In collaboration with Juelich Research Center, Germany, the Academy concludes the 4th Cooperation Workshop of the Palestinian German Science Bridge (PGSB), sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The Palestinian German Science Bridge Program -PGSB, which is a Joint Research and Education Program, is coordinated and implemented by the Academy and Juelich Research Center (FZJ), and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF.
The workshop took place from April 7-11, 2019 at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Ramallah, in conjunction with Al Aqsa University, Gaza via videoconference. Following two years of PGSB operation, the workshop objectives were focused on evaluating the cooperation in the context of the Bridge program, discussing progress and future outlook, forming new and strengthening existing research collaborations, expert meetings between scientific collaborators, reporting of scientific results and ongoing projects, and evaluating new applicants to the program.
The formal opening of the workshop was attended by representatives of the Palestinian and German Ministries of Education, the Chairman of Juelich, Palestinian university presidents, directors and deans of research centers in Palestine and Germany, and researchers and interested people from the Palestinian universities and German research institutes.
In his opening remark, Academy President Prof. Marwan Awartani reviewed the different programs implemented by the Academy over the past year, in addition to the outputs and achievements of the Palestinian German Science Bridge, and the importance of the effective cooperation the Academy is coordinating between Juelich and the Palestinian universities. In turn, Dr. Ihab Qubbaj, Minister Deputy Assistant for Higher Education, stressed the important role the bridge is playing in transferring knowledge and building the Palestinian scientific capacities and enhancing scientific and research cooperation between Germany and Palestine. He also emphasized the effective role played by the Academy in strengthening the scientific research system at the local and international levels.
On the other hand, the spokeswoman for the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Dr. Katharina Gatzsche, commended the cooperation, achievements and progress of the Science Bridge that exceeded the expectations, and confirmed the Ministry's support for the program. Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt, Chairman of Juelich, also praised the success of the program and that of its participants, especially the Palestinian researchers' rapid integration into the German research environment and the impressive outcomes they have registered through their research at Juelich. In a related context, Eng. Adnan Samara, President of the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence, also addressed the importance of the cooperation with the German Government through the collaboration between Juelich and the Academy, and the importance of the complementary roles of all the Palestinian Institutions active in the fields of knowledge, research and innovation, and in line with this, he mentioned that the Higher Council will sign a cooperation agreement with the Academy to strengthen the mutual and complementary roles and collaborations.
Prof. Ghaleb Natour, the founder of PGSB and the Director of the Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics at Juelich, also commended the quality and excellence of the Palestinian participants in the bridge, and the satisfaction of their Juelich supervisors with their work and research outcomes.
Success stories and collaborative research outcomes
During the workshop, groups of researchers from Juelich and their Palestinian research partners in specific fields presented their quality research projects, which represent the success stories of the German-Palestinian Science Bridge program and the effective joint cooperation units established.
The joint research project between Dr. Jurgen Dammers at Juelich and Dr. Ahmad Hasasneh at Palestine Ahliya University College, part the Palestinian German Neuroscience Unit, resulted in the first publication to come out of the Bridge, "Deep Learning Approach for Automatic Classification of Ocular and Cardiac Artifacts in MEG Data".
New cooperation opportunities and applicant evaluations
On the second day of the workshop, supervisors from Juelich presented the case for new collaborative research opportunities in particle and nuclear physics, and nuclear chemistry, and discussed the challenges in the development of scientific devices and equipment as an area of research. This was followed by progress reports and presentations on the ongoing collaborative projects in the fields of technical sciences, plant and geosciences and neurosciences and life sciences.
The focus of the third day of the workshop was on poster presentations and evaluation sessions of the shortlisted applicants to the forth call of the PGSB program, in addition to networking sessions for the participants and the newly associated scientists.
High level management meeting
The workshop included a high level management meeting on the first day, to discuss ways of developing and strengthening the infrastructure of scientific research in Palestine, and to learn about the various forms of cooperation carried out by Juelich at both local and international levels, and specifically reviewing the case of the German-Georgian Science Bridge and the possibility of benefiting from this experience in Palestine. Additionally, the experience of An Najah National University with Doctoral programs in Palestine was showcased by Dr. Ali Abdelhamid. The meeting included presentations about Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), Jordan, and the new possibilities of scientific collaboration by Dr. Kamal Alaraj, Vice Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, and Dr. Giorgio Paolucci, Scientific Director of SESAME.
The participants agreed on the need to establish a Palestinian research center jointly with Juelich and under the umbrella of the Academy, to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the bilateral cooperation, to serve all local institutions working in science, technology, engineering, environment, energy, health and agriculture research, to provide researchers with the opportunity to continue their research, and benefit from their transferred knowledge back to Palestine. There was also a consensus on the need to develop joint doctoral and post-doctoral programs between Palestinian and German universities in priority fields.
A business meeting comprising of the Academy President and members, PGSB Advisory and steering committee members and Juelich Supervisors, also took place on the third day of the workshop and addressed "PGSB and beyond- Plans and perspectives for follow-up activities"
The workshop in related links (Arabic)