Biography Prof Rajaa Cherkaoui


Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli was born in Salé, Morocco. After obtaining her Baccalaureate Degree, at Descartes High School in Rabat, she travelled abroad to follow her postgraduate studies and got her PhD in Physics at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France. Her first steps in research started with heavy ion Physics at the Laboratory for Subatomic Physics and Cosmology Grenoble in France.

In 1982, back in Morocco, she joined the Faculty of Sciences, University Mohammed V, Rabat as a researcher-professor; and since 1996 she worked as a head of the Laboratory of Nuclear Physics (LPNR). This responsibility led her to develop several themes around nuclear applications.

She used this opportunity to implement several masters at the university, especially the first master of medical physics in Morocco and the first master on renewable energy in the Mohammed V University. And she also coordinated several cooperation projects with Spanish and French organizations. Currently, she is coordinating two European Erasmus plus projects for the development of innovation. In this context, she created the University Center for Entrepreneurship at the level of Mohammed V University. She is also - within the European project H2020 MARSU - the Moroccan project leader for the creation of an observatory of atmospheric air pollution on the mountains of Michlifen in Morocco. This observatory is unique in North Africa and West Africa.

R. Cherkaoui became Vice-President for Research, Innovation, Cooperation and Partnership Mohammed V University in Rabat from January 2013 to January 2017. In this position, she was a Member of Mohammed V-Agdal-Abu Dhabi University's board of trustees in Abu Dhabi, 2013- 2015 

Aside to that she became and still is one of the 3 women resident member (among thirty Moroccan resident members) of the Hassan II Academy of Sciences and Technology in Morocco. As well as a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

She is also one of the precursors of Morocco's official participation in the international collaboration ATLAS at CERN in Geneva in 1996. She is associated member of this collaboration. This collaboration confirmed the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles (discovery for which François Englert and Peter W. Higgs received The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013) through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle on 2012. This discovery has been enabled by the implementation of calorimeters, that are the vital sub-detectors of ATLAS since they enabled particles energy measurement. R. Cherkaoui had the opportunity to accompany the calorimeters during its phase of construction, simulation, test and launch. Now her contribution work focuses on data analysis of this experiment.

In 2014, she signed for a new adventure as the president of the Moroccan organizing committee of the francophone competition "My thesis in 180s” since 2014. As part of this competition, she was a member of the international jury of this competition in Paris in 2015 and she organized the international competition in Rabat in 2016.

On 2015 she received two awards: first, she was awarded the L'Oréal-Unesco Prize Women in Science, for Africa and the Arab States. She was also elected the woman of Year in Morocco by the magazine "Illi Des Libertés 2015".

This year, she was also appointed member of the International Council of Science (ICSU) Regional Office for Africa (ICSU / RCA) for three years.

In 2016, InterAcademy Council/InterAcademy Partnership for Research (IAP-R) nominated her as a member of the Committee on Harnessing Science, Engineering, and Medicine to Address Africa’s Challenges. In the same year, she was nominated member of the Board of the Moroccan Nuclear and Radiological Safety and Security Agency and member of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Foundation "Women for Africa" (Fundacion Mujeres por Africa). And her team became member of the KM3NET International Collaboration. KM3NeT is the next generation neutrino telescope.

She obtained the first prize of the largest publishing in science and technology, in "The 2nd Day of Scientific Research and Innovation of Mohammed V University" Friday, May 26, 2017.

All through the years, she has supervised 12 doctoral theses and is currently supervising 6. She has been a rapporteur and a jury member of 49 theses. And she also is co-author of more than 500 indexed scientific publications and member of several committees within the university and also at national level.

Finally, without departing from her scientific concerns, she participated in several cultural and professional associations, in particular President of the Moroccan Radiation (AMR) Association and Vice President of the Association of Engineers Nuclear Engineering (AIGAM) Association. 

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