African Union-European Union cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation
On September 12th 2018, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, gave his State of the Union Address to the European Parliament. During the speech, he referred to Africa as Europe’s “twin continent” and declared: “We (African Union and European Commission) agreed that reciprocal commitments are the way forward. We want to build a new partnership with Africa.” But what exactly is the current partnership between Africa and Europe, especially on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)? And what are the current opportunities?
Currently, six calls with a focus on Africa have been published on the Funding & tender opportunities portal of the European Commission (5 open and 1 forthcoming). They focus on:
- Blue Growth (sustainable harvesting of resources from the seas, oceans and inland water): All Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Flagship. Deadline: 23/01/2019
- Sustainable Food Security: Food Systems Africa. Deadline: 23/01/2019; and A vaccine against African swine fever. Deadline: 23/01/2019
- Supporting more sustainable ways of agricultural productions and empowerment of small producers: Sustainable Intensification in Africa. Deadline: 23/01/2019
- Fighting Climate Change: Human Dynamics of climate change. Deadline: 19/02/2019
- Secure, clean and efficient energy (focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future): Bioclimatic approaches for improving energy performance in buildings in Africa and Europe. Opening: 12/03/2019
The next round of African Union Research Grants has not been published yet, but is expected to come out in the first quarter of 2019. To apply for these calls, visit this website for the European Union and this one for the African Union. These pages have regular updates and important information, which can be leveraged using the BiomassNet website and Dgroup to look for cooperation partners.
The African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) cooperation is implemented through the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). With regard to STI, the JAES is assisted by the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) that identifies mutual areas of interest and implements long-term priorities to strengthen the African-European cooperation on STI. In 2016 and 2017, two priorities were identified and approved by the AU and the EU:
- Roadmap toward a jointly funded EU-Africa research & innovation partnership with a focus on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (2016)
This roadmap has a focus on sustainable intensification agriculture and food systems for nutrition, and expansion and improvement of agricultural markets and trade. It also considers cross-cutting issues.
- Roadmap toward a jointly funded EU-Africa research & innovation partnership on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (2017)
This roadmap aims to provide a long-term framework for cooperation on Research and Innovation for jointly-funded climate and energy projects that will allow actors from Africa and Europe to work together on these issues.
Moreover, the two roadmaps serve as guideline for the current and future STI cooperation between the AU and the EU and will offer support for researchers, policy makers and private sector via several calls through the AU and EU funding mechanisms.
Author: Arthur Guischet