“DIRASA comes at the right moment when the Tunisian higher education system is facing a reform process and transition phase towards a better performance of the University, both in teaching and in research, to improve its autonomy at the institutional level.”
Hmaid Ben Aziza, UNIMED Secretary General and former Rector of the University of Tunis
The DIRASA Project, a three-year Capacity Building project funded by the European Union, kicked off in Sfax, Tunisia on April 27-28, 2023. The project aims to improve the governance of university research in Tunisia by promoting dialogue and scientific cooperation between the actors of the Tunisian national research system.
Coordinated by the University of Sfax, the project involves 13 Tunisian public universities, the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education (MESRS), the National Agency for the Advancement of Scientific Research (ANPR), and European partners.
During the launch meeting prof. Abdelwahid Mokni, President of the University of Sfax – coordinator of the project- stated that the DIRASA Project mainly aims to develop the scientific research system and its governance in a way that embodies the social role of the university and knowledge-based development service.
As highlighted by Marcello Scalisi, UNIMED Director, the role of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and partnership is pivotal in achieving a better scientific research strategy and reinforcing its dynamics. In this sense, Mr Scalisi added, the DIRASA Project is a key initiative and it has the potential to significantly contribute to the development of scientific research in Tunisia.
“DIRASA comes at the right moment when the Tunisian higher education system is facing a reform process and transition phase towards a better performance of the University, both in teaching and in research, to improve its autonomy at the institutional level”. The project brings the legacy of the SAGESSE project which contributed to enhancing the dialogue between the Ministry and universities, strengthening the relationship among the 13 public universities in Tunisia, to ensure a better quality of teaching and learning through the adoption of new quality assurance mechanisms and through strategic planning at institution level.
“DIRASA is part of the strategic ambition of efficiency, performance, visibility, autonomy, and positioning of Tunisian research in a worldwide perspective,” said Hmaid Ben Aziza, UNIMED Secretary General and former Rector of the University of Tunis. “Research can save the country, but it is the synergy of efforts, it is the collective that can carry out the reforms.”
The Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education through its national strategy is willing to support the reform process of the university research governance in Tunisia by adopting a new shared governance and connecting the research to the economic needs and priorities of the Tunisian society.
The DIRASA Project will focus on four main areas:
- Strengthening the capacity of strategic monitoring and scientific foresight process
- Enhancing the visibility of university research at local, national, regional, and international levels
- Developing interactions between research and the socioeconomic environment
- Highlighting the new technologies in higher education that are needed for the development of the higher education sector and for its links with society
The project will be implemented through a series of activities, including:
- Capacity building and training workshops for university leaders and academic and administrative staff from the Tunisian universities
- Networking events between Tunisian and European researchers
- Dissemination of good practices in university research governance
- Support for the development of new research initiatives
- The creation of a strategic and monitoring unit in each Tunisian University to foresight research priorities, setting and formulating research agenda
- Creation of a Network of 6 Scientific Thematic Groups based on the main research priorities in synergy with society’s needs.
The DIRASA Project is a major step forward for Tunisian higher education and research. The project is expected to improve the governance of university research, enhance the visibility of Tunisian research, and promote cooperation between Tunisian and European researchers.
To read the first Press Release please click here.