IN Focus

EU-funded project to connect applied research to business needs concludes

EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana speaks at a ceremony in Amman on Sunday to mark the conclusion of the second phase of the Support to Research, Technological Development and Innovation project (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The second phase of a long-term EU-funded project to support applied research in Jordan and involve the private sector in identifying research needs concluded this week with an event showcasing its achievements, according to the organisers.
Monday marks the last day of a three-day event celebrating the conclusion of the second phase of the Support to Research, Technological Development and Innovation (SRTD II) in Jordan project.
The initiative, implemented by the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST), has awarded 62 grants for applied research and commercialisation in “four key sectors”: water, energy, food and health, according to a statement released by the SRTD II team.
The project also worked to promote the integration of Jordan into the “European Research Area” through the Horizon 2020 programme, the statement said.
The overarching objective of SRTD II was to “increase the contribution of Jordan’s research and technological development and innovation sectors” to the Kingdom’s economic growth and employment.
It specifically sought to commercialise research and development results to be utilised by the private sector.
As part of this week’s activities to celebrate the project’s conclusion, which opened on Saturday, organisers also marked the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, with Sunday evening dedicated to awarding cash prizes to leading research projects by young women.
“As we marked this week the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I want to congratulate the ladies in the room today on their significant achievements in their fields — I also wish to encourage young aspiring girls to pursue the noble art of science,” EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana said in a speech delivered on Sunday morning.
Highlighting the EU’s commitment to supporting research and innovation in Jordan, Fontana said “innovation is the heart of economic and social development”, stressing the need to build strong links between science and business.
The ambassador noted that the SRTD II worked to offer grants to promote applied research conducted by universities and the private sector.
Partnering with 10 universities and one chamber of industry, the project has also established 11 technology transfer offices in research and business organisations in Jordan, Fontana said, according to a copy of his speech.
“This is not the end of the journey for our researchers, and it is also definitely not the end of our partnership in this important area,” he added.
HCST Secretary General Khalid Shraideh said at Sunday’s event that  the SRTD II provided grants to 42 researchers in applied research and 20 in commercialisation, with up to 25,000 euros awarded to each.
Highlighting some of the project’s achievements, he noted that the number of registered patents has increased, as well as the number of scientific papers published.
“I would like to thank the EU for financially supporting this project, which is of vital importance for the capacity building of the Jordanian research and innovation society,” Shraideh added.
Commending the project’s approach, Iyad Abu Haltam, board member of the Amman Chamber of Industry, said all “concerned national public and private stakeholders need to plan and initiate new integrated schemes that satisfy the growing needs of Jordanian industries for innovation”.
Monday’s activities are scheduled to bring together Jordanian researchers with technology transfer officers from the EU and Egypt involved in the Horizon 2020 initiative.
Researchers will be able to present their projects to the officers, who will be able to help connect them with interested businesses.
Jordan Times
February 12, 2017