On 14.04.2021, the first virtual Industry-Academia Workshop took place within the REMO project. In addition to the partner universities THI, University of Carthage (ENSTAB) and Al Akhawayn University (AUI), six representatives of industry partners from Tunisia, Morocco and Germany participated. In addition to the project partners, four additional Moroccan representatives from industry were also present as guests. The participants noted, among other things, that the analysis of the legal framework in the target countries and the implementation of applied research are central to the further course of the project.
The aim of the workshop was to make an active contribution to closing the gap between the activities of the actors through the exchange between academia and industry and to better utilise the mutual potentials through increased cooperation.
After the welcome and a short round of introductions of the partners, the three universities first gave an overview of the activities of the last months as well as the knowledge already gathered: For example, the partner universities in Tunisia and Morocco have now almost completely formed their project teams and defined the research questions to be addressed. Furthermore, Prof. Loudiyi from AUI announced that he would soon contact the industry partners with developed surveys to get a better picture of the expectations of a Bachelor's or Master's degree programme in the field of renewable energies and e-mobility with the help of the industry partners. The project aims to improve the range of courses in renewable energies and e-mobility in Tunisia and Morocco to deepen and expand local know-how. This objective is also in line with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement signed by Tunisia and Morocco as well as the national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases and the simultaneous increase of the share of renewable energies in the national energy mix.
Furthermore, Dr. Khallaayoun (AUI) gave a short presentation on how e-mobility can contribute to grid stability in the North African countries. According to this, e-vehicles could feed energy into the grid via charging stations in times of high electricity demand and store the energy in their batteries when there is a surplus supply. In addition, Dr. Khallaayoun pointed out existing research gaps in the North African context that can be addressed within the framework of the project and beyond. The second part of the workshop was used to discuss three sets of topics with the industry partners in virtual small groups. Barriers and drivers of e-mobility and renewable energies in Morocco and Tunisia were identified together. In addition, the participants collected concrete suggestions on how they could support each other as industry and university partners in their visions and activities. In addition, the participants identified specific topics for further workshops in this format. For example, it was suggested to take a closer look at the legal framework and the network regulations in a workshop, so that companies can get a better understanding of the framework conditions on site and consequently assess the entrepreneurial risk of a stronger commitment more realistically. In the discussion, it also became clear that the lack of regulation can be a challenge for companies and that the project partners should push for an intensified dialogue with local political actors in the coming months.
The workshop marked the start of further events within the framework of the DAAD-funded REMO project. The participating universities from Tunisia, Morocco and Germany are striving to consolidate this exchange in order to gradually form a transnational network in the field of renewable energies and e-mobility.