MENA Scholarship Programme

The main aim of The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Scholarship Programme is to contribute to democratic transition in the selected countries. It also aims at building capacity within organisations, by enabling employees to take part in short courses in the Netherlands.

MENA Scholarship Programme is awarded to individuals, all candidates must be nominated by their employer to be able to participate. The need for training has to be demonstrated in the context of the organisation the applicant is employed by. The training course must help the organisation develop its capacity.

MENA Scholarship programme strives to allocate 50% of the budget to female candidates. The programme is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is monitored by Nuffic. The funding application and nomination process for the MSP programme is partially executed by the Dutch institution. Have a look at the MSP/MENA country list to see which countries are qualified.

Benefit

The scholarship value depends on the duration of your programme at the University of Twente. Please note that the scholarship does not cover all the costs of the study trajectory. It is not a full fellowship.


Short course

Advanced Geoinformatics

Geo-spatial data is the major driver of today’s information society. Smartphones, satellites, and sensors are creating more Big Geo Data than ever. This data is used for an increasing number of scientific purposes that aim to benefit the world. It’s a matter of gathering, analyzing, distributing and visualizing the data to make it fit for specific use, e.g. in systems for improving agricultural practice or creating healthy cities. The technologies supporting these processes are at the core of geoinformatics.

Effectively acquiring and efficiently managing these amounts of data takes more than skills. It also requires keeping pace with ongoing technological developments and understanding how to interpret them. The course Advanced Geoinformatics offers you the possibility to expand your competencies and skills in advanced data acquisition and information extraction methods or focus more on the integration of state-of-the-art methods in geospatial workflows. You will learn to design and develop algorithms, models, and tools to process geo-spatial data into reliable, actionable information.

COURSE CONTENT

Earth Observation Science

  • IMAGE ANALYSIS

In this course, you will be introduced to advanced image analysis methods enabling to enrich your geoinformation problem solving abilities. Non-linear filters will be introduced for reduction of noise while preserving the boundaries. In addition, interest operators will be introduced to detect stable structures in images that are invariant to scale and rotation transformation. Various methods for dealing with objects in images will be studied. Fuzzy and sub-pixel classification will be introduced to deal with uncertainty and to increase the information content extracted from the imagery. For multisource classification decision trees will be introduced. To automatically detect corresponding image positions, the image matching techniques will be introduced. In particular, area-based matching and feature-based matching will be investigated in this course.

  • LASER SCANNING

Airborne, terrestrial and mobile laser scanning are modern technologies to acquire and monitor the geometry of the Earth's surface and objects above the surface like buildings, trees and road infrastructure. This course provides an overview on the state of the art of these techniques, potential applications, like digital terrain modelling and 3D city modelling, as well as methods to extract geo-information from the recorded point clouds.

Geo-information Processing

  • INTEGRATED GEOSPATIAL WORKFLOWS

Thanks to the digital, mobile and IT revolutions, massive amounts of data are nowadays collected at unprecedented spatial, temporal, and thematic scales by both physical and human sensors. For most applications, data availability is less of an issue. What remains an issue is how to convert this data into usable and actionable geo-information that supports decision-making at various scales and that can be further processed to generate knowledge. As a consequence, scientific workflows and scientific workflow management systems become more important for knowledge sharing and ensuring reproducibility.

Selected elements of an integrated workflow are introduced. Methods and techniques that can process massive amounts of spatio-temporal data in (quasi-)real time by using cloud computing technologies will be discussed. This course combines and extents knowledge on semantics, linked data, machine learning and distributed databases, and interactive dashboards presented online.

  • SPATIO-TEMPORAL MODELLING AND ANALYTICS

Processes relevant to system Earth, whether natural or man-affected, commonly display variations in space and over time, yet our understanding of their behaviour remains limited. The increase in available monitoring data provides handles for detailed study of these processes. Unravelling the way these processes function and having a mechanism to test hypothesis as well as the possible impacts of interventions is key to contribute to a more sustainable development.  At course end, you will have learnt to make use of the available data in process studies, by a variety of computational techniques.

Geo-web app building with open-source GIS tools

WHAT IS THE COURSE CONTENT?

The course is structured in 5 thematic learning units that are taught simultaneously in 4 sequential modules of 3 weeks each. Learning outcomes are defined per unit and evaluated progressively at the end of each module.

1 – Introduction
This is a short unit that aims to introduce you to the faculty and the course, provide a general context and some basic concepts. You will also explore the prototype of the web application that you will reproduce during the course.

2 – Spatial databases
In this unit, you will learn the fundamental concepts on how to design and create a relational database, how to retrieve information from it and how to integrate it to a web application.

3 – Spatial analysis
In this unit, you will have the chance to explore different spatial analysis techniques and reflect on the potential of spatial data analysis as a tool to solve geo-spatial problem

4 – Basic programming for web-applications
In this unit, you will discover the potential of computer languages to enlarge 'Desktop' GIS capabilities, both in terms of analysis and web dissemination.

