IST-Africa - Horizon 2020 Training Workshop, Gaborone, Botswana, 17 November 2016

22 November 2016

DTPS, Ministry of Transport and Communications, as the IST-Africa Initiative partner in Botswana, organised the IST-Africa Horizon 2020 Workshop in Travel Lodge, Gaborone on 17 November 2016 in cooperation with IIMC (IST-Africa coordinator). 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 Botswana (Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Department of Computer Science, Department of Environmental Science, Mobile Data Labs), Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Department of Animal Sciences and production, Department of Engineering, Department of Economics and Extension), Institute of Development Management, ABM - University College, Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), BIPA, BCET, CEDA, National Museum, Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), BOCRA, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Department of Research Science and Technology, Department of Information Technology, Department of Postal and Communications, National Vet Lab, Roads, TPS, Department of Tourism, AgriBusiness Botswana, Centre for Applied Research.

The workshop was opened by Mr John Vassiliadis, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communications and closed by Mr Itumeleng Batsalelwang, Director, DTPS.

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 included: eAgriculture & Food Security; e(m)Health; Water Resources, Energy and Tourism.

Botswana was represented in 9 FP7 projects bringing in research funding of over €826,000 and to date has been involved in 3 Horizon 2020 projects. Workshop participants were encouraged to leverage this successful track record to date and take advantage of opportunities for Innovation Actions under the ICT-39-2017 Call.

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: eAgriculture & Food Security; eHealth; Water Resources, Energy and Tourism.

Mr Itumeleng Batsalelwang, Director, DTPS highlighted that it is important that Botswana takes advantage of opportunities under the ICT-39-2017 Call to build research collaboration links that support development in the country and to raise the profile of the country as a player in the area of research and innovation. He outlined that the level of response to participate in this training workshop is a very positive sign and the next step is now to start preparing concepts around which proposals can be co-designed in consultation with end user communities and to leverage existing relationships to build consortia.

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