Under the program "Academy and Industry Partnership- Support and Cooperation of Higher Education Institutions in Germany", a Palestinian Delegation concludes its visit to the German State of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), organized and sponsored by Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Jerusalem (FNF).
The delegation, comprised of Academy staff, representatives of the Palestinian Biological, Chemical and Agricultural Societies as well as representatives of the Palestinian Federation of Industries and the Palestinian Food Industry Union and FNF Staff, conducted the study tour in July 6-13, 2019, during which the successful German model of collaboration, partnership and mutual support between higher education institutions, government and the private sector was introduced.
The visit program aimed to familiarize the delegates with German system and expertise in the process of
- Financing scientific research by the government and private sector
- Research cooperation between educational institutions and the private sector
- Academia and industry as partners - the relationship between higher education and labor market needs (employability)
- Tasks and role of German research institutions
- Potential cooperation between institutions in Palestine and the German counterparts
The first day of the visit program included an introduction on the governmental system of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Constitution and the role of science and research in German economy, and the forms of federal support for science and research. On the second day, the delegation visited Juelich Research Center (FZJ) in Juelich, where they were introduced to the research program and its impact on German technological development, with an elaboration example on the partnership between FZJ and RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, and afterwards received a tour of some of the research facilities in the Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics and Analytics by Prof. Ghaleb Al Natour, the Head of the Institute. Afterwards, the delegation met with the Palestinian German Science Bridge student scholars at the center. This was followed by a visit to RWTH Aachen University's Entrepreneurship Center; RWTH Innovation, to learn about their model of "Research to Business Implementation", which included information on their research cooperation with the private sector, strategic partnerships and third party financing of scientific research.
The following day involved an introduction on the engagement and activities of the host organization, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, in the region of NRW. The delegation then visited the State Chancellery in Dusseldorf, where they elaborated on the relationship between Palestine and the NRW State. This was followed by a visit to the State Parliament, where the Vice President gave a talk about the involvement of NRW politics in promoting technological development in the NRW. Afterwards at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of NRW, the delegation was introduced to the Ministry's Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of State Program. Then the Ministry of Science and Culture of the state of NRW was visited for exploring the potential options for cooperation between NRW and Palestine, as presented by the Research Promotion and Policy Group and the International Cooperation Unit at the Ministry.
On the fourth day, the Max Planck Institute, Plant Breeding Research Unit was visited in Cologne, to learn about their research in plant development while exploring the facilities, followed by a visit to the City Council, to learn about how local politics impact the academic institutions in Cologne. The following day, the delegation visited the Federal Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (BMBF) in Bonn, where they learned about the existing cooperation programs between the BMBF and Palestine, presented by the Ministry's Department of Cooperation with Africa and the Middle East, who also expressed their satisfaction with the existing scientific cooperation with Palestine, and This was followed by a visit to the German Research Foundation (DFG), to learn about their research funding activities in the international context, and the impact of the dual academic education. Afterwards, the delegation went to the Digital Hub Bonn, which is a business incubator and accelerator center, which introduced some of the their activities, incubation process and facility, while presenting some of their funded startups.
On the sixth and last tour day, the delegation visited Baykomm Center in Leverkusen, which is the Communication Center of the pharmaceutical giant, Bayer, and learned about agrochemistry research done at the company and its versatile applications. Another start-up incubator center was toured afterwards, Probierwerk Leverkusen, and a couple of their startups presented their companies and activities as an example of the critical networking between science and business. The topic was explored further at the Cologne University of Applied Science, located at Leverkusen's Chem Park, which is a large area encompassing pharmaceutical chemical plants.