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Africa-EU Science and Technology Cooperation in H2020: a theme at the Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT


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2013-12-12 20:07:04 - Addis Ababa: The “2013 Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT” took place on December 2-3, 2013 at the African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The event was organised in the framework of the AUC Internet/ICT Week held from December 2-6, 2013 in Addis Ababa to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) / African Union (AU).

Africa and Europe have recognised that the development of Science, Technology and Innovation
(STI) and the spreading of Information Communication technologies (ICT) to all components of a society are key.

With a wide range of themes explored, including e-Learning, e-Health, e-Governance, e-Infrastructures, Living Labs, RECs, etc., the Forum was an opportunity for participants to develop international, cross-cutting contacts and enhance their knowledge and expertise.

The ‘2013 Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT’ was the sixth of a series of very successful conferences organised

by the EuroAfrica-ICT Initiative under the aegis of the European Commission (EC) and the African Union Commission (AUC). Hosted by the African Union, this year’s conference was organised with the support of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) of Egypt.

One of the Consortiums of the Forum was the Joint AERAP -PAERIP Workshop. The Workshop included themes and discussions on: the Outcomes and Recommendations of The Promoting African – European Research Infrastructure Partnerships (PAERIP) Project; The African‐European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP); Prioritising Research Infrastructures in Kenya: approaches and benefits; and Africa‐EU cooperation opportunities on RIs in Horizon 2020.

Speakers of the workshop included:
Avhapfani Rasemphe: Deputy Director: Global Projects, Department of Science and Technology ‐ South Africa;
Declan Kirrane: Managing Director, ISC Intelligence in Science ‐ Belgium;
Eric Mwangi: Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MoHEST) & African Coordinator, CAAST‐Net ‐ Kenya; and
Stéphane Hogan: EU Science Counselor to the African Union, European Union Delegation ‐ Ethiopia

Mr Declan Kirrane, ISC, presented on AERAP and ICT and Big Data for Radio Astronomy. The presentation focused on the need for data flow, processing and storage.

The AERAP is a stakeholder forum of representatives from industry, academia and the public sector. Established in May 2012, it aims to define and implement priorities for radio astronomy cooperation between Europe and Africa. The overall goals of the platform are to leverage radio astronomy, advance scientific discovery, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate competitiveness across both continents.

The next key steps of AERAP which were discussed at the workshop include:

-Establishing radio astronomy for science capacity in Africa as a topic for the Greek and Italian Council presidency in 2013/2014; and

-Coordinating the preparation of “AERAP” proposals for H2020, Erasmus+ and other funding opportunities.

The PAERIP project aims to create a dedicated initiative to promote research infrastructure partnerships between Europe and Africa, and it is supported by the significant political attention on promoting science and technology partnerships between the European Union and Africa. The Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy, adopted by Heads of Government of both continents at the December 2007 Lisbon Summit, notably includes a dedicated Science, Information Society and Space initiative.

Mr Rasemphe’s presentation, “Outcomes and Recommendations to enhance African – European research infrastructure (RI) partnerships” highlighted the overall aim of PAERIP and its policy recommendations:

-To explore current and existing areas of RI cooperation, and then identify potential areas for enhancing future EU-AU RI partnerships; and

-To make policy recommendation on enhancing EU-AU RI cooperation

PAERIP’s policy recommendations:

-Research infrastructures should be a priority focus of bi-regional Africa-EU cooperation in science, technology and innovation;
-A roadmap for Africa-Europe research infrastructure cooperation should be developed and approved by relevant stakeholders, especially large-scale facilities; and
-Cooperation in research infrastructures as a theme should be promoted as part of the broader Africa-EU Science and Technology cooperation in the H2020

Mr Rasemphe also presented the following major outcomes of the project:

-RI Inventory (database) developed;
-Socio-economic impact report;
-Funding instruments analysis; and
-Policy recommendations on enhancing EU-AU RI cooperation

Mr Rasemphe said at the workshop, “The most important reason for supporting PAERIP’s existence is that, several collaborative efforts are currently being implemented under this EU-AU Partnership, with the support of the African Union Commission, the European Commission and African and European Union Member States. None of these initiatives are, however, specifically addressing research infrastructures except the targeted intervention to build high-speed research networking capacities in selected African countries under the AfricaConnect project.”

In addition, Dr Eric Mwangi presented, “prioritizing research infrastructure in Kenya”, an indication of the impact the PAERIP project has had in other African countries.

Over 200 delegates attended the Forum, which included: ICT experts, policy and decision makers, heads of stakeholder institutions and international organisations, and academia from Africa and Europe.

Although the Forum focused on ICT Cooperation, Mr Rasemphe noted, “It provided an opportunity to network with likeminded officials from various institutions. It was an ideal platform to broaden networks, also to see how other EU-AU projects are managed and how they impact and develop our continents.”

A key message from the participants of the Joint AERAP-PAERIP Workshop is that there is still a need to market both the PAERIP project & AERAP initiative. For example, wider dissemination of the PAERIP project outcomes in order to obtain continental collaboration on the future activities of the project.

Major announcements on AERAP and PAERIP future initiatives will be made on their websites. African-European researchers, government officials and representatives of research institutions are urged to visit www.aerap.org and www.paerip.org on a regular basis for updates.

For further information on the 2013 Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT: www.euroafrica-ict.org


Media Enquiries

Jessica Hadjis
ISC Intelligence in Science
Email: jessica.hadjis@iscintelligence.com
Phone: +32 2 88 88 110
Mob: +32 487 163 107

Editor’s Note

The African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP)

AERAP is a response to the calls of the European Parliament, through the adoption of the Written Declaration 45/2011, and of the Heads of State of the African Union, through their decision “Assembly/AU/Dec.407 CXVIII”, for radio astronomy to be a priority focus area for Africa—EU cooperation. AERAP is a new stakeholder forum of industry, academia and the public sector established to define and implement priorities for radio astronomy cooperation between Africa and Europe. The overall goals of the platform are to leverage radio astronomy, advance scientific discovery, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate competitiveness across both continents. The platform will also enable effective dialogue to build a shared vision for international cooperation in radio astronomy.

Further information on AERAP: www.aerap.org

Promoting African – European Research Infrastructure Partnerships (PAERIP)

PAERIP is a project funded under FP7 (Theme INFRA-2010-3.2). The project will create a dedicated initiative to promote research infrastructure partnerships between Europe and Africa. There is currently significant political attention on promoting science and technology partnerships between the European Union and Africa. The Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy, adopted by Heads of Government at the December 2007 Lisbon Summit, notably includes a dedicated Science, Information Society and Space initiative. Several collaborative efforts are currently being implemented under this Partnership, with the support of the African Union Commission, the European Commission and African and European Union Member States.

Further information: www.paerip.org/

Horizon2020

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. Running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of just over €70 billion1, the EU’s new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

Horizon 2020 provides major simplification through a single set of rules. It will combine all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Further information on Horizon 2020: ec.europa.eu/research/horizon2020/index_en.cfm?pg=home


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Author:
Pilar Gomez
e-mail
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