In May 2023, over 80 Libyan academic staff members traveled between Italy and Turkey to participate in the vertical training visits organized by the IBTIKAR project.
The vertical training visits were planned to continue the training of Libyan academics and researchers, after the Horizontal skills training week in Tunis, going more in detail in the implementation of research activities at the European universities. Libyan colleagues attended seminars and workshops, but most importantly had the chance to visit different laboratories and plants where researchers in the two universities perform their activities.
From May 8th to May 11th, Libyan academics were hosted in Lecce, Italy, by the University of Salento. The week focused on a wide variety of topics, ranging from atmospheric pollution to nanotechnology, from engineering to innovative learning, from maritime research to digital technology for research. The participants also visited the EUMER European Maritime & Environmental Research plant, the Aquatina Basin and Aquaculture Research Center, and a number of engineering labs. They also hold a visit to the CNR Nanotech labs, including a mobile lab station for collecting samples for research on pollution.
From May 15th to May 18th, Libyan academics were in Istanbul, at the premises of Boğaziçi University. The focus was mostly on environmental related fields, waste management, renewable energies, coastal zone management, and more. Most interestingly, due to the recent events in Istanbul, a visit was also organized to the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, which allowed Libyan colleagues to experience more than just a lab.
The great value of the visits was to actually see how researchers work, learn about the different instruments they use, how they involve students and how the outcomes of their research is valued in the university and beyond. Many informal connections were made, conversations over common interests, improvised visits out of an unexpected curiosity and laughs over a dinner table. The IBTIKAR project, besides the overall objectives to reach, has the significant merit of having academics sharing ideas, imagining how to benefit from each other’s knowledge and experiences, and we have already seen the outcomes of these exchanges, in the form of new practices adopted by Libyan universities or plans of joint activities.