IST-Africa - Horizon 2020 Training Workshop, Swaziland, 02 November 2016

07 November 2016

The Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT), as the IST-Africa Initiative partner in Swaziland, organised the IST-Africa Horizon 2020 Workshop in University of Swaziland (Luyengo Campus) on 02 November 2016 in cooperation with IIMC (IST-Africa coordinator). the University of Swaziland and Royal Science Technology Park. This workshop was specifically focused on ICT-39 International partnership building in low and middle-income countries Call with a deadline of 25 April 2017.

The workshop was well attended with participants from University of Swaziland (Faculty of Commerce, Department of Geography, Environment Science; Department of Computer Science; Department of Physics; Department of Agriculture and Extension, Department of Farmer Science); Limpkoking University; Swaziland Christian University; Swaziland Institute of Management and Public Administration (SIMPA); Ministry of Education and Training (ICT Inspector; Science and Maths Inspectors in Science Education); Ministry of Agriculture (Research Dept); Ministry of Health (Laboratories, Research Unit); Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources; Ministry of ICT (Department of Research, Department of Computer Services); MNRE; Ministry of Economic Planning; Ngwane Teachers College; Swaziland Environment Authority; Swaziland Standardisation Authority; Swaziland National Archives; SNLS; SWASA; UNESCO National Commission; Royal Science and Technology Park (Incubation Department, Biotechnology Park) and William Pitcher College.

The workshop was formally opened by Prof Mgioli Dlamini, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Swaziland and closed by Mr S Dlamini, PS of MICT.

Each organisation presented their current research capacity and areas of most interest for International Cooperation. This knowledge exchange at national level was very interesting for the participants as they were able to identify potential synergies in relation to future research. Areas of thematic interest include Areas of thematic interest include Agriculture (Food and Nutrition Security, land degradation and soil erosion and impact on Food security; GIS; Supporting value chain from production to consumption in Agriculture (water use efficiency, post harvest handling); Biotechnology for Agriculture); eHealth (TB, HIV, biotechnology, verification studies with communities, getting results back to facilities from communities and vice versa); eLearning (Blended learning, Distance learning, Science Education in the classroom; Digital Education in Schools; Curriculum in Science education; Supporting digital literacy); Energy & Environment (use of ICT to support Environment; Renewable Energy; Climate change and green house gases); eGovernment; Cloud Computing; Digital media; Chemistry in Space; Indigenous Knowledge; Digital Inclusion (how can rural and older people leverage ICT) and eCommerce.

During FP7, over €171.5 million in research funding was received across 45 African Member States. As at November 2015, there were 107 participants from 25 African MS in 48 H2020 Projects bringing research funding of €17 million into African research institutions in the first year of Horizon 2020. To date there has been 185 participations from 31 African Member States. Swaziland was represented in three FP7 projects and one Horizon 2020 project to date. It is important to leverage this track record and research contacts outside Swaziland in the context of Innovation Actions under ICT-39-2017.

Following a presentation on the focus of the ICT-39-2017 Call, the participants broke into smaller groups to identify end-user needs, key stakeholders to be consulted, key stakeholders that would be directly involved in the Innovation activities and other relevant African countries for the following themes: Agriculture, Education, Health and Energy.

Click here to download the full workshop report.

Focus of ICT-39-2017 Call

The Horizon 2020 ICT-39-2017 Call for Proposals (deadline 25 April 2017) provides a unique opportunity for African institutions undertaking Research and Innovation to co-design an Innovation Action based on addressing end-user requirements in sub-Saharan African countries in cooperation with European partners.

Innovation Actions are focused on technological improvements/adaptations as well as innovative service creation based on existing technologies. Activities should be led by a clearly defined user need/market opportunity for the technology being adapted based on requirements of sub-Saharan African countries identified through co-design . It is therefore necessary to identify a project focus that is relevant in a number of countries from the same region with a sustainability plan for wider roll out following successful validation and project funding.

Proposals should feature an explicit element exploring technology adoption, through understanding and evaluating behavioural responses to the introduction of new technologies in different regional settings. Societal and gender issues will be taken into account.

Based on the focus of this call it will be necessary to ensure that there are multidisciplinary teams - thematic experts in the target domain as well as ICT experts. Based on a number of African countries being involved, it is also necessary to co-design a proposal that addresses a common challenge at national level, that can be validated in a number of scenarios in the different countries.

Innovation Actions have limited research and development related to adaptation of existing technology . It is expected that any research related to the challenge to be addressed and understanding of the state of the art in the thematic area is already undertaken and demonstrated in the proposal submitted. Since demonstration and market validation is the primary focus of an Innovation Action, the consortium must demonstrate relevant links with end-user communities who will be involved in the validation process and this needs to be clearly demonstrated in the proposal submitted.

Horizon 2020 proposals are submitted by a consortia, which brings together necessary complementary expertise to address the project focus from Africa and Europe. It is a requirement of the funding instrument that there are a minimum of 3 European partners from 3 different Member States in addition to the relevant African partners. Horizon 2020 projects are based on a grant to the legal entity who is the partner providing reimbursement of actual costs (personnel rates from payroll, necessary equipment and travel).

Expected Impacts :

- Development of relevant technology responding to specific needs and conditions of the target country;

- Sustainable uptake of results within the targeted countries, beyond the project completion date;

- Reinforced international dimension of the ICT and Innovation aspects of Horizon 2020 and a higher level of international cooperation with low and middle income countries in ICT R&D and Innovation, focusing on areas that are beneficial to the target countries/region;

Type of Action: Innovation Action (18 months - 2 years in duration)

Funding per proposal: 1 - 2 million euro

Deadline: 25 April 2017