Aix-Marseille University is deploying its international strategy with a particular focus on the Europe-Mediterranean-Africa axis. This strategic orientation is translated by an ambition: to take into account the scientific challenges specific to the region, to rely on bilateral cooperation, networks (cf. the network of Euro-Mediterranean universities TETHYS) and structuring actions (European programmes). Two Erasmus+ capacity building projects, initiated by the Téthys network, have just been completed, enabling us to contribute to the strengthening of the Mediterranean higher education and research area.
As part of its Mediterranean strategy, AMU has promoted several thematic networks around scientific issues and challenges such as climate (Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change), law (Ecole Doctorale des Juristes Méditerranéens), or Mediterranean studies .... Alongside these thematic networks, TETHYS, of which AMU is a founding member, is an institutional network of great originality.
It was in the context of the Barcelona Conference that the TETHYS network was created on 28 January 2000 to contribute to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in the field of higher education and research, with the aim of ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the region. TETHYS currently comprises more than 60 universities from 19 countries and brings together the main universities in the Maghreb, the Mashreq and Southern Europe. This partnership makes it possible to undertake large-scale actions, with the support of national and European programmes, for the benefit of young people on both sides of the Mediterranean. In the Mediterranean, as at the global level, universities must be vectors of development, mobility and innovation.
Two structuring and innovative European projects, SATELIT and EUNIT, led by AMU and coordinated by the TETHYS cluster, closed in October 2019.
The SATELIT project (Academic Solutions for the Euro-Mediterranean Territory Leader of Innovation and Technological Transfers of Excellence) is an ERASMUS+ capacity building project with 21 partners (universities, ministries, chambers of commerce, public bodies...), within the Mediterranean basin (Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Morocco and Tunisia).
The main objective of this project was to strengthen the capacities of Maghreb partner universities in innovation, technology transfer and research valorisation, so that they become pilot universities in their respective countries. SATELIT made it possible to propose solutions at the local level (exchange of good practices), at the national level (transfer of skills), at the Mediterranean level (creation of a regional pole), by mobilising the living forces and key actors of the territory. In particular, it has helped to set up six technology transfer offices in Morocco and Algeria as well as a MOOC on the theme of innovation, with the aim of contributing to improving the professionalisation of doctoral students and the employability of young graduates.
The Capacity Building project "EUNIT, European project desigN and management in the South MediTerranean region" is a joint project designed by the TETHYS network, with 16 partners. Coordinated by AMU, it also ended in October 2019 after three years of funding. It responded to the priority of Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the South-East Mediterranean, particularly in Jordan, Lebanon and Libya. The overall objective of the project was to enable HEIs in the partner countries to build sustainable international partnerships and maximise their internationalisation efforts. Training of trainers programmes and practical training courses were carried out in 2017; these measures enabled the eight partners to acquire the necessary skills to set up and manage project development and management units.
A flagship event brought together more than 100 people in Jordan: it was the first training course on European programmes open to a group of universities outside the consortium; it was given by people trained through the project; a good example of the impact and dissemination of the programme (https://www.eunitproject.eu/events/the-regional-eunit-network-launch-conference-and-1st-external-training-session/).
Through the TETHYS network, AMU is thus developing concrete projects based on academic values and knowledge sharing. Each year, all the universities of the network meet in a general assembly held in a different country. This event is an opportunity to present actions, organize exchanges and invite partner institutions: European Union and UPM, academic networks and associations, international organizations (World Bank, Blue Plan) ... In 2020, The next General Assembly of the Téthys Network will be hosted by Aix-Marseille University from 7 to 9 April 2020.This edition will be special because it will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Network!