The European Commission and the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology recently co-hosted a two-day scientific and research event to pave the way for expanding Iran-European Union (EU) cooperation between higher education institutions, research institutes and other organisations through the EU's higher education and research and innovation programmes, Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020.
Among the high-level Iranian representatives attending the event were His Excellency Dr Hossein Salar Amoli, Acting Minister for International Scientific Cooperation; His Excellency Dr Mohsen Asadi Lari, Acting Minister for International Scientific Cooperation of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education; His Excellency Ali Morteza Birang, Deputy for International Cooperation of the Office of Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology and His Excellency Dr Mojtaba Shariati Niasar, Deputy for Education, from the Ministry of Science, Research & Technology, who were joined by a number of Iranian university rectors and vice rectors.
European Commission participants included high-level officials from its Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, the EU Joint Research Centre and the European Research Council Executive Agency. They were joined by rectors, vice rectors and representatives of higher education institutions from 21 European countries.
The first day of the event focused on higher education in science, technology and research and opportunities available under the Horizon 2020 programme. This included thematic workshops on different topics, as well as mobility grants for researchers such as the European Research Council grants and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.
The second day was dedicated to exchanging ideas and best practices, as well as exploring the opportunities for Iran-EU cooperation between higher education institutions, including under the European Union's flagship education programme Erasmus+. This included Capacity Building in Higher Education, International Credit Mobility, Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degrees and Jean Monnet activities.
Presentations by academics and alumni from both sides provided first-hand insights and perspectives of the benefits to be gained from involvement in these actions.
To promote cooperation between the EU and Iranian institutions, sessions also took place on both days to allow university officials and academics themselves the opportunity to network.
Université de Rennes 1 was represented and participated in the event. Université de Rennes 1 and Iranian researchers are already involved in joint research projects, for example in geosciences, signal processing and biomedical engineering.
This successful two-day event is a positive first step towards further cooperation in the future.