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Owing to the initiative and organization of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, a conference "EU-Georgia - Full Involvement in Georgia in the Horizon Europe Program" was held at Kutaisi International University. The conference was opened by the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, who spoke about the steps taken in the development of science and wished the participants a fruitful and productive work.
The conference was also attended by Maria Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The European Commissioner emphasized the importance of the signing of an international framework agreement on Georgia's new EU research and innovation framework program in Horizon Europe and noted that the EU would continue to support Georgia in the reform process entirely. EU Ambassador to Georgia - Carl Hartzell also welcomed the conference participants.
It should be noted that the conference is an important platform for sharing information and experience with representatives of the European Commission, relevant Georgian agencies and academia. During the two-day conference, participants discussed Georgia's Horizon Europe Association opportunities, program structure, Action Plan for the current year, and the upcoming plans and perspectives for the Horizon Europe National Office. Additionally, the aim of the conference was to discuss the opportunities for Georgia to participate in the activities of Marie Sklodowska-Curie, Council for European Studies (ERC), Council for European Innovation (EIC) and COST.
Nunu Mitskevichi, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Signe Ratso, Deputy Director General of the European Commission for Research and Innovation, and Alexander Tevzadze, Rector of Kutaisi International University, also addressed the conference attendees.
Within the interactive session of the conference, the participants of four successful projects from Georgia shared their experiences with the conference participants and answered the questions from the audience.
The selection of Kutaisi International University for the organization of the conference is a symbolic step and once again emphasizes Georgia's aspiration to make the university an international centre of education, science, and technology in the region. The establishment of Kutaisi International University is an important event in the direction of internationalization of higher education and science.
The University envisages the development of research infrastructure equipped with modern and state-of-the-art technologies, and based on that, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs will be developed in cooperation with a leading university in a specific field.
Moreover, a Hadron therapy centre will be established on the premises of Kutaisi International University, where researchers will carry out scientific research in medical and nuclear physics. The Hadron Therapy Centre’s research theme is in line with Horizon Europe's 2030 goals, which prioritizes funding for cancer-related projects. In this regard, Georgia is given a unique opportunity to become a major participant in nuclear and medical physics.
It should be noted that with the direct involvement of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, Georgia became a member of Horizon Europe, a new framework program of the European Union for Research and Innovation, and the Horizon Europe National Office was established in Georgia