Engineering and in general STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and practice is expensive, can drain precious resources (materials, energy etc.) and can be very time consuming (in setting up of physical experiments and different trial and error efforts).
That is why numerical modelling is steadily gaining ground in a range of STEM related fields ranging from mechanical reliability of bridges to the design of medically implantable devices. Numerical modelling allows for quick and inexpensive testing without needing to build physical devices, gives insight and understanding into different phenomena, can be used to design products/solutions and can be used to optimize processes.
Furthermore, in order to create real world solutions and to transform the education, the technical training needs to be coupled with business training. PYTHAGORAS addresses those needs and will provide a total of 8 educational modules(physical and online) covering topics from numerical modelling and design to entrepreneurship and business skills.
Those modules can stand alone and can be used to update and modernize existing curricula. The education will be applied for solving real life problems with (3expected) case studies specified from Egypt and Tunisia and with the students presenting a business case on the solutions they developed. The training will be for the next generation of innovators: University graduate and undergraduate students and professionals (target is over200) and for professors who will be shaping the next generation of students (target 20).
The activities also include setting up of interconnected labs and engaging the labour market. The impact will be on increase of the skill set of the participants, improvement of employment prospects, development of an engineering innovation culture where modernized knowledge (based on advanced numerical and digital methods) is applied and taken to the market.
PYTHAGORAS is in line with the objectives of the call and it will help address local needs in the beneficiary countries. It is relevant to the call in the following way:
• The proposal addresses the thematic priorities set by the programme for Region 3. PYTHAGORAS is directly in line with the Digital transformation priority of the call as it provides training on numerical simulations and entrepreneurship. Numerical and digital work is inherently gender neutral and since it can be done remotely and with a flexible schedule it can provide work-family life balance. Therefore, PYTHAGORAS will aid in fostering an effective, inclusive and gender-sensitive digital transformation and modernization in education and science. It will interconnect labs specializing in advanced numerical skills and will empower the citizens of Egypt and Tunisia through learning and applying those skills. The project fosters strong links between education, research and business in using advanced digital numerical skills in solving real world problems through targeted case studies. This bridges the gap between academia and industry and creates a labour force with a skill set much more aligned to industry needs.
• PYTHAGORAS also contributes to the aim of Sustainable growth and jobs as it promotes entrepreneurship. This will create the new generation of innovators who will start companies, attract investments and bring jobs (especially for young people and women who are underrepresented ) to their countries. Some of the case studies involve natural and green treatments (no use of chemicals) of agricultural seeds so that they can grow in arid dessert like environments. This contributes to efficient and environmentally friendly agricultural improvements that can be applied to Egypt, Tunisia and other regions with similar landscape and climate. Those regions can be found all over Africa and large areas in southern Mediterranean European countries such as Cyprus, southern Italy, Spain, Greece etc.
Environmentally friendly improvements in local agricultural yields also reduce transportation of food, contributing to “Farm to Fork” concept of the Green Deal.
• PYTHAGORAS will modernize higher institutions in Egypt and Tunisia helping in their digital transformation. This is consistent with their own development strategies and it will inter-connect them and bring an international dimension to their development strategy as it will provide European expertise and networking. Every effort will be made for the events to be inclusive and diverse reaching out to disadvantaged participants as well.
Consortium management and decision-making
Overall, the organizational structure and decision mechanisms are planned to suit the size of the project, which has a duration of 36 months, a small-size consortium (3 principal partners), and welldefined roles. The management structure for the project will be put in place with the goal of being:
• Effective: An effective management means that all objectives, timelines, reporting duties of the project are met. We have set up very ambitious goals for this project that we want to extend beyond the life of this project. An attitude of respect and adoption of best ideas during decision-making will be in place.
An effective management will allow us to meet and even exceed those goals.
• Efficient: The management structure is kept simple so that the overhead on team members is kept to a minimum. Communication lines are short and absent of too much hierarchy. Efficient also means that controls are in place to catch and correct errors early on and that the work is well delegated among the team members to that the burden is shared and that work is not repeated.
• Transparent: The decisions and discussions will be documented; the results and progress of the project will be shared with all partners. The goal of PYTHAGORAS is to create very strong collaboration between the three partners and in as such, transparency will be a key characteristic of the organizational structure.