Category: Latest News

European Research Council Webinars for researchers in Africa

The European Research Council (ERC) is hosting webinars for researchers in Africa relating to ERC’s grant schemes, grantee’s experiences and evaluators perspectives.

Two ERC webinars (one in English and one in French), being held jointly with the EU Delegation to the African Union based in Addis Ababa, will take place on the 10th and 11th of November for researchers in Africa who are interested in applying for an ERC grant.

Webinar details

Webinar 1 – English Language:10 November 2020 – 10h00 – 12h00 CET
  Click here to access the webinar.
Webinar 2 – French Language: 11 November 2020 – 17h00  to 19h00 UCT +1
Click here to access the webinar
Organisers: European Research Council in cooperation with the EU Delegation to the African Union

ERC President, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, along with ERC grantees and evaluators will provide information on funding opportunities and some useful advice on how to apply for an ERC grant. Both webinars will include a Q&A session for participants to engage with the speakers.

Click here for more information on these webinars.

 

EDDA PRESS RELEASE: How can the EU help to address digital challenges in Africa?

Originally published on the European Digital website

You can register to participate in the event via this LINK

Follow this event on  Facebook and Twitter

This online event aims to explore how the EU could help its partner countries in Africa to better respond to two main digital challenges: connectivity/affordability of internet and lack of digital skills. The online discussion will also inform decision-makers from the EU, its member states and partner countries on digital development challenges and opportunities ahead of the EU-Africa Summit in 2020. Above all, this event will offer a platform to both Africans and Europeans to share their ideas and views on an eye-level, rather than being a one-sided discussion. As a result of the event, policy recommendations on the EU’s support to digital development in Africa will be presented in a form of a report. The report will be disseminated to EU decision-makers ahead on the EU-Africa Summit.

Speakers: CSO leaders and experts from the EU partner countries (Africa), representatives from the EU institutions Date: 13 October 2020, 2 pm (CEST time)

Format: online event

Programme:

2:00 – 2:10 pm Opening Remarks by European Digital Development Alliance (EDDA) and European Future Forum (EFF)

2:10 – 3:00 pm Topic: How can the EU help to address digital challenges in Africa?

Speakers:

  • Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament
  • Lars Erik Forsberg, European Commission (DG CONNECT)
  • Benjamin Tedla Hecker, European Commission (DG DEVCO Investments and Innovative Financing)
  • Toto Matshediso, Deputy Director of National Department of Science and Innovation of South Africa
  • Onica Makwakwa, African Coordinator at Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), South Africa
  • Kelly Idehen, Founder of LearnHub Africa, Nigeria
  • Priscilla Chomba, Head of Digital and Technology at ActionAid, Kenya
  • Emmanuel Kwizera, Consultant at Challenges Group Rwanda

Moderator: Zuzana Sladkova, Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute

3:00 – 3:15 pm Closing remarks (by Anna Melenchuk, Co-Founder of EDDA)

Questions to be discussed:

  • How can we ensure connectivity and affordability of broadband connections and technologies for vulnerable groups in African countries?
  • What digital skills are necessary to compete in the global economy? How the EU can help to address digital skills’ gap in Africa?
  • How the new EU-Africa Strategy can contribute to digital governance and inclusive digital services in African countries?

Open Call | European Green Deal Call: €1 billion investment to boost the green and digital transition

The European Commission has decided today to launch a €1 billion call for research and innovation projects that respond to the climate crisis and help protect Europe’s unique ecosystems and biodiversity. The Horizon 2020-funded European Green Deal Call, which will open tomorrow for registration, will spur Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis by turning green challenges into innovation opportunities.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: “The €1 billion European Green Deal call is the last and biggest call under Horizon 2020. With innovation at its heart, this investment will accelerate a just and sustainable transition to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. As we do not want anyone left behind in this systemic transformation, we call for specific actions to engage with citizens in novel ways and improve societal relevance and impact.”

This Green Deal Call differs in important aspects from previous Horizon 2020 calls. Given the urgency of the challenges it addresses, it aims for clear, discernible results in the short to medium-term, but with a perspective of long-term change. There are fewer, but more targeted, larger and visible actions, with a focus on rapid scalability, dissemination and uptake.

The projects funded under this call are expected to deliver results with tangible benefits in ten areas:

Eight thematic areas reflecting the key work streams of the European Green Deal:

  1. Increasing climate ambition
  2. Clean, affordable and secure energy
  3. Industry for a clean and circular economy
  4. Energy and resource efficient buildings
  5. Sustainable and smart mobility
  6. Farm to fork
  7. Biodiversity and ecosystems
  8. Zero-pollution, toxic-free environments

And two horizontal areas – strengthening knowledge and empowering citizens, which offer a longer-term perspective in achieving the transformations set out in the European Green Deal.

€1 billion investment will continue building Europe’s knowledge systems and infrastructures. The call includes opportunities for international cooperation in addressing the needs of less-developed nations, particularly in Africa, in the context of the Paris Agreement as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The deadline for submissions is 26 January 2021, with selected projects expected to start in autumn 2021.

A Horizon 2020 Green Deal Call Info Day & Brokerage event will take place as part of the virtual European Research & Innovation Days that will take place from 22-24 September 2020.

Background

The European Green Deal is the European Commission’s blueprint and roadmap to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050, with a sustainable economy that leaves no one behind.

