Monday, 20 October 2008

Role of the National Information Point to promote FP7 in Africa

Sanaa ZEBAKH (Point d'Information National sur les programmes de recherche europeens - Maroc) says: "The role of NIPs is not to create illusions but about contributing to European research knowledge and about excellence". In Morocco light information products have been developed with a focus on themes which Moroccan researchers may find interesting.

Morocco has been relatively successful in participating in FP6 & FP7 calls because of the long history of scientific collaboration between Europe and Morocco. The contribution of the National Information Point to this is more difficult to evaluate. Some 30 information sessions have been organised for FP7 call all over the country and Morocco has now focal points in every university. But despite the information dissemination the success rate for the first FP7 call has been low: on the 45 submitted proposals only 2 were selected under the Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnologies (FAFB) call 2007. Under the first call of FP7 all programmes 206 Moroccan institutions have participated and submitted 156 projects of which 22 projects were selected by the Europeen Commission.

A new strategy of the Moroccan National Information Point is to work with a restricted group of scientists whose potential is real instead of wanting to reach as much as possible researhers. But it is difficult to judge who is part of the top of Moroccan research. The biggest bonus for Morocco from FP1 to FP6 participation is to have seen 130 research institutes collaborate in 98 EU funded projects with an average of 3 to 4 researchers per research project.

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