The ERAFRICA consortium members and funding parties, representing 26 institutions from 16 countries gathered in Pretoria, South Africa to celebrate the successful conclusion of the European Commission-funded initialisation phase of the Europe-Africa collaboration in STI. The conclusion of the first phase of ERAFRICA will serve as springboard towards an even bigger and brighter future.
From 16 to 18 September 2014 the ERAFRICA consortium members and funding parties, representing 26 institutions from 16 countries gathered in Pretoria, South Africa to celebrate the successful conclusion of the European Commission-funded initialisation phase of the Europe-Africa collaboration in science, technology and innovation (STI). After almost four years of forging an equal intercontinental partnership, setting up instruments, regulations and procedures for the joint funding of collaborative research projects and designating funding themes based on shared national and institutional priorities, a rigorous process of solicitation, evaluation and selection resulted in the joint funding of 17 projects for three years and a total of more than 8 million euros. With this achievement, proudly represented at the conference by the project coordinators, the phase of ERAFRICA financed under, and regulated by, the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for STI comes to an end…but for the ERAFRICA partner countries, this is only the beginning.
Following three days of discussions on the road thus far, lessons learned and results achieved, and bolstered by a shared resolve not to let the unique partnership forged over the past four years fail to reach its full potential, the ERAFRICA funding parties unanimously endorsed the shared pursuit of a second phase of the project’s hitherto-successful operation. And while the exact nature of such a continuation remains to be determined, the majority of the existing partners have expressed their in-principle commitment to the launching of a second call for research proposals and the joint funding of a second round of collaborative STI projects between European and African research teams. In addition the ERAFRICA partner institutions committed themselves to the recruitment of even more countries and funding agencies to the current group of funding parties, the current communiqué being only the first element of a dedicated marketing and publicity drive to follow. Far from an ending therefore, the conclusion of the first phase of ERAFRICA will serve as springboard towards an even bigger and brighter future.
From the start ERAFRICA was designed to be a new kind of collaboration, a transnational partnership between Europe and Africa based on equal input from both sides and in terms of design, management and financing alike. Aimed at replacing previous donor-recipient models of development funding by putting all participants on an equal footing, ERAFRICA’s success thus far has proven the concept imminently workable and ready to be applied to a greatly expanded participation. To this end interested countries and institutions from both Europe and Africa are invited to express their interest and potential involvement to the ERAFRICA interim shared secretariat created to facilitate the project’s continuation, and that in the person of the European Coordinator, Dr Jean Albergel (firstname.lastname@example.org) and his African counterpart, Ms Mamohloding Tlhagale (email@example.com). More information can also be obtained by consulting the ERAFRICA website at www.erafrica.eu.