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El Manar University (UTM), in Tunis, houses 11 faculties. The CNRS and Tunisia signed their first scientific cooperation agreement in 1975, initiating a long- lasting tradition of exchange. “Until very recently, Tunisia had the largest contingent of foreign doctoral students in French laboratories, despite its relatively small population,” explains Arnaud Lalo, CNRS representative for the Mediterranean region. “The flow of scientific talent between our two countries accounts for the fact that Tunisia is our first partner for co-publications in Africa or the Middle East.” This intense activity has paved the way for more structured initiatives. As a first step in this direction, a visit to the country in March gave CNRS officials the opportunity to meet with scientific partners, and to appreciate the high quality of research in Tunisia. Two International Associated Laboratories (LIA) have anchored the relationship. The first, LOTAMP,1 was active from 2006-2013, and conducted advanced molecular research, especially on plasmas. The second, LIRA-T,2 is still operational and its expertise in the chemical analysis of organic and molecular substances has important industrial and health applications. The CNRS also has a significant presence in Tunisia through the IRMC,3 which studies the Maghreb from a social science perspective including law, economics, geography, and urban studies. Expanding joint research structures can now include new disciplines, such as engineering and information technology, but also engage in a broad, interdisciplinary approach that studies the area from multiple angles. For example, the CNRS initiated MISTRALS,4 an international project in NEWSWIRE Tunisia. New collaborations strengthen the long-standing relationship between the CNRS and its main partner in the region. BY ARBY GHARIBIAN which, together with Tunisia, it coordinates research with partners across the Mediterranean to grasp changing environmental mechanisms. These joint efforts have involved satellites and airplanes for measurements, and the development of a network of environmental observatories. Disciplines such as anthropology and demography complement environmental science to provide a global insight into the impact of human activity on the environment. Similar initiatives are also being taken by the CNRS and Tunisia at the European level thanks to the ERANETMED5 research program, launched by the European Commission. Coordination efforts help ensure research coherence and avoid fragmentation among the dozens of participating countries, with the aim of tackling crucial issues such as renewable energy and water resource management. “Through cooperation and capacity development,” adds Lalo, “we are building on existing relationships to pursue mutually beneficial projects.” ii The Sousse Technology Park is home to mechanics, electronics, and related IT companies. 1. Laboratoire Orsay-Tunis sur les atomes, molécules, plasmas (CNRS / Université Paris-Sud / MESRS / LSAMA-Université de Tunis El Manar). 2. Laboratoire international de recherche analytique (CNRS / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 / MESRS and INRAP in Tunisia). 3. Institut de recherche sur le Maghreb contemporain (CNRS / Ministère français des Affaires étrangères). 4. Mediterranean Integrated Studies at Regional and Local Scales. 5. Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation through ERANET. © PIXEL DRONE TECHNOLOGIES 41 SPRING 2015 N° 37 Forty Years and Going Strong arnaud.lalo@cnrs-dir.fr © EL MANAR UNIVERSITY


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