To reach this 2050 goal, action will be required by all sectors of our economy, including:

investing in environmentally-friendly technologies;
supporting industry to innovate;
rolling out cleaner, cheaper and healthier forms of private and public transport;
decarbonising the energy sector;
ensuring buildings are more energy efficient;
working with international partners to improve global environmental standards.

For More Information:

Factsheet: Horizon 2020 European Green Deal call

Tenders and funding portal

Research and innovation for the European Green Deal

 

COST Actions Survey

Dear Participant,

The Global Networking Team of the COST Association contacts you as we are very curious about your experience and would be happy to hear your views, opinion and stories concerning your recent COST Action participation.

We have developed a short survey that you can access from here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PXXY5V9 It takes about 10 min to fill it in and would provide an important contribution to our understanding on how non-COST partners benefit of the Actions and in what way it could be further improved.

The survey is targeted to non-COST country participants of COST Actions ending in 2020 or later and has the following parts

  • Information about COST and your interaction with the Action.
  • COST virtual networking tools
  • Your opinion about COST
  • Your experience as participant

Please send your answers by the 7th October 2020.

Thank you very much for your cooperation,

Director-General of the DSI speaks at ESOF2020 Opening Session

The Director-General of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI),Dr P Mjwara, spoke at the opening session of ESOF2020. 
His full remarks can be accessed here:

The EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2020 opened on 02 September 2020. The conference will be held for the period 02 to 06 September 2020.
The event can be accessed here: https://www.esof.eu/en/home.html

COST Newsletter – July 2020

COST has published it’s monthly newsletter and it covers the following topics:

  • Brain circulation and empowering young researchers
  • Interview with Magdalena Król – Finalist for EU Prize for Women Innovators
  • Cross-Cutting Activity (CCA) on science communication
  • COST Connect – The Green Deal
  • COST Conversations – Prof. Tiziana Brevini
  • Microbes, MOBIEU and a meeting of minds
  • News and events from COST Actions

You can access the full COST Newsletter by clicking on this link

EU sends Covid-19 test accuracy material to South Africa

The European Union (EU) Joint Research Centre has sent a consignment of control material, which allows laboratories to check the correct functioning of their Covid-19 tests and avoid false negatives, to South Africa.

The EU Joint Research Centre developed the control material at its laboratories in Geel, Belgium, in support of global efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“As the pandemic sweeps across South Africa, it is critical for medical staff, policy makers and the public at large to be able to fully rely on test data to facilitate timely interventions and action. This small, but hugely useful contribution to South Africa’s efforts to manage the spread of the disease is an expression of our strategic partnership,” says EU Ambassador to South Africa Dr Riina Kionka.

The control material will be sent to 22 laboratories throughout South Africa.

It will enable researchers to carry out thousands of controls to ensure the efficiency of the Covid-19 tests used in the country.

“This has been an extraordinary time in history for laboratory testing in South Africa. Assay validations for Covid-19 and the rapid implementation of testing platforms thereafter, have had to be conducted at an unprecedented speed,” National Health Laboratory Service national priority programmes director Professor Wendy Stevens comments.

“The complexity of molecular testing is frequently not understood and, thus, the provision of standardised quality control material by colleagues from the EU is both timeous and will provide us with much-needed reassurance that we are not releasing poor quality assays into the field,” she adds.

______________________________________________________________

Originally posted on engineeringnews.co.za on 24 July 2020
Author : Schalk Burger  – Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

Edited by: Chanel De Bruyn – Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

OPINION | It is important to share the values of Nelson Mandela during Covid-19 Pandemic

Originally Posted on News24

We all share the same grief and anxiety at a pandemic that is taking so many lives and generating so much pain. As President Cyril Ramaphosa reminded us, a collective response, solidarity and international cooperation is the only way forward.

As we commemorate the legacy of Nelson Mandela – it is more important than ever to share the values that are central to his legacy and beliefs.

In this spirit, Europe is actively teaming up with South Africa to fight against Covid-19, and to alleviate its social and economic consequences. The EU is proud to be South Africa’s primary trading and political partner, amplified by our wide ranging partnerships in science, research and education.

As Chair of the Africa Union, South Africa’s leadership reflects Mandela’s legacy, ensuring a collective response to protect and provide resources in the fight against Covid-19.

The EU has responded by coordinating our efforts with all our African partners and mobilising more than 20 billion euro (R380 billion) to support the most vulnerable African countries. Our support is focused on meeting the three immediate challenges of humanitarian response, sustainable strengthening of health systems and the mitigation of the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

We have been working with South Africa and our African partners since early April, including at a time when Europe was facing the peak of the epidemic.

WHO’s role

Both South Africa and the EU share an appreciation of the important role that the World Health Organisation plays today, both politically and financially. The European Union has also worked to strengthen vertical funds for health (Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GAVI and UNITAID). Overall, the EU and its member states have made the largest contributions to global health organisations.

Beyond humanitarian assistance, and working closely with South Africa, we continue to build a lasting partnership with the African continent on health issues. The coronavirus requires a sustainable endeavor, not through stand-alone initiatives designed to grab media attention, but by supporting regional and international organisations to support the citizens of this continent.

We have worked hard to develop new and innovative ways to ensure the sustainable supply of health materials and equipment.

Europe promoted the “Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator” initiative, launched on 24 April in partnership with the WHO, to develop and support universal and equitable access to diagnostics