12 December 2018
The Research and Innovation event ICT 2018 was co-organised by DG CONNECT of the European Commission and the Austrian Presidency in Austria Centre Vienna on 04 - 06 December 2018. It provided an opportunity for projects funded by DG CONNECT (based on a competitive call for proposals) and national governments to share their results. It incorporated a conference programme sharing insights into policy issues, sessions focused on specific Horizon 2020 Calls, networking sessions and an Exhibition sharing results from over 100 Horizon 2020 funded projects.
IST-Africa successfully applied to organise a Networking Session in the Program and a demonstration stand in the Exhibition.
ESASTAP organised a networking session to showcase EU-South Africa Cooperation on ICT on 04 December 2018. Ms Vinny Pillay, Senior Science and Technology Representative to the EU, Department of Science and Technology South Africa opened the session. She highlighted the national context in South Africa referring to the National Development plan and White Paper on Science and Technology, which both highlight the importance to ICT to support a knowledge based economy.
Dr Faidra Diona, Policy Officer, DG Research and Innovation discussed how ICT can support implementation of initiatives in Africa including the Partnerships on Food Security and Climate change. She highlighted that ICT solutions can support bringing project results closer to the market. She mentioned a new initiative to support Innovation, which will commence in 2019 focused on supporting networking between African and EU Accelerators, technology transfer and capacity building among African Tech Entrepreneurs. The new framework program, which is under development, will have 100 billion euro in funding. It will focus on Open Science, Open Innovation addressing Global challenges and industrial competitiveness. International Cooperation will remain a priority.
Miriam Cunningham presented IST-Africa results. Miriam highlighted the very successful ICT-39-2015 and ICT-39-2017 Calls for which IST-Africa provided the evidence to secure the necessary funding. These calls focused on addressing African ICT and Innovation-related research challenges based on end user requirements. She provided an overview of African participation to date in Horizon 2020, with over €91.9 million in research funding going into African research organisations up to September 2018, of which 76% is in IST-Africa partner countries. Miriam provided insights into the mapping of research capacity and Innovation Spaces that IST-Africa has undertaken and resources that can be downloaded from
Miriam invited participants to submit papers under the IST-Africa 2019 Call for Papers which closed on 21 December. Miriam also invited participants to attend the IST-Africa Networking Session focused on "Building Research Partnerships addressing African Societal Challenges" on 05 December.
Six presenters from South Africa representing Stellenbosch University, University of Johannesburg, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, University of KwaZulu-Natal and CSIR presented ongoing research in the areas of photonics, next generation wireless networks, Technology-enhanced learning and biometrics.
Mr Tonnie Erik de Koster, Advisor in charge of international outreach of the EU's Digital Single Market, DG CONNECT indicated that he had found the session to be interesting providing examples of how digital can break down barriers and offer possibilities to leap frog. He highlighted the opportunities provided under Horizon 2020 to cooperate on a cross border basis and build skills and networks.
Dimitris Filippidis, ESASTAP Coordinator / PRAXI Network thanked the presenters for the insights shared and the participants for their active engagement.
IST-Africa organised a Networking session focused on Building Research Partnerships addressing African Societal Challenges on Wednesday 05 December This session shared results from IST-Africa research. It aimed to: (a) bring together key stakeholders currently involved in technology enabled research and innovation activities across Africa and with Africa; (b) engage with those interested in learning how their research and innovation expertise could address societal challenges in resource constrained environments (which can be found in Europe as well as Africa); (c) share lessons learnt and opportunities identified based on Horizon 2020 funded projects involving Africa (including projects funded under the ICT-39-2015 and ICT-39-2017 Calls; and (d) identify potential technology enabled research and innovation opportunities for resource constrained environments to inform the Horizon Europe work programme.
Miriam Cunningham provided a context for the session, which is focused on cooperation between Europe and Africa. Miriam introduced Loi Namugenyi, Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and ICT NCP for Uganda; Gift Kadzamira, National Commission for Science and Techology and NCP for Malawi and Jacob Njagih, Ministry of Education and ICT NCP for Kenya.
Loi provided an introduction to IST-Africa, which is a not-for-profit strategic partnership between IIMC, Ireland and Ministries and National Councils responsible for Innovation, Science and Technology in 17 African Member States. It was founded in 2002 and the network has significantly expanded over the years. Loi summarised the activities IST-Africa has undertaken and impact to date.
Gift provided an overview of African participation to date in Horizon 2020 and the results from the ICT-39-2015 and ICT-39-2017 calls. She presented the mapping of Research capacity and Innovation Spaces undertaken and how these can be used to identify relevant partners in IST-Africa partner countries.
Jacob presented the resources that are available to download to assist in identifying Horizon 2020 calls and reference documents to support a better understanding of ongoing activities in IST-Africa partner countries. He invited the participants to submit papers under the IST-Africa 2019 Call for papers, which closes on 21 December.
Miriam provided a more detailed insight into the projects funded under ICT-39-2015 and ICT-39-2017. Four Research and Innovation actions were funded under ICT-39-2015:
- mHealth4Afrika (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa) - Integrated Electronic Health Records for Resource Constrained Environments
- DMC-MALVEC (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia) - Automated diagnostic platform, data management system and innovative communication tool, for improving the impact of malaria vector control interventions
- Its4land (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda) - land tenure recording tools
- WAZIUP (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo) - IoT for Agriculture
Six Innovation Actions focused on cooperation with Africa were funded under ICT-39-2017:
- Go-GA (Nigeria, Kenya, Benin) - adaptation of Go-Lab Learning ecosystem (STEM)
- EPICA (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) - ePortfolio, Skills
- SAMS (Ethiopia) - Remote sensing technology to support beekeepers
- FANFAR (Niger, Nigeria) - Flood forecasting and alerts in West Africa
- WAZIHUB (Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda) - IoT Innovation Program
- ISOOKO (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda) - digital technologies to support peace education
Miriam presented mini cases on mHealth4Afrika, WAZIUP / WAZIHUB, EPICA, SAMS and ISOOKO providing insights into objectives and achievements to date.
The presentation can be downloaded from
The session was well attended with participants from a range of countries. A number of the participants had been involved in proposal submitted under ICT-39-2017 and were interested to learn more about the projects that were selected for funding. Some participants presented project ideas to get feedback from the group. Other questions related to how engagement can be undertaken with a specific African country, how mechanisms can be added into upcoming agricultural focused call and how entrepreneurship can be supported?
IST-Africa and mHealth4Afrika had a demonstration stand (Stand number: INCO7) in the International Cooperation section of the Exhibition on Level 1 in Austria Centre Vienna. There was quite a lot of interest, with many ICT 2018 participants visiting the stand during the event to learn more about African engagement in Horizon 2020, upcoming calls and to learn more about mHealth4Afrika activities.