The FASTER Mobility Programme

The FASTER mobility programme aims to organise a minimum of nine visits by INRGREF staff and at least three PhD students to European collaborative centres, as co-directed by European institutions over three years. Short-term visits (1 week to 3 months) by staff will take place under two different programmes, depending on the experience of the visitors.






Senior Staff Visits


Students Visits

2 specialized programs

Senior INRGREF staff visits

Oriented to develop the necessary links to provide future research proposals, sharing of PhD students’ projects and co-authoring of academic publications.

Student and INRGREF staff visits

Aimed to enrich PhD projects, enhance local training and develop future collaborations.

3 partners

Sending institution


The National Research Institute for Rural Engineering Water and Forestry (INRGREF) is a Tunisian institution involved in Faster. Researchers and PhD students from INRGREF will visit European centres to enhance Research Excellence. Learn more about INRGREF on our partners page

Hosting institutions


The Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) is a public research institution in Spain. Researchers and students will be hosted in their infrastructure, the Can Balasc Biological Station. It is located in the Serra de Collserola Natural Park, one of the metropolitan areas of Barcelona’s largest and best-preserved forest areas. Can Balasc has laboratories and greenhouses, a guesthouse with rooms for visiting researchers, and 100 ha of forests and experimental sites for research purposes. Learn more about CREAF on our partners page 


The Lund University, located in Sweden, provides education and research in many various domains. The research at the Department of Water Resources Engineering during the latest thirty years has largely focussed on water resources problems in arid and semiarid developing countries. Close cooperation is performed with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES). Learn more about Lund University on our partners page 

First year: 2019 - results

The first year of the FASTER mobility programme, taking place from November 2018-December 2019 was a complete success.

From the beginning, it was planned to have on average 3 study visits during each year. However, during the first project year of FASTER, 3 researchers and 2 PhD students visited the European partners. The outcome was quite encouraging and among other things, a published paper in an international journal.

2 Researchers

went to CREAF

2 PhD Students, 1 Researcher


Mobility to Lund University

April 15 to 24, 2019

Dr. Fethi Bouksila,
researcher from INRGREF

  • Discussions with Prof. Ronny Berndtsson on improvements regarding data treatment and results by PhD students for joint publishing in international journals.
  • In the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), he discussed with master students the Tunisian water context before and after the revolution.
  • Discussed future possibilities of collaboration within project proposals and scientific articles writing.

April 15 to May 3, 2019

Sana Bouguerra
PhD student from INRGREF

  • Worked with Pr. Cintia Bertacchi Uvo on climate variability and trend for more than thirty years of measurements, in the Rmel river basin located in the northeastern part of Tunisia.
  • She planned an article related to connection between precipitation trend and different climatic modes.

Nesrine Zemni
PhD student from INRGREF

  • Analysed and discussed data on soil infiltration experiments performed at INRGREF with
    Prof. Magnus Persson.
  • Writing of a joint article on soil infiltration experiments and performance of the 5TE sensor.


Prof. Ronny Berndtsson researcher from Lund University Acting Director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Pr. Cintia Bertacchi Uvo
researcher from
Lund University

Prof. Magnus Persson
researcher from
Lund University

Mobility to CREAF

July 15 to 30, 2019

Dr. Kaouther Ben Yahia,
researcher from INRGREF

Dr. Meriem Zouaoui Boutiti,
researcher from INRGREF

  • Collaborated with Dr. Enrique Doblas and Dr. Pilar Andrés on soil organisms at CREAF headquarters and at its field laboratory in Can Balasc.
  • Presented their research in a special seminar session and met with Dr Josep Maria Espelta, specialist in Mediterranean forest ecology. Further potential collaboration was proposed.
  • Potential collaborations and derived scientific papers were discussed.


Dr. Enrique Doblas
research coordinator
from CREAF

Dr. Josep Maria Espelta
researcher from CREAF

Dr. Pilar Andrés
Senior researcher
from CREAF

Second year: 2020


The second mobility program was hampered by the Covid 19 outbreak. Thus, a contingency plan was created. Due to travel restrictions, no planned mobilities could be performed during 2020.

It has been agreed upon by the project partners that the second and third mobility programs will be merged and executed by October 2021, hosted by Lund University.

In a very pessimistic scenario, the mobility may need to be aided by virtual visits to European project partners or corresponding alternatives.

Third year: 2021 - results

Year three of the mobility program was a great success thanks to all the people involved. Many outstanding achievements were made despite relatively short study visit periods.

We noticed considerable interest from both researchers and students to participate in the program.

Due to the interest remaining high during the covid times, we adapted an online training schedule for this run of the program.

4 Researchers and 1 PhD student

were supervised online between September and December 2021

Lund University

Researchers supervised

Hend Askri

Researcher from INGREF

  • Researched the impact of irrigation water chloride on citrus yield, using one year of data from 6 citrus orchards.
  • During the research, they worked with data analysis and a modelling approach using an artificial neural network.

Nidhal Marzougui

Researcher from INGREF

  • Contributed to the treatment methods for both types of wastewaters, both raw and treated.
  • Worked on an article on the usage of plant adsorbents as wastewater treatments.
  • The student is also planning a joint project on water quality with Lund colleagues.

Sonia Sabbahi

Researcher from INGREF


  • Collaborated with Professor Berndtsson on Ova and protozoan in waste water from treatment plants
  • Improved the research capacity on wastewater and its by-products management for climate adaptation
  • Planned on-site data analysis to obtain publishable outputs.

Dalila Souguir

Researcher from INGREF

  • She collaborated with the Lund team and researched the use of non-conventional waters in irrigation and the gradual changes it may cause.
  • Thanks to the collaboration she has planned a joint article on water quality, genotoxicity and plant growth, for which she is already gathering data.

PhD Students supervised

Khaoula Khemiri

PhD student from INGREF

  • The student participated with the LU team in researching the effects of climate change and population increase using more than 40 years of data.
  • She worked on two articles, one on the vulnerability of the Tunisian semiarid area and, the other, on areas for Gully development.


Prof. Ronny Berndtsson researcher from Lund University Acting Director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies