The goal of the PSF Specific Support to Tunisia – implemented by a team of independent European R&I policy experts – is to provide external advice and operational recommendations to the Tunisian authorities on possible reforms to undertake in the context of the ongoing restructuring of the national R&I system. The experts will focus on the following areas: (i) Policy mechanisms to promote private participation in R&D and strengthen public-private cooperation in research, and (ii) development of a methodology for defining research priorities – combining bottom-up consultation processes with top-down defined priorities – and of a smart specialisation policy focused on the most relevant areas.
The Tunisian government requested specific support from the PSF, as a basis for improving the definition of research priorities and promoting private participation in research and development. The PSF panel of four independent experts supported by two national peers worked from March to December 2018, including two missions to Tunisia to consult stakeholders and discuss potential recommendations. This final report was formally presented to the Tunisian government and stakeholder community in Tunis during September 2019. The PSF panel identified three key policy messages that underpin thirteen more detailed recommendations: Set up the right conditions for enabling effective R&I policy development. Strengthen synergies and coordination across R&I stakeholders and funding flows around well-selected priorities. Foster the engagement and performance of all key operators of the innovation ecosystem through well-designed incentives and support tools.
Tunisia is looking to develop a more robust research and innovation (R&I) system underwritten by framework conditions with clear priorities to promote greater private-sector participation. Experts from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility (PSF) answered the government’s request for support. Their final report, Research priorities and private participation in R&D, contributes to Tunisia’s turnaround story.
Le gouvernement tunisien a demandé un soutien spécifique de la part du PSF, en vue d’améliorer la définition des priorités de recherche et de promouvoir la participation privée à la recherche et au développement. Le panel PSF, composé de quatre experts indépendants et de deux homologues nationaux, a travaillé de mars à décembre 2018, avec notamment deux missions en Tunisie pour consulter les parties prenantes et discuter des recommandations éventuelles.
This background report for the H2020 Specific Support to Tunisia focuses on describing the key characteristics of the research and innovation (R&I) system in Tunisia, its key actors and governance structure and policies.
The Specific Support to Tunisia started with a discussion on its two main focus areas – business participation in R&D activities and defining research priorities – and the schedule for a series of fact-finding visits to the country. The PSF team includes independent European R&I policy experts from Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland.
In this first PSF Specific Support action for an EU-associated country outside Europe, the panel of policy experts and peers from other countries met a range of stakeholders in the Tunisian R&I system, from public administration and research organisations to the private sector. The mission allowed the panel to look at the status of public-private R&D cooperation in the country and discuss potential policy instruments for fostering such collaboration, as well as the processes involved in the design of Tunisia’s national research priorities to facilitate their appropriation by stakeholders.
The expert panel met research and innovation stakeholders from the public and private sectors during this second visit to Tunisia. It was an opportunity to discuss the panel's preliminary findings and recommendations with the Tunisian authorities, as well as to undertake additional interviews with the R&I community in the country. This helped the experts to refine and complete their assessment on how to strengthen public-private cooperation in research and to improve the definition of research priorities.
During this final meeting of the PSF Specific Support to Tunisia, the expert panel discussed the findings of the second round of interviews in the country, drew its final conclusions and sharpened its recommendations for the Tunisian authorities to promote research-industry cooperation in the country and strengthen the definition and implementation of the national research priorities.
The final event of this PSF Specific Support action, the first for an EU-associated country outside Europe, allowed the panel of policy experts and peers to present its findings and recommendations. A range of stakeholders in the Tunisian R&I system attended, and discussed the panel’s ideas on how to promote private sector participation & cooperation in R&D and how to set research priorities.