The project partners met at SEKEM, Egypt during 17-18 February 2020 in order to kick-off SureMap ! The goal of the meeting was to update each other precisely on the requirements and workplace of each work package, the project itself and possible upcoming difficulties included finding accurate solutions for the training needs, stakeholders, resources to be committed and the broader project scope.
SureMap aims to establish an interdisciplinary 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. This was based on a preliminary assessment survey that has already been carried out for MSc and Diplomas in “Sustainable Resource Management Programme to solve Desert(ed) Challenges”. The objective of this survey was to define more precisely the perceived challenges facing land and resources use for food production generally in the region and specifically in Egypt. It also covered needs, gaps, focal areas for land reclamation, resource management considerations, and relevant institutional/legal frameworks as well as sector organizations of the quadruple helix. Initial survey findings indicated a shortage of qualified personnel equipped for a modern multidisciplinary planning and technical approach which holistically addresses contemporary natural and manmade pressures and links environmental and biological sciences, engineering, and agriculture, amalgamating most of the fields in an integrated manner. 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.