Middle East- Europe Forum short view

Collaboration in Translational Research for a Sustainable Future

Scheduled for Kish Island on October 19-21, 2018, the Forum sets out to craft a way forward for translational research to promote innovation and solutions in support of prosperity and a sustainable future. Today, countries in the Middle East devote significant effort to research and innovation but, in contrast to the EU, their agendas are fragmented, and mostly with limited impact on key societal issues. At focus here is working out common initiatives to enable universities, researchers and key stakeholders in the two regions to engage in effective collaboration in support of future prosperity and sustainable development. Part of the task has to do with strategy how to build a joint platform for addressing climate change, the restoration of ecosystems, resilient and dynamic cities, sound governance and the engagement of people in support of sustainable life-style and a circular economy. Meanwhile, in-depth discussions will aim to lay the basis for cross-border match making of research and innovation activities in four areas; urban Issues and solutions, water, renewable energy, and non-communicable disease (NCDs).

The island of Kish while part of the Islamic Republic of Iran, represents a visa-free zone where no taxes are charged. Often referred to as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and the pearl of the Persian Gulf, the Kish Island has an area of 90 square kilometers. Kish Island is the third most-visited vacation destination in Southwest Asia with more than 1.5 million visitors annually. The island is touted as a consumer's paradise, with numerous malls, shopping centers, tourist attractions, and resort hotels. See, e.g. www.economist-com/blogs/pomegran-ate/2014/05/irans-kish-island

Preparations for the event has incorporated a range of inter-regional missions and exchanges, going back at least to 2015, involving actors in both regions. Further, the key themes and issues in focus are recommended by bi-regional scientific advisory boards. With the event the first of its kind, participation is by invitation only. It aims to initiate an inclusive process, however, to achieve a process marked by broad-based participation, by universities, research institutes, research foundations as well as government bodies and private sector organizations throughout the two regions.

The Conference will be hosted by the University of Tehran and Kish Free Zone Organization in collaboration with four other major Iranian universities, Sharif University of Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences and the Iran University of Medical Sciences. The hosting universities aim to establish and strength a network of key decision makers in the science systems of Middle Eastern and European research institutions and find solutions to overcome hurdles for collaboration; incl. institutional, practical and cultural.

While historically a bedrock for science and education, dire consequences result from the current fragmentation of research in the Middle East. It is imperative to shift back and realize genuine opportunities for mutually rewarding cooperation. The conference will bring together actors from European countries such as Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as from the wider Middle East region, e.g., Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

Apart from addressing policy and strategic issues, the event will venture into prospective collaborative activities within the selected research areas. Bringing together decision makers, strategists, research foundations, universities, researchers and practitioners, the meeting represents a unique occasion for overcoming barriers and realizing mutual benefits from collaboration in aspects of research, innovation and education of high shared importance.

For further information: kish.ut.ac.ir/en/Conferences
To be in touch with the team co-ordinating the Forum, please contact: meef.kish@ut.ac.ir,
University of Tehran, Kish International Campus