications per year); propose public policies informed by scientific research; place citizens and local knowledge as drivers of change and promote responsible innovation; finally develop an internationally recognized scientific expertise and know-how.

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Focus on Focus on the latest news on Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation

A During the period 2014 to 2017 the Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation has received a great impulse thanks to the overcome of the procedural obstacles related to the approval of the PRIMA initiative. The CoP Conference in Paris and Marrakech are milestones in the definition of the common interest of all Mediterranean Countries regarding the challenges posted by the climate change. The political frame of dialogue represented by the GSO and the 5+5 Dialogue Platform have highlighted the importance of  dealing with sustainable water, farming and food systems for local and regional development through innovative solutions, together with the urgent need to improve the human capital and the training of innovation experts.

The World Economic Forum Global Risks 2017 Analysis Report Identified the following 5 Top Trends that Determine Global Developments: Rising Income and wealth disparity, Changing climate, Increasing polarization of societies, Rising cyber dependency and Ageing population.

This analysis, complement and develop some of the Global Risks reported in the 2016 Report and their impact affecting the Mediterranean Area such as involuntary migration and social instability. Some geopolitical risks - such as the failure of national governance - are considered to be among the top three most likely risks in the Middle East and North Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, and Central Asia.

Also prominent in the Global Risks Landscape 2016 are environmental risks such as failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, which is considered the most potentially impactful risk and the third most likely, with water crises, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse rising up the list of concerns. Environmental worries have been at the forefront in recent years, reflecting a sense that climate change - related risks have moved from hypothetical to certain because insufficient action has been undertaken to address them.

The Risk that has registered the highest increases in perceptions of likelihood and impact is large-scale involuntary migration, now rated as the most likely and fourth most impactful. Three risk clusters are important: the cluster linking the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation with water crises and large-scale involuntary migration; the cluster linking large-scale involuntary migration with a range of risks related to social and economic stability; and the cluster linking economic global risks with uncertainty around the impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Climate change and water crises, which have featured prominently in the Global Risks Landscape over the last five years, are joined this year by largescale involuntary migration. Climate change and water risks are intricately linked to food security concerns. About 70% of the world's current freshwater withdrawals are used for agriculture, rising to over 90% in most of the world's least-developed countries. Carbon dioxide also causes ocean acidification, which makes it harder for small shellfish to form the calcium carbonite shells they need to grow - with implications rising up the food chain, threatening the availability of food from the seas as well. Challenges around water management are already immense. On the one hand, over a billion people lack access to improved water. Some 2.7 billion - or 40% of the world's population - suffer water shortages for at least a month each year. Globally, based on current trends, water demand is projected to exceed sustainable supply by 40% in 2030.

Adding to the pressures, agricultural production will have to increase in the coming decades to feed a growing population and a rising demand for meat. Unless current water management practices change significantly, many parts of the world will therefore face growing competition for water between agriculture, energy, industry, and cities. OECD estimates that 4 billion people could be living in water scarce areas by 2050. According to the World Water Council, 80% to 90% of the scarce water in many of the world's arid and semi-arid river basins is already being used, and over 70% of the world's major rivers no longer reach the sea.  Even many developed countries are failing to proactively address water vulnerabilities, instead reacting only after extreme weather events. In developing countries, the political challenges inherent in water infrastructure and conservation projects are exacerbated by greater financing challenges.

Another important political event was the acknowledgement by the 29th Ministerial Session of the UN Economic and Social Council of Western Asia held in Doha, Qatar, the 16 December 2016, where the ministerial panel discussion on the Sustainable development Goals (SDG) observed that the Arab region needs to build the capacity of its national statistical offices (NSOs) to collect data to monitor progress and, among other objectives,  adapt the SDG to national context  or develop a regional action on science, technology and innovation. The landscape described by the WEF Reports represents a real challenge for countries around the Mediterranean and their scientific and technological communities, and is a real incentive to deepen in the collaborative frames already existing and support the cooperation policies based in the common interest.

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