Libyan universities: from the definition of a research agenda to the creation of national synergies
2023 has been a very intense year for Libyan universities.
Within the framework of the IBTIKAR project, Libyan colleagues have:
- Traveled to Lecce for a visit to the University of Salento
- Traveled to Istanbul for a visit to Bogazici University
- Identified their institutional Research priorities
- Defined a strategic Research Agenda to outline the priority research areas to be developed in each Libyan university, the objectives and desired impacts, with the overall aim of outlining a strategy for the growth of the Libyan research environment.
- Took part in a dedicated training targeting administrative staff, to reinforce their transversal competences in communication of research, management of international initiatives, fundraising and technology transfer.
Libyan universities have a large potential to improve both fundamental and applied research, and the IBTIKAR project tried to offer an answer to the need to design specific Institutional Research Agenda on the basis of the shared action that brings research to socio-economic stakeholders. It is the first time that Libyan universities are asked to perform such a reflection, and to link the institutional strategic plan with the objectives of scientific research, in a scenario that starts from the single institution to go beyond, and structure a Libyan research arena. Among the priorities identified by the universities, we can mention renewable energy, health-related research and climate change, and the recent drama that occurred in Derna has highlighted one more time the need to orient and support scientific research for the benefit of the society.
The process has been challenging, and full of bumps. However, the value is not only in the result itself. Instead, also in the participative and collaborative approach put in place by the Libyan colleagues.
The IBTIKAR Research Agenda aims to become a Roadmap, defined by the universities themselves, aiming to identify strategic objectives, prioritize efforts, and a number of targeted actions to realize the research vision and improve scientific research.
Finally, it is fundamental to build a network with the international research community to enable the scientific growth of individuals and the whole academic structure.
After the definition of the Research Agenda , Libyan universities will work in 2024:
- On the delivery of local trainings and information sessions, with the overall scope of widening the participation of staff members in the research endeavors, defining shared means and approaches to improve scientific research, promoting a participatory approach, supporting the ownership of the acquired results on behalf of the Libyan academic community, generating inter-institutional collaborations.
- On piloting research and research-related activities, generating synergies at multiple levels (institutional, national and international), making use of the newly acquired competences and equipment, in order to contribute to achieving the goals of their institutional Research Agenda.
- On the drafting of a high-level document, the White Paper, functioning as a strategic statement by the Libyan universities directed to the national decision-makers. The document will be the result of a stakeholder consultation through a bottom-up process, in which Libyan Universities, supported by EU partners, tackle the issues raised in the Research Agenda and define a more political and strategic reflection, including a number of recommendations.
This is what awaits Libyan universities in 2024 and beyond.
The Research and Consultation Centers will be at the core of the Libyan institutional developments, in a more connected national research environment.
As for the definition of the Research Agenda, collaborative work among Libyan partners will be a key element of success, both at institutional level for the piloting of research activities and at national level with the definition of the White paper.