In a country like Tunisia where the rate of publication of scientific papers by researchers is quite high, there is still lot to do to guarantee the transfer of research results, the transfer of technology and ensure that public entities are willing to buy innovative solutions.
The National Agency for scientific Research Promotion (ANPR), Tunisian partner of PPI4MED, as a public agency which aims to value research results, worked during the last 3 years in order to assess the needs of buyers and sellers of innovation services and promote a model for Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI).
First of all, the ANPR set up a living lab on Public Procurement of Innovation on the 30th March 2021. Then, a survey entitled “Needs Assessment Study in the Public Sector in Tunisia" was conducted. 19 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were signed, and 7 needs were identified in the energy and agri-food sectors.
Between the 26th and 28th July 2023, a training on PPI was organized in which 31 people took part such as students, researchers, and public employees.
Meanwhile, 14 technologies were analyzed in the energy, water, and food chain sectors and 3 of them could match the need of the public sector in Tunisia as follow:
- The smart grid innovation by researcher Adnen Cherif from the Laboratory of Analysis and Processing of Signals and Electric and Energy Systems at the Faculty of Sciences of Tunis (FST). It is a control and supervision platform for the migration of the electrical grid towards the smart grid with integration of renewable energy sources. This project has been chosen to be signed under a framework agreement with STEG (Tunisian Company of Electricity and Gas).
- The innovation by researcher Dorra Driss from the Biotechnology Center of Sfax, which aims to improve the fish farming methods to combat the high mortality rate of fish in several aquaculture companies in Tunisia. A framework agreement could be established with CTA (Technical Aquaculture Center).
- The innovation by researcher Ameni Zribi from the Laboratory of Thermal and Energy Systems Studies at the National School of Engineers of Monastir. It involves refining a drying system for food products. A framework agreement could be established with AVFA (Agency for Agricultural Extension and Training).
Besides matching the needs and offer, it is worth mentioning that 2 spin-offs were supported:
- a spin-off was created in the field of agri-food sectors on 09/10/2023 called "Solar Dryer" by researcher Ameni Zriba. It aims to improve the drying process for various food products such as vegetables and pistachios.
- Another spin-off is being created in the field of energy by researcher Adnen Cherif. It is a control and supervision platform for the migration of the electrical grid towards the smart grid with integration of renewable energy sources.
Finally, three patents are currently being processed with the assistance of DVGR (General direction of Research Valorization) and the PPI4MED project expert responsible for technology transfer, to be subsequently filed with INNORPI (National Institute of Standardization and Industrial Property).
- The patent by researcher Ameni Zriba aims to improve the drying process for various food products such as vegetables and pistachios.
- The patent by Dorra Driss aims to improve fish farming methods to combat the high mortality rate of fish in several aquaculture companies in Tunisia.
- The patent by Mohamed Khilf involves recycling paper waste, specifically sludge, to extract the toxic substance called Cililose, which poses a real danger to the environment. This recovered material from recycled paper waste could be reused in the production of bricks.