On 14 October 2015, the European Commission will publish the next Horizon 2020 calls for proposals for the years 2016 and 2017 for a total budget of €16 billion. One of the key features of the Horizon 2020 programme is that it is “Open to the world” meaning that almost all the calls for proposals are open to Rwandan and other African researchers collaborating with European researchers.
In addition, the calls for proposals for 2016 and 2017 contain many targeted actions addressing issues specific to certain regions of the world. These include a number of topics of particular interest to researchers in Rwanda and the rest of Africa, in health, agriculture and food security, ICT, energy, transport and research infrastructures (see below for details).
Horizon 2020 is a programme of the European Union (EU) for support to research that began in 2014 with a budget of €77 billion over 7 years. Already some 38 projects have been funded that involve African researchers working alongside researchers from Europe and other parts of the world.
In the previous programme – FP7, which ran from 2007 to 2013 – almost 600 projects involving African researchers were funded with grants totalling almost €200 million.
Under Horizon 2020, researchers from developing countries involved in projects are eligible for full funding of all relevant costs. Grants are awarded mainly to collaborative research projects that must involve European researchers who can work with researchers from any other part of the world; these projects must respond directly to the published calls for proposals; applications can only be submitted through the “Participant Portal” web site; all projects are peer-reviewed by independent experts as a basis to select the best ones for funding.
Research opportunities in 2016 and 2017 include:
In Health: a topic on vaccine development for malaria and/or neglected infectious diseases.
In Agriculture & Food, 3 complementary topics will support the implementation of the EU-AFRICA Partnership of Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture: 1) EU-Africa research and innovation partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture; 2) Promoting food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture in Africa: the role of innovation; 3) Earth observation services for the monitoring of agricultural production in Africa.
In Information and Communications Technologies (ICT): International partnership building in low and middle income countries (target region: Sub-Saharan Africa) to address needs of end-user communities. This may include technological improvement and adaptations, as well as innovative service creation based on existing technologies.
In Transport: a Euro-African initiative on road safety and traffic management.
In Energy, a study on a comprehensive EU approach as regards international cooperation in the energy area – the R&I perspective (including Africa).
In research infrastructures: policy and international cooperation measures.
In addition, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) include Individual Fellowships (IF) and Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE). Individual Fellowships offer researchers from anywhere in the world the possibility to spend some time in a European research institution, or for European researchers to spend some time abroad.
All documents related to the calls for proposals, including the work programmes for each part of the Horizon 2020 programme and sources of support, are available on the “Participant Portal” web site: ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal
Summaries of the FP7 participation of many African countries are available online: eeas.europa.eu/delegations/african_union/eu_african_union/research_innovation/fp7- projects/index_en.htm
Source: EU Delegation to Rwanda