Morocco’s Ministry of Education along with a group of Moroccan institutions are launching a multi-thematic initiative that seeks to boost research and development. The “APR & D2020” initiative is set to finance research and development projects in priority fields, such as health, environment and quality of life, agriculture, agri-food industry, fishing and water, natural resources, and renewable energy.

The multi-thematic initiative also seeks to boost other key pillar fields, including the aeronautical and automotive industries, transport, logistics, advanced technologies, education and training, and even human sciences or contemporary challenges in Moroccan society.

The education ministry, the OCP Foundation, the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, and the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST) launched the call for projects. The initiative has a budget of MAD 170 million ($18.27 million) to finance the projects. The joint statement from the partners of the initiative said they aspire to create a new dynamic at the level of national research through encouraging applied research and collaboration between researchers. The partners will host a webinar on September 30 to introduce the multi-thematic initiative. Pre-project submissions are open from September 28 to November 23.

“This call for projects follows on from the Research and Development Fund (R&D) around phosphates which were launched in October 2014, with a budget of MAD 90 million and which made it possible to finance 39 research projects,” the statement said. The partners said an initial assessment of the R&D Fund on phosphates makes it possible to showcase the “strengthening of the capacity of the laboratories involved at the level of the participating national universities and their networking.”

The assessment also enabled “the enrichment of scientific production by the presentation of 319 communications at the national and international level and the publication of 163 articles and 4 patents, as well as the training of 70 doctoral students and 31 post-docs.” The partners have now concluded an agreement for the launch of a new R&D Fund to reinforce national scientific research and development in Morocco’s priority areas to sustain the synergies created through the new initiative. The partners are committed to deploying the necessary means for the success of the operations to raise Morocco to the “ranks of great nations in terms of R&D and innovation.”

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