Major reforms are underway to further promote the scientific research sector and make the most of its results in the service of the great development goals.
The National High-Level Commission for Science and Technology will assume, in this regard, a key role in implementing these guidelines, co-ordinating between different policies and sectoral programmes in the areas of science and technologies, seeking adapted solutions to boost scientific research activities in promising high-level technological sectors and strengthening innovating projects, particularly in the areas of information and communication technologies, biotechnology, electronics, renewable energy, agriculture and food industries, according to TAP news agency.
The structure’s mission also involves establishing a network of national skills residing abroad and developing partnership with advanced countries, in the areas of science and technologies.
Nearly 830 million dinars will be earmarked in the 2010-2014 period to further improve the performance of the national scientific research system through modernization of basic infrastructure, acquisition of necessary equipment, establishment of three inter-regional poles, in the north, midland and the south of the country, and three public scientific research centers within technological parks as well as the stepping up of efforts to improve the quality of research, guidance of researchers, attraction of Tunisian skills abroad and reinforcement of technological innovation to guarantee adaptation to the latest developments at the international level in this area.
These programmes and projects should help promote the sector’s performance, increase the share of scientific research and technological innovation in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to reach 15% by 2014 and improve the different indicators related to scientific research and technological innovation.
To this end, efforts will be focused in the next period on strengthening the network of research laboratories to reach 200 laboratories in 2014, compared with 147 now, and creating a new category of research groupings to combine the efforts of researchers whose number should reach 22,000.
In the same context and to boost technological parks and enhance their influence, a plan will be set up to make them better known at the international level, to encourage major international companies, international research centers and foreign universities to settle in these poles and boost their relations with the economic and social fabric.
Concurrently, the scientific and technological production will be developed. Patents of creation will raise from 580 now to 650 in 2014 and the number of scientific publications will also increase.
At present, relevant departments are working to expand the network of business incubators and generalize them in engineering colleges, technological institutes and development complexes.
Efforts will focus on stepping up support programmes for young promoters settled in these spaces.
To adjust research programmes to national priorities, the next five-year period will see the consolidation of research programmes, their orientation to development plans and making the most of their results as part of an active partnership between research structures and economic enterprises.
Other priorities set for the next five-year period include the reinforcement of unifying research programmes through the creation of research groups in all areas related to the development strategy. The point is also to better identify areas of research in accordance with an approach that takes into account the national priorities in association with Tunisian researchers settled abroad, foreign expertise and the production sector.
Emphasis will also be placed on the promotion of the quality of research and generalisation of the principle of assessment and accreditation of research structures by backing up the action of the National Committee for Assessment of Scientific Research Activities.
The next five-year period will also be marked by continued efforts to disseminate the culture of research and innovation among young generations.
Technology transfer offices will be generalised in all universities, in addition to establishing an active partnership with associations and involving them in unifying programmes and fostering ties with Tunisian research associations abroad