5 - Web-based Geo-operations, -visualization and –dissemination
In this unit, the focus is on the development of web-mapping applications by making use of Web services or by visualizing data using web standards (like HTML, CSS and JavaScript). You will be coached to think and work in systematic procedures, including web- and application design, data exploration, appropriate coding based on standards.

Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing

In this course, you will learn the theoretical concepts and practical skills to extract geoinformation in established upcoming techniques and innovative approaches. Besides, you will understand the connection of the acquisition and processing procedures, with the accuracy of the results and its relevancy for various applications. 

Managing land use and the Earth’s resources and facing global challenges is becoming increasingly important due to the rising world population, economic growth, environmental degradation, and climate change, among others. 

The use of available, up-to-date, accurate and well-structured geoinformation is essential for applying various applications and utilizing the data to face global challenges and reach the optimal solutions. Thus,  planners, resources managers and application scientists now make considerable use of frequently acquired high and medium resolutions of multispectral images and other data structure such as 3D point clouds. Multispectral images are captured from various spaceborne and airborne sensors, as well as innovative platforms such as drones, 3D point clouds can be acquired with modern techniques such as laser scanner. 

Thus, it is essential to train the staff to extract both thematic and 3D geoinformation from different sensors or scanners in automated and semi-automated processing environments which are continuously under development. 

WHAT IS THE COURSE CONTENT?

The course is structured in 4 sequential modules of 3 weeks each. The first two modules are concentrated on Remote sensing topics and the last two on photogrammetric topics. Learning outcomes are defined per module and evaluated progressively at the end of each one.

Module 1: Digital Image Processing

In this module, you will understand and apply the basic radiometric preprocessing like atmospheric calibration, spatial and temporal filtering and contrast enhancement operations, which is essential in a geospatial problem-solving process. Besides, you will explore the integration of spectral bands in indices and ratios to provide sufficient insight into the information contents of the multi and hyperspectral data sets. 

Module 2: Advanced Image Classification

In this module, Random Forests (RF) classifier will be taught and used to classify both single-date and multi-temporal satellite images. Various strategies for generating samples required to train supervised machine learning classifiers and assess their classification results will be explained in detail.

Module 3: Earth Observation Sensors for Mapping Applications

In this module, you will have a  general overview of the EO sensors. The course will also treat in more focus the new platforms and sensors relevant to large-scale mapping applications such as  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the aerial oblique digital sensors, and laser scanners. Besides, you will apply Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) receivers to measure the point coordinates and assess the quality of the results. 

Module 4: 3D Data Acquisition from Aerial Imagery

In this module,  you will learn the geospatial data processing techniques to derive 3D geoinformation from a sequence of overlapping aerial images. Mixing between the digital photogrammetry methods and the advanced methods will be presented. The innovative techniques will be demonstrated using images acquired by a drone. A hands-on experience will be gained using the appropriate software packages to process different data sets: aerial and drone images.

Countries eligible for MENA Scholarship Programme

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia

MENA APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  1. To be considered for a provisional nomination you must be found eligible/unconditionally admitted by the University of Twente. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must fulfill the following requirements:
  2. You are a mid-career professional (up to 45 years of age);
  3. You are academically accepted by the UT and have obtained a letter of admittance to the short course;
  4. You can apply MSP when you live and work in one of the countries on the MSP country list;
  5. You must have a current employer’s statement which complies with the format Nuffic has provided.  This means you will need to provide an employer’s statement. You can find the Word format of this letter here (to be found at the bottom of the list). The employer’s letter should be written on employer’s letter heading and signed and stamped by an authorized person/head of organization. The letter should be dated. If your letter does not meet the format it will be discarded and your application is considered incomplete. All information must be provided and all commitments, which are included in the format, must be endorsed in the statement;
  6. You must not be employed by an organisation that has its own means of staff development. Organisations that are considered to have their own means of staff development are for example: multinational corporations (e.g. Shell, Unilever, Microsoft); large national and/or a large commercial organisation; bilateral donor organisations (e.g. USAID, DFID, Danida, Sida, Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs, FinAid, AusAid, ADC, SwissAid); multilateral donor organisations, (e.g. a UN organisation, the World Bank, the IMF, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, IADB); international NGO’s (e.g. Oxfam, Plan, Care);
  7. You must supply a motivation on why you wish to be nominated. Please download the mandatory format of this statement from the MSP pages (to be found almost at the bottom of the list).  For MSP certain priorities have been indicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is advised to clearly state your affinity and interest in one of the priority areas for MSP in your country and/or region.It is advised to contact your Embassy on this issue.  
  8. You might be required to submit a government statement. Please check this listing if you are required to do so. Please download the mandatory format of this statement from the MSP pages (to be found almost at the bottom of the list).
  9. You posses a valid identifcation document (preferably a passport) that is (at least) valid during the entire application process;
  10. You are not allowed to receive more than one fellowship simulataneously for programmes taking place at the same time.

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