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Horizon 2020 in TMU Internationalization Conference

TMU Internationalization Conference was held on Wednesday, November 22 at Shaheed Chamran Auditorium.

Referring to the agendas outlined in the Strategic Development Plan of TMU, Dr. Shoja-o-Sadati said: “we have created dramatic changes in recent years after the establishment of international council at the university, but internationalization is a time-consuming process which needs to be carried out gradually. The issue of internationalization should be examined from various aspects, and for the realization of this dream, we have to work hard.

He further added: “to accomplish this mission, we have defined short, medium and long-term objectives. For instance, we have set out to recruit 10 foreign academics during a five year period. As a 10 year goal, we have also envisioned to attract 2.000 foreign students and become one of the top three universities of the region. To successfully raise the status of TMU to the top 200 world universities and achieve 50% increase in the hiring of foreign professors with an emphasis on interdisciplinary fields are among agendas of the 20 year visions of TMU till 2035.

The director of international campus of TMU added: “planning for the establishment of TMU’s international campus began in 2006, and after the necessary regulations and by-laws were ratified, the work officially began in the following year. After the necessary infrastructures were prepared, the international campus began admitting foreign students at master level.

Referring to the students’ admission system in Iran, he attributed the failure of international units to the medium of instruction which is Persian language and holding the entrance exam for admission, whereas the neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf or Turkey which hold the classes in English have been more successful in this regard. Offering scholarship, scientific exchanges, admitting students from different nationalities by applying international standards are some of the central criteria of these campuses.

Dr. Hussein Khani was another speaker at this conference who talked about the strategies and potentials for cooperation with the European Union in the framework of Horizon 2020.

He referred to the European Union’s 20 year research experience and said: interdisciplinary activities of the European Union have a long history in there, for example Marie Currie research project has attracted more than 100.000 researchers from Europe and around the world. And it has created major scientific developments in the world including 8 Nobel laureates and one Oscar winner.

Referring to Vision 2020, the faculty member of Biological Sciences Faculty said: “the program began in 2013 and will continue till 2020. Its main focus is on network. In the modern world, all countries face three phenomena, globalization, science expansion and national security. As we know, part of the national security can be guaranteed through technological and scientific relations with others. Science today cannot be confined inside the national borders, we have to think and act globally”.

He added: “the main mission of Horizon 2020 is its emphasis on the transition of countries’ economy from industrial to knowledge / service-based economy. The current policies are no longer capable of fulfilling modern needs, a new thought based on social-scientific and technological networks will create fundamental changes in societies”.

The dean of modern technologies faculty further referred to the role of new scientific networks and added: “big problems require big solutions, concerning the global changes, the resolving of many contemporary problems requires international scientific collaboration. The creation of new scientific networks can facilitate information transfer and easier access to facilities. Scientific cooperation among member groups will increase and intergroup scientific cooperation will ultimately result in new patents, theories, and technologies”.

He pointed to the fact that numerous studies have shown that the maximum output of individual research teams is 60% whereas the formation of large research networks can increase the scientific output to 100 percent.

He referred to the European Horizon 2020 as the biggest support programs for research in Europe and added: “the main focus of this program is on the international collaboration of EU with outside countries, and it pursues the formation of international scientific networks with a budget of 80 billion Euro. TMU is a member of this project and it has been assigned a special code for this purpose”.

Dr. Hussein Khani then spoke about the stages of entry into Horizon 2020 program which consisted of identifying the internal and external colleagues, establishing an international consortium from the universities involved, registering the consortium in the EU’s Website, submitting the research proposal, announcing the results of reviews and drawing up contract (if approved). He also described some of the advantages and threats of this program for the audience.

Dr. Hussein Khani referred to the establishment of the network, increase of efficiency, internetwork collaboration, making use of the potential research and service capabilities of EU, access to abundant financial resources, introducing the research potentials of the country to scientific reference groups, promoting research standards, and creating a setting for collaboration as the advantages of the program whereas the risk of losing the natural resources was among the possible threats of this program.

Another speaker of the symposium was Dr. Semnanian, who talked about the experiences of his respective department in the domain of international activities in physiology. He referred to numerous collaboration projects at international level, connection with accredited world neuroscience associations, hosting international conferences, transfer of new technologies and important scientific achievements to TMU as some of the contributions of his respective department.

Referring to the significance of international contacts in third-generation universities he added: “international relations have become an inseparable part of 3GUs, the motivational system encourages the academics towards international activities, and they know that research and work at international level leads to their growth and promotion.”

He blamed the academic tendency prevalent in the past 20 years which overemphasized paper publication, as the sole criterion for promotion without doing any work to promote international collaboration, a neglected domain which requires at least 10 years to compensate, he said.

He concluded that if the physiology department of TMU has managed to gain achievements at international level, then the same can also be achieved by the whole university. He expressed hope for adequate planning and active involvement of academic staff for the realization of this mission.

At the end of this conference, Dr. Semnanian and Dr. Hussein Khani, as two outstanding research figures were appreciated and given awards.

Some speakers at the internationalization conference of TMU included: Dr. Stukel, the representative of DADA in Iran who spoke about “research in Germany, scholarship and academic relations”, Dr. Zaker Salehi, a researcher from Iran’s Research and Planning Institute about “student exchange at international level”, and Dr. Sabouri Nazer about “raising the status of five Iranian universities and Research Centers. The congress ended with a roundtable and discussion panel.

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