State Secretary Martina Hirayama on a scientific mission to Morocco

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State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Martina Hirayama is visiting Morocco from 30 May to 1 June 2022. During her visit, the State Secretary will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation (MESRSI) to strengthen cooperation in the fields of research and innovation.

State Secretary Martina Hirayama, accompanied by a scientific delegation made up of representatives of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO) and the EPFL, will meet with Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation Abdellatif Miraoui. The meeting will conclude with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between SERI and the MESRSI aimed at strengthening cooperation on research and innovation between the two countries.

At the same time, the HES-SO, appointed by the Swiss Confederation as Leading House for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), will sign a cooperation agreement with the MESRSI Directorate of Scientific Research and Innovation. A call for projects will be launched based on the agreement, co-funded by the Directorate and the Leading House and open to researchers in Switzerland and Morocco.

The HES-SO is responsible for piloting new instruments of cooperation on research and innovation with high potential countries in the MENA region such as Morocco. The call for projects, which will benefit the entire Swiss and Moroccan scientific community, is the result of regular contacts between the two countries since March 2020.

The Swiss delegation will continue its programme with a visit to the Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation and Research and to the centre of excellence in artificial intelligence, AI Movement. Further visits are planned to Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Ben Guerir and Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh. One of the main objectives of this scientific mission is to deepen bilateral relations through direct contacts with local actors and institutions.

Switzerland and Morocco have good relations in the field of science founded on a number of instruments. Within the framework of the pilot activities of the Leading House HES-SO, cooperation between Swiss and Moroccan researchers is the most intensive. Further instruments include the Swiss Confederation’s Government Excellence Scholarships, which since 1961 have enabled more than 70 Moroccan scientists to pursue research in Switzerland. Moroccans also constitute the largest community of African students in Switzerland. Furthermore, a number of direct partnerships already exist between Swiss and Moroccan universities, including the Excellence in Africa initiative, launched by EPFL and Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in 2020. The initiative aims to support research excellence across the African continent through various programmes.

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