This month we would like to introduce you to a long-term partnership between ENSI (Ecole Nationale des Sciences de l’Informatique) and the Offenburg University.

Dr. Chadlia Jerad has been leading various DAAD-funded projects together with Prof. Axel Sikora since 2016, such as theses for engineering students, Hackathons, workshops, study trips and many other activities: We present three students who share their experiences as part of this partnership.

PhD student Mohamed Abou Messaad

I’m Mohamed Abou Messaad from Tunisia, 25 years old and I’m a doctoral student in computer science. I got my Master of Science in  Internet of Things from the National School of Computer Science, University of Manouba.

In 2020, I had the chance to be among the participants of the DAAD cooperation project between my university in Tunisia and Hochschule Offenburg in Germany.

This German exchange program gave me the opportunity to have a research stay at Institute of Reliable Embedded Systems and Communication Electronics (ivESK) to progress my PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Axel Sikora. As my first international experience, I was excited to discover how is life in a very progressive, diverse, and multicultural country. Added to that, I focused on achieving my goal which was accomplishing an important part of my research project and publishing a scientific paper. Despite the difficult life during Corona time, it wasn’t difficult to make connections, I made it a point to be friendly with locals, I have found Germans to be quite warm, hard-working, and helpful.

Personally, I have mixed mainly with other expats. I have an amazing group of friends there, they are so adorable and they were like a family to me. I’ve really enjoyed every single day in Germany by doing numerous outdoor activities. On top of that, I was a part of a great team at ivESK, I found myself surrounded by impressive team members who will come running to help when asked. I’ve improved as well many skills there, like time management, self-confidence, and a positive attitude. A special thanks to ivESK’s team.

Without a doubt, traveling abroad is truly a wonderful experience to have. I would like to advise all students: get out of your comfort zone! The world is fantastic.

2020 Hackathon winner Nessim Tarchoun

I am Nessim Tarchoun from the National School of Computer Sciences -ENSI (Ecole Nationale des Sciences de l’informatique) and today, I will be sharing my experience as a participant and winner of the 5G-IoT Hackathon organized by the NSCS and the University of Applied Sciences and technologies of Offenburg.

But first, I would like to thank all the organization team and especially Dr. Chadlia Jerad for her support and efforts.

Once the call for participating in the 5G-IoT Hackathon was open, I did not hesitate a moment to apply and form my team. I believe that is a life-changing experience regardless of the stressful news of Covid-19.

Every night we would make progress, the next day, you wake up, and you would have the determination to give more and reach the target! Hit reset, work again towards a better version of our system, and then repeat again every day.

People who compete in competitions are truly passionate; there is always an overflow of ideas and talents.  For me, it was just giving it my best shot and living for three weeks converting the ideas shared in the discussions into code.

Finally, I learned much more during competing than any MOOC that I have ever taken up. My advice for engineering students: Do not miss a single chance to be part of Hackathons and especially leave your comfort zone.

2020 Hackathon winner Farouk Bouabid

Every year an IoT hackathon is organized by both the National school of computer science (Tunisia) and Offenburg Hochschule (Germany) and financially supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Therefore, it is considered a custom among embedded software and IoT students in the National school of computer science to participate in this event that takes place in the fall.

Moreover, this hackathon represents a fierce competition between students to claim the prize of carrying out their master thesis (PFE in french) at the Institute of Reliable Embedded Systems and Communication Electronics (ivESK). Nevertheless, this year’s edition comes within unique pandemic circumstances where interaction between Tunisian participants and German academics was carried out online along with prototypes exhibition.

However, these unfortunate circumstances did not affect the spirit and the willingness of both students and professors to successfully conduct this event. As a participant and a team member, this challenge was different than usual for me. First, our academic abilities and engineering skills were tested in correlation with real-life environmental issues.

In addition to that, we had to not only come up with a distinguished idea but also create a prototype that is technically solid by a two-week deadline. And finally, we had to compete against lots of creative ideas and skillful students who were highly prepared and motivated for this challenge. Therefore, it is worthy to say that winning was not an easy task. It was due to hours of dedication and teamwork.

In the end, I salute all the organizers and participants for their tremendous endeavor and hard work. Furthermore, I wish good luck for next year’s participants hoping that this partnership between universities continues to prosper.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) supports the programme ‘SDG Partnerships’ using funds provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Funding is available for establishing partnerships between German higher education institutions and higher education institutions in developing and emerging countries (DEC). The programme focusses on planning, developing and realising higher education partnerships that give rise to a sustainable promotion of structures at partner institutions in teaching as well as research, and in the areas of higher education and research management.

The overall long-term program objectives are to contribute to sustainable development according to the 2030 Agenda, to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to establishing high-performing internationally networked higher education institutions in the partner countries.

Further information: Download: SDG Partnerships (PDF, 175.44 KB)

Transformation Partnerships with partner universities in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Sudan

The German Academic Exchange Office (DAAD) promotes the “German-Arab Transformation Partnership” program with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As part of this program, Germany has been supporting political upheavals in the Arab region since 2011. University training as well as academic cooperation play an important role in the period of social and political change. The German-Arab transformation partnership offers additional opportunities for Arab university reform efforts.

Collaboration between German and Arab universities should focus on modernizing education, establishing structures in research and management as well as improving the employability of graduates at Arab partner universities.