IST-Africa - Horizon 2020 Training Workshop, Lilongwe, Malawi 28 November 2016

30 November 2016

The National Commission for Science and Technology, as the IST-Africa Initiative partner in Malawi, organised the IST-Africa Horizon 2020 Workshop in Lilongwe on 28 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 Chancellor College, University of Malawi (Computer Science Department, eLearning Centre), UbuntuNet Alliance, University of Malawi Polytechnic (CIT), Malawi University of Science and Technology (Department of Applied Studies, Department of Natural Resources, Department of ICT as a Service), Exploits University, D-Tree International, LUANAR (Department of Computer Science), Mzuzi University, College of Medicine (University of Malawi), National Commission for Science and Technology (Communication and Information Services Department, Documentation Department, IT Department), Kamuzu College of Nursing (University of Malawi), Ministry of Communications (eGovernment Department), Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Agricultural Research, Chitedze Research Station), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education Science and Technology and Ministry of Environmental Affairs.

The workshop was opened by Anthony Muyepa-Phiri, DG, NCST and Mr Patrick Mphadzula, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education Science and Technology on behalf of the Secretary of Education. Anthony highlighted that the outcomes of this workshop will strengthen the research and innovation capacity of universities in Malawi, informing policy, supporting wider adoption of Open Innovation and ICT entrepreneurship and helping African research and innovation stakeholders attract funding under Horizon 2020.

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: include Technology-enhanced Education, Energy, Health and Nutrition, Agriculture and Food Security, Environment including Water, Sanitation and Climate Change and eGovernment..

Malawi was represented in 20 FP7 projects bringing in research funding of over 3 million euro and to date has been involved in 6 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 including Irrigation Management, Agroclimatology, Natural Resources and Environmental issues related to Climate Change; eHealth including Telemedicine; Technology-enhanced Learning; eGovernment and Renewable 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