Today, the European Commission launched a call for proposals entirely dedicated to research for Africa.
Africa continues to face serious challenges to sustain its development and research can develop solutions. This special initiative for Africa will address some of the science and technology objectives included in the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership agreed on by the European Commission and the African Union Commission in December 2007. Up to €63 million will be allocated to research projects in 2010 aiming to improve health conditions, and water and food security in Africa. Supported research activities will involve African partners, with the aim to strengthen Africa’s research base.
EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik said: ” With this “Africa call” we are turning words into actions. The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership is harnessing the potential of science and technology to meet the water, food security and health challenges of Africa. It is getting researchers from Europe and Africa to work together in the true spirit of this Partnership; we are working not only for, but with Africa”.
Promoting cooperation between complementary research areas
This call for proposals is the first one entirely dedicated research initiative for Africa under the EU’s Framework Programme for research (FP7). It brings together several funding Themes under FP7: Health (€39 million), Environment (€17.5 million) and Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology (€6.5 million). The projects selected will involve these various scientific and technological research fields and will also take into account broader socio-economic factors such as migration and resettlement, urbanisation, health care systems, variation of food and energy prices, etc.
Two major issues: “Water and Food Security” and “Better Health for Africa”
The “Africa Call” is structured around two major issues:
“Water and Food Security”: The projects selected will strive to ensure both safe drinking water and good sanitation and hygiene. They will aim to revitalise agriculture, promote more sustainable production systems and ensure food security. They will also address Africa’s vulnerability to the expected climate change impacts by setting up early warning and forecasting systems to address risks such as droughts or vector-borne diseases.
“Better Health for Africa”: The projects selected will focus on reducing the malaria disease burden, improving early diagnosis and treatment of the most frequent infection-related cancers, improving maternal and newborn health, assessing migrant health and addressing the shortage of healthcare personnel.
Collaborative research and capacity-building
All projects will involve local stakeholders. Depending on the project, at least 2 or 3 partners must be established in an African country. The projects selected will foster capacity-building through the promotion of academic research and training, the setting up of networks, and the building of sustainable capacity for research for health.
An information Day on 18th September 2009
EU Commissioner Potočnik and a representative from the African Union will open the Information Day on the “Africa call”. Ongoing activities in support of Africa and future prospects in the field of research within the EU-African Strategic Partnership will be presented.
The European Commission (EC) and the African Union Commission (AUC) representing 53 African States agreed on an EU / Africa Strategic Partnership during the EU/AU Summit in Lisbon in December 2007. 8 thematic partnerships were identified, the 8th of these being the partnership for Science, Information Society, and Space. In the framework of this 8th Partnership, 19 priority “lighthouse” project areas have already been identified and developed by the African Union. This call covers some of the early deliverables amongst those project areas. The partnership is not only between two Commissions, but also with the 27 and 53 Member States on the two continents, and it is intended to provide a framework for co-ordinated support and delivery of research.