Economy, Sci & Tech

Iranian Varsities Sign Swiss Agreements

Iranian Varsities Sign Swiss Agreements
Iranian Varsities Sign Swiss Agreements

Two collaboration agreements were signed in Tehran during the official visit of Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann to Iran from 26 to 28 February 2016.  The agreements forge ties between the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne with two top Iranian universities, namely Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Sharif University of Technology.

“EPFL sees in these two universities–Iran’s best in their respective fields–key partners in the pursuit of digital and personalized medicine of the future, which will require making smart and effective use of big data,” said Karl Aberer, the EPFL vice president who represented the school during Ammann’s visit to Iran, Mediacom reported.

The partnerships will take shape as joint research projects will be set up in the coming weeks and, in the longer term, through the expanded exchange of students and researchers. The idea is to capitalize on each partner’s respective specialization: personalized medicine at TUMS and big data processing at Sharif University, and genetic sequencing, cancer research and bioinformatics at EPFL, among others.

EPFL and Iranian universities had engaged in exchange programs in the past. EPFL’s student body currently includes 173 Iranians while an additional 2,384 students have also signed up for EPFL’s massive open online courses.  Around 30 publications are co-authored every year by professors of EPFL and Iranian universities. On April 2, 2015, it was at the Rolex Learning Center on EPFL’s campus that the preliminary framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program was announced to the world by Iranian, American and European negotiators. This event deepened official relations between EPFL and Iran, an ancient civilization known for its emphasis on education, science and technology.

In October 2015, EPFL President Patrick Aebischer devoted a week to meetings with representatives of the universities of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan and Yazd, as well as the deputy ministers of science and health, EPFL alumni in Iran and representatives of Iran-Switzerland Chamber of Commerce.

>Strengthening Ties

In January 2016, EPFL decided to create a program called Iranian Studies, slated to begin in 2017, that will expand the curriculum offered by the College of Humanities on Asia, Russia and global issues.

The chancellor of TUMS subsequently visited the Biotech Campus in Geneva and EPFL’s main campus in Lausanne. At the same time, talks were held on deepening cooperation with Sharif University in Tehran.

All these efforts culminated in the agreements signed by the EPFL vice president for information systems, Karl Aberer, and chancellors Ali Jafarian of TUMS and Mahmoud Fotouhi of Sharif University in Tehran.