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EU-Africa research cooperation intensifies

On her visit to South Africa to mark the 15th anniversary of the European Union (EU)-South Africa Science and Technology cooperation agreement, the European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner – Máire Geoghegan-Quinn – announced two important initiatives to strengthen the scientific cooperation between Europe and Africa.

The first initiative, launched on 2 November, is a three-year bilateral project entitled European-South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme (ESASTAP Plus), worth EUR 1.8 million. This project aims to reinforce the participation of South African researchers in EU funded projects, but also to strengthen reciprocal EU scientists’ participation in South African national programmes. In addition, the ESASTAP Plus includes a consortium of European countries (Greece, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland) with the aim of “coordinating member states and associated countries’ research policies and programmes vis-à-vis South Africa and encouraging the development of new joint initiatives”.

The second initiative was launched on 6 November. It concerns the agreement of 15 European and African countries to jointly fund collaborative research projects. The European countries involved are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey. The African countries taking part in the agreement are Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. These countries will fund research in the amount of, at least, EUR 11 million, from which the African countries will contribute nearly EUR 4 million. The research areas targeted by this funding include agriculture, health, climate change and energy, and are grouped under three headings: “renewable energy”, “interfacing challenges” and “idea driven research”. The calls for projects will be launched in mid-January 2013.

European Commission - ESASTAP Plus European Commission – Europe-Africa joint research funding