Goal 4

Capacity building

The LMI Cosysmed actively supports training in and through research by the environmental and societal challenges facing the southern Mediterranean Basin and Tunisia in particular. The degree (master’s, doctorate) and post-doctoral training which was at the heart of phase 1 of the LMI will continue to be promoted, but without specific funding by the LMI. A watch on job offers and post-docs at national and international level will be installed on the LMI website.

We will continue to organize summer schools, workshops and Lecture-Courses which will be regularly given with the involvement of Researchers and Teacher-Researchers from partner laboratories and Universities in the South and North. In this context, the UNESCO/International Hydrological Program MEDFRIEND program, piloted by HSM, offers support for training workshops on regional themes, including the Coastal Eco hydrology theme, coordinated by INSTM. This program will support and contribute to training activities organized by LMI partners, while opening up interactions to a regionally expanded community.

Teachings

The training schools that were provided during phase 1 to a specialized scientific public, in particular students from the various doctoral courses, have been very successful. This is why we will continue on this path with the work of the various LMI partners. The targeted themes are modeling, eco toxicology, analytical tools, biotechnology and environmental bioremediation. It seems necessary to us to give a regional dimension (on the scale of the Maghreb countries and French-speaking Africa) to the thematic schools and workshops. This can be done in particular at the level of the choice of speakers and calls for candidates.

Faced with the difficulty of creating a Master’s course encountered during phase 1, we are going to set up a MOOC providing training in applied ecology and aquatic eco toxicology directed towards Tunisian institutions but also with a regional scope. This MOOC, highlighting a theoretical and practical aspect, will be based on the expertise of the various LMI partners and will focus on issues encountered in southern Mediterranean ecosystems and dealing with their specificities. It will be based on the main results or textbook cases treated by the LMI CosysMed in the various workshop sites, in particular the lagoon of Bizerte and the Gulf of Gabes.

LMI researchers will also be able to contribute to the Master’s in Water at the University of Montpellier, which offers a Water and Coastal Master’s course, which can accommodate Tunisian students. The topics taught concern water management in the coastal area, coastal environments and coastal risks, coastal development, coastal and sea economy, coastal and sea environment law.

Promoting the employment of doctoral students

Well-targeted actions will be put in place to promote the employment of doctoral and postdoctoral students to overcome institutional recruitment difficulties. A support action will be set up to help doctoral students and postdoctoral students to create study offices in environmental expertise or start-ups in aquatic biotechnology (algoculture, bioremediation, coastal biomonitoring, etc.). Support for young researchers will also target training to learn i) how to communicate and exchange their research with managers, non-academic institutions and the general / public and ii) writing articles and publishing scientific journals in English language.

The first aspect must serve young researchers to establish partnerships between the world of research on one side and public institutions and companies on the other side. Public communication operations can be organized, for example, at the City of Sciences or at the French Institute of Tunis (IFT). Training in article writing and editing can be carried out through the preparation of thematic sections or special issues of scientific journals. Capacity building to better communicate science in academic and non-academic contexts will be assets for young researchers as well as for CREM.

Strengthening analytical skills

Emphasis will be placed on strengthening the analytical capacities of technical staff in chemical metrology with the aim of mastering most chemical analyzes in the marine environment, biomarkers and the preparation and validation of sediment reference materials. We will also target capacity building for experimental platforms working on the coastal and marine environment at the level of existing laboratories within partner institutions.

Interactions with civil society

Exchanges between LMI CosysMed scientists and non-academic partners will be reinforced by discussion days, where researchers will be able to place the results of their research in a more applied context and discuss societal issues with non-academic partners. For example, LMI CosysMed scientists will be able to make their expertise and skills available to contribute to the success of the “Integrated Depollution of Bizerte” program (Program to reduce water and ecosystem pollution in the region of the Bizerte lagoon and on the Mediterranean coast, in the process of starting up). They will also be able to put their expertise at the service of other issues concerning the Gulf of Tunis, the coast of Sfax and the Gulf of Gabes.

In line with the creation of the CREM and because of its wide range of expertise, the LMI must constitute an important force of proposal in terms of the match between academic training and professionalization in the field of marine environmental sciences in Tunisia.

a.  Transversal Objectives
Design and proposal for the creation of a marine environment reference center (CREM)

The CREM must be consistent with national and European policy on the preservation and health of the marine environment in the Mediterranean, but also in other marine areas. It will be able to provide a relevant contribution to the European strategy via the BlueMed initiative, Blue Economy (H2020) and must be open to collaboration with different actors, not only scientists but also managers and civil society.

The CREM may have the following mission : 

  • Share knowledge with all stakeholders (researchers, fishermen, aqua culturists, managers, local residents, etc.) to promote sustainable development of the marine environment through participatory science
  • Disseminate the results of innovative research carried out within CREM
  • Provide technical and scientific support to managers and civil society
  • Offer support to decision-makers for the definition and implementation of legislation that respects the environment and is favorable to human health and the various ecosystem services provided by the marine environment.

For the implementation of this CREM, the LMI COSYS-Med proposes, in its phase 2, the production of a white paper whose objectives will be to draw up an inventory of the current situation in the marine field, to detect shortcomings observed in terms of scientific collaboration between organizations and to encourage the various stakeholders to work in a network. It will propose strategies and actions to remove the main obstacles and progress in knowledge and applications in the field of marine sciences.

It will aim to serve the Tunisian scientific community so that it can organize itself, cooperate and pool human and material resources to implement the strategies identified with the support of national and international programs. This white paper will be based in particular on the model of the initiative which was recently coordinated by the National Institute of Meteorology (INM) to promote collaborative research of excellence in the fields of “Meteorology-Climate- Oceanography-Hydrology-Society”.

Ensure regional and international visibility

COSYS-Med being the first LMI on the marine domain in the Mediterranean, the objective of this transverse axis will be to widen its network of influence to ensure regional and international visibility for the future CREM. For this, participation in international programs (H2020) will be encouraged during phase 2 with the setting up of thematic workshops bringing together LMI partners with international and regional partners, relying in particular on the collaborations already established through projects carried out within the framework of various European programs (JP OCEAN PLASTOX, MEDJELLYRISK, MEDCOT, H2020 CLAIM, etc.).

These thematic workshops will be supported by the IRD seed fund. This fund makes it possible to support, very early on, development projects with a partner and to help set up projects, including through participation in the co-financing of a consortium. Similarly, the LMI COSYS-Med will join scientific networks in the region and beyond to exchange and mobilize skills around marine themes (see part 7 of the project).

The FRIEND program -Flow Regimes from International and Experimental Network Data-is a framework action of the International Hydrological Program of UNESCO. It is currently carried by HSM for its Mediterranean component. It offers support for regional scientific activities – workshops, conferences, training – oriented towards a multidisciplinary approach to societal issues related to water, from the continent to the coast. HSM also carries the SICMED program of the MISTRALS/INSU-CNRS meta-program, as well as the transversal action Climate Change, which participates in the structuring of the international community.

The LMI will promote the emergence of a structured community in North Africa on the study of hydro-sedimentary transfers and associated contaminants from the continent to the coast. Collaborations will be established with the Center for Research on Water, Renewable Resources and Sustainable Development of the University Mohammed V in Rabat, which has been operating for over a year, which has become an essential institutional partner in the Moroccan landscape, and open to regional collaborations.

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