Supporting the development of research infrastructure in Tunisia: project DIRASA

Thursday 29 June 2023

Home » Higher Education and Research » Supporting the development of research infrastructure in Tunisia: project DIRASA

Scientific research is a vital tool in understanding and addressing important challenges facing society. It can generate new knowledge, drive innovation and technological advancement, generating new opportunities for economic growth and development. The connection between scientific research and the socio-economic environment ensure the needs of industry are addressed and that research is more inclusive and responsive to the needs of society. By addressing issues such as disease, poverty, and inequality, scientific research can contribute to the development of more equitable and sustainable societies.

For example, partnerships between universities and industry can lead to the development of new technologies that address specific needs in areas such as healthcare, energy, and transportation. Or more: research can help identify factors that contribute to health inequalities and influence policies to improve population health and well-being. New approaches of community-based participatory research create links between researchers and community members to address local issues. Being open to society allows research to target pressing needs, to co-create knowledge and to come with shared (thus sustainable) solutions.

Tunisia holds a nice spot in the rankings of scientific productivity and production in Middle East and North Africa and its structures are recognised at the international level. The country has made significant investments and government supported research institutions and universities with targeted policies, encouraging collaboration between academia, industry, and international partners. However, there is a need for a more effective governance, organisation and management: developing strategic research plans, increasing the capability of collecting financial resources, networking between universities, institutions and research centres, a better communication with potential users of research results, appropriate mechanisms for exploiting research results, … these are all factors which are a necessity for the advancement of scientific research in Tunisia.

To address these deficiencies and unlock the full potential of scientific research in Tunisia, project DIRASA – Définition d’un renouvellement de la gouvernance de la recherche en Tunisie brought together all the 13 Tunisian public universities, the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education (MESRS) and National Agency for the Promotion of Scientific Research to contribute to the improvement of the university research governance in Tunisia by promoting dialogue and scientific cooperation between the actors of the Tunisian national research system. DIRASA aims to strengthen the capacities of strategic monitoring and scientific foresight process through the improvement of the skills of university staff, by enhancing the visibility of university research and by developing interactions between research and the socio-economic environment. The project is a follow-up initiative born from project SAGESSE – Amélioration de la Gouvernance dans le système de l’EnSeignement Supérieur en Tunisie where focus was on improvement of governance, academic and financial autonomy of universities in Tunisia.

The Kick-Off Meeting of the project was held in Sfax on 27-28 April 2023. During the meeting the member of the Consortium – which include also CESIE, UNIMED and 3 European University – shared common visions about the project and defined the working methodology and the management mechanisms to be adopted, as well as their commitments and activities to be performed over the next years. During the meeting, participants took part in an initial enquiry workshop on the state of governance of research and innovation in Tunisian universities.

About the project

DIRASA is a project funded within the Erasmus+, Capacity Building in the field of higher education. Capacity-building projects in the field of higher education are transnational cooperation projects based on multilateral partnerships, between Higher Education Institutions and organisations  from EU Member states or countries associated to the Programme and third countries not associated to the Programme.


For further informations

Read more about DIRASA.

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