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SureMap

Sustainable Resource Management Programme to Solve Desert-ed Challenges

Project Concept

The aim of this project is to establish an Engineering MSc that trains engineers, suitably qualified to implement the “1.5 million feddan desert reclamation” target, as well as similar water, energy and food related challenges in the “Egypt 2030” strategy. The curricula content is oriented towards the need to combine know-how in solar technology, hydrology, and irrigation with mechanical, electrical, soil engineering and urban planning as well as ecological and environmental aspects. The engineers are thus well suited to manage the planning phase (including the coordination between the different specialities, to assure the development of integrated systems), reliably install and dependably maintain up-to-date technology. Although these skills will also be sought after by , large scale investors who are engaged in dessert land reclamation, to lead and manage their engineering teams, the graduates are vital for the above mentioned 3.000 or more small and medium enterprises who require suitably qualified maintenance specialists for all different systems to be regularly present in the remote dessert locations (100 km – 400 km from Cairo or other sizable cities). The provided interdisciplinary skills are thus especially important for services to small and medium businesses, who cannot afford numerous engineers from different specialities on their payroll, but nevertheless require expertise how to combine, harmonise and synchronise interacting electric, electronic, hydraulic, mechanical, and other systems, and how to assure their proper and reliable maintenance. 

Objectives:

  • To identify the key trends, needed skills in the Egyptian organisations, and market to contribute directly or indirectly to resource-efficient agriculture. 
  • Establish an Engineering M.Sc. that prepares engineers to interact and coordinate with environmental scientists and farmers, and thus are suitably qualified to implement Egyptian and EU-strategies, as well as similar Water, Energy and Food WEF nexus challenges. This also involved modernisation of existing courses. 
  • To develop a capacity building programme to train and equip the professors in the Egyptian universities with the knowledge and tools to address the different dimensions of sustainable agriculture.
  • To develop Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as Open Education Resources (OER) for spreading the knowledge and raising the awareness of different stakeholders (students, politicians, academicians and wider society). The MOOCs will be high quality materials that are copyright free and publicly available. 

Given that the courses are being designed as modules, it will also be possible for all universities in Egypt to implement parts in suitable master programmes and diplomas. It is suggested to be interdisciplinary, since the engineers need sufficient knowledge about agriculture and geology, to be able to interact with the latter experts in the field and thus bridge the communication gap between engineers, agronomists and geologists often encountered.

Project Results

The Project will initially define more precisely the current needs and adjust the planned activities to latest developments, potentially new or changed policies and an up to date needs analysis. To maximise quality, while minimising resources, this will be done primarily, using published sources and qualitative data to be collected from the associated partners and the wide network of the consortium, adding. Quantitative data will only be collected, where this is necessary, feasible and sensible. The result will be a detailed needs analysis.

Based on the needs analysis, the interdisciplinary curriculum, including all necessary courses, equalling 120 ECTS and a MOOC will be developed. The development will be implemented through classical approaches like discussion groups (off- and online), suggestions and revisions. Input from the various experts and a quality assurance procedure will ensure that the content is tailored to the identified needs.

Concurrently, training and capacity building sessions will be developed and to entertain that teaching staff in Egypt have the required expertise to implement the project. The training will be provided by different European partners and is explicitly not standardised or harmonised to expose trainees to a variety of approaches and possibilities. To support dissemination and make the gained insights available to a larger audience, both online educational resources (OERs) will be developed and used both for teaching purposes as well as in the so called “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC).

Given the experience with the diploma course on Sustainable Development offered by the Center for Applied Research on the environment and sustainability (CARE) at the American University in Cairo, as well as the relevant undergraduate and post graduate courses in Environmental Sciences at Alexandria University, as well as the courses offered by the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Awan University and the undergraduate programmes on organic agriculture and sustainable energy engineering at Heliopolis University, it is foreseen to pilot elements of developed courses, even before the whole curriculum has been finalised.

From October 2021 onwards, the full program will then be implemented in Egypt, with first registered students expected to graduate in autumn 2023. To maintain and constantly improve the quality of the curriculum and the courses within, a number of quality assurance measures, including feedback loops will be devised that also should facilitate accreditation from the Supreme Councils for Public and Private Universities as well certification by the National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education (NAQAAE).

The management of the project follows tried and tested procedures, including a project management and communication plan, biannual (online) meetings and timely reporting. The quality control activities are integrated in the framework of all the work-packages.

Duration

15/01/2020 - 14/01/2023

SEERC Budget

61.685 €

Funding

Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education

Participating Researchers

See also

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