11 May 2015
Hosted by the Government of Malawi through the National Commission for Science and Technology, and Supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC), IST-Africa 2015 (May) was the tenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences, which took place in Lilongwe, Malawi from 05 - 08 May 2015.
IST-Africa provides a platform in Africa to strengthen Innovation, Science and Technology related policy dialogues within Africa and between Africa and Europe, supporting the goals of Africa-EU Strategic Partnership. IST-Africa is a unique community that brings together cross disciplinary stakeholders from public, private, education and research, societal sector with end user communities focused on ICT and STI Research and Innovation.
IST-Africa 2015 supported Knowledge Sharing and Networking between over 400 participants from 40 countries over four days - this has a significant impact in supporting future collaborative research and innovation cooperation.
The IST-Africa Living Lab Working Group Meeting on 05 May focused on issues related to mHealth and ICT Entrepreneurship with more than 60 delegates from Africa and Europe. It introduced the concepts of Living Labs methodologies in Malawi. It demonstrated how Living Lab methodologies can be used to support Action Research and encourage greater Innovation cooperation between end user communities and public, private, Higher Education Institutions and NGOs.
IST-Africa 2015 commenced with an Opening Plenary and Roundtable on Wednesday morning, which facilitated high level policy discussion on issues related to Information Society and Knowledge Economy - provided interesting insights for delegates in relation to implementation challenges.
Mr Morten Moller of the European Commission provided interesting insights into outputs from initial calls of Horizon 2020, the strong response to the ICT-39-2015 call and role of Research and Innovation to address societal challenges
The Scientific Programme incorporated 34 parallel sessions with over 160 presentations from 38 countries focused on International Cooperation, eHealth, Technology-enhanced Learning, eGovernment, eInfrastructure, ICT4D, Cyber Security, eAgriculture, Digital Libraries and eInclusion. Sessions were very interactive in nature with high level of knowledge sharing and discussion around results presented.
Over 90 papers were published in the Proceedings following a double blind peer review process. This provides an opportunity for the IST-Africa Community to learn more about the results and follow up with authors irrespective of whether they were able to physically attend the event or not as Proceedings are published via the Paper Repository on IST-Africa portal following the event to ensure availability to the whole community. IST-Africa Paper Repository is the largest repository of double blind peer reviewed research papers focused on cooperation with Africa.
Authors with accepted papers who physically presented results during IST-Africa 2015 will also had the opportunity to disseminate their paper in the IST-Africa Proceedings published through IEEE Xplore to reach a wider constituency.
The Closing Plenary focused on Innovation and Research Capacity in Malawi with interactive discussion among senior leadership of main Higher Education Institutions, which was the first time this has happened in Malawi
Hosting IST-Africa 2015 facilitated the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) to engage with all relevant stakeholders involved in ICT and STI Research and Innovation across the public, private, education and research and societal sectors. This had a high impact at national level.
With the support provided through IST-Africa, key representatives from public, private, education and research and societal sectors in Malawi were identified and supported to participate and share their results during IST-Africa 2015. This builds on previous IST-Africa Horizon 2020 Workshops in Malawi and brings the level of knowledge sharing to a new level. This is the first time Malawi has hosted a Research Conference of the scale of IST-Africa with national and international participants.
Honourable Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Malawi requested that "the European Commission and African Union Commission commit the necessary resources required by the IST-Africa team to continue its excellent work in strengthening the research and innovation capacity of African universities, informing policy, supporting wider adoption of Open Innovation and ICT entrepreneurship and helping African research and innovation stakeholders attract funding under Horizon 2020".