Horizon 2020 - ICT-39-2017 Call for Innovation Actions focused on sub-Saharan African end-user community needs

15 August 2016

The Horizon 2020 ICT-39-2017 call is focused on research cooperation between Europe and Africa with a focus on addressing end-user requirements in sub-Saharan African countries through Innovation Actions.

In the context of a cross-border validation, if you need assistance in identifying partners in other African countries, please let us know what skills are required. It will be necessary to also validate that the project focus is relevant at national level in other demonstration countries.

Please bear in mind that it takes 6 - 8 months to co-design a compelling project that is cross-border in focus, addresses the Call and to identify relevant complementary African and European partners who will participate in the development of the final project. As a result we strongly recommend that if your organisation is interested in this opportunity that you start the preparation as early as possible.


The Horizon 2020 ICT-39-2017 call is focused on research cooperation between Europe and Africa with a focus on addressing end-user requirements in sub-Saharan African countries through Innovation Actions.

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. 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.


- Development/adaptation of relevant technologies responding to specific needs of target countries;

- Sustainable uptake of results beyond project completion date;

- Reinforced international cooperation on ICT R&D with low and middle income countries, focussing on areas that are beneficial to the target countries/regions.


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 3 European partners from different Member States in addition to the relevant African partners.


Horizon 2020 projects are based on a grant with reimbursement of actual costs (personnel rates from payroll, necessary equipment and travel). Innovation Actions reimburse eligible direct costs (personnel, travel etc) at a rate of 70% (except for non-profit legal entities including public universities where a rate of 100% reimbursement applies) plus a flat rate of 25% to cover indirect costs.

Given the primary focus on demonstration and market validation, Innovation Actions are typically 18 - 24 months in duration. The total funding available per proposal is between 1 - 2 million euro to cover all activities and partners. It is necessary to keep this in mind while considering the scale of the activities.


IST-Africa has prepared a number of support documents, which we recommend that you download:

ICT-39-2017 Overview

IST-Africa Horizon 2020 Guide

This guide to Horizon 2020 is designed to support newcomers to Horizon 2020 to better understand the structure, rules and expectations. Chapter 1 provides a short introduction to Horizon 2020, the role of International Cooperation including insights into African participation under FP7 and Horizon 2020 to date and summarises the key differences between FP7 and Horizon 2020. Chapter 2 provides more details in relation to Research Areas, Participation Rules, Funding Instruments and African participation under initial calls of Horizon 2020. Chapter 3 provides insights into a number of preparatory steps that need to be considered prior to preparing a proposal for submission under Horizon 2020. These include identification of relevant research areas and calls, identification of complementary partners and correct funding instrument.

IST-Africa Report on ICT Initiatives and Research Capacity in IST-Africa partner countries

This report provides an overview of the current ICT Initiatives, Research Capacity, mapping of thematic priorities and research capacity in the context of the ICT-39 H2020 Call and updated mapping of research priorities under Horizon 2020 in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda as at January 2016. ISBN No: 978-1-905824-47-2. This is a valuable reference report to assist in identifying partners for inclusion in ICT-39 Proposals.

IST-Africa Project Repository provides insights in previous EU funded projects with participation from IST-Africa partner countries


IST-Africa Organisational Repository provides insights into organisations from Europe and IST-Africa partner countries who have cooperated in previous EU projects


IST-Africa Paper Repository provides access to research papers published in IST-Africa Conference Proceedings since 2006 including contact details for researchers