Morocco has a lot to offer in terms of both human and natural resources, and with the right vision, research and development can reach its optimum potential. First and foremost, understand the need. For example Morocco is still very much energy dependent and this is an area that should receive a lot of attention.
Washington D.C – While Morocco was able to start the solar stations in the south, it fell short of its original goals of 2 GW by 2020. Not only this but the first two stations Noor 1 and 2 are concentrated solar plants and use substantial amount of water which is a scarce resource in Morocco. Funding research that can convert these plants to conserve water would be a great step.
While the industrial sector is picking up steam in automobile and aerospace manufacturing so far job creation is still short of the employments needs.
The agricultural and the phosphate sectors could both benefit from research that saves on both water and fertilizers. Ideas such as Nano-irrigation and mycorrhizal symbioses to conserve not only water but also limit phosphate use and run-off. There are other sectors such as fishing, marine life, and oceanography in general. Morocco enjoys over 2000 miles of coastline. I rarely see any publically available research on marine life in the Moroccan ocean shorelines.
We need to recognize our Moroccan scientists and science in scientific media and forums such as well edited, well photographed, and well established magazines.
The examples that come to mind are of Scientific American, popular mechanics, and more recently wired magazine. The migration of science publishing online cannot be ignored but in the end it is quality of content not the medium that is most important. Science et Vie of France is another example that I’m familiar with since my childhood, which contributed to my own education and curiosity.
A weekly public radio/TV segment on science and research discussed at a level that is easy to understand by the largest number of people is very important for the benefit of the entire public. The example that comes to mind is science Friday on public radio in the US. A large number of science and research educators are invited throughout the year on a weekly basis to participate and collaborate and educate online and on the air.
Coordinators at the National Center for Scientific and Technical Researcher (CNRST) need to have a significant level of technical competence so that they can relate the specific needs to the expatriate researchers. They also need to be able to sell Morocco, its culture, its tourism, it’s family oriented lifestyle, its stability, and be able to revive the zeal for repatriation of science and engineering competencies.
These coordinators need to reach out through the state department of the host countries. When the state department is involved, and the associated embassies in Morocco, the transfer of technical expertise becomes more official. The researchers will feel a lot more comfortable in accepting the invitations. Because the approval will be from both sides, their native country as well as their host countries. It is a united nation charter that developed countries should support developing countries with technology transfer.
Star researchers need to be exposed first and foremost to young adults so as to inspire them. Invitations to High schools talks, and even middle schools should not be ignored. These are the future generations that need to be inspired while young. In a lot of cases, it is more difficult to change the adult generation view of the world and imbue them with renewed curiosity and different ways of thinking. So it is important to focus on the youth. But the adult generation can be enlisted to encourage the youth.
Reach out to large companies and encourage them to open centers of research in Morocco. Whether it is in transportation or digital infrastructure, Morocco has a lot to offer. Large private companies such as Boeing, Renault, Cisco, Huawei as well as L’OCP, ONE need to fund a minimum level of research in their sectors. These companies can create relationships with Universities and focus their research on their relevant areas.
University deans need to be encouraged to attract research to their universities. Foster competition between universities by organizing multiples events in different areas such as renewable energy (Solar house), transportation (electric car), agriculture (organic), digital (artificial intelligence), and health (microbiology and other)
Finally, Morocco enjoys a wonderful historic, touristic, romantic, and even mysterious and mystical image throughout the world.
Moroccans in the US are usually proud to proclaim that Morocco was the first country to believe in the American dream by recognizing the US independence.
It may not be possible to produce the American experience or the American dream in Morocco but it may be possible to inspire and even create a Moroccan dream. A dream which reduces joblessness and even reverses immigration. Inspiring and encouraging research, researchers, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs and protecting them is the beginning of a realistic dream.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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Dr. Mohamed Belkhayat is currently an adjunct professor with George Washington University and a principal scientist with Huntington Ingalls serving as a power and energy subject matter expert. He has been working in the field for over 25 years. He obtained his Energy Systems Ph D from Purdue University EE department in 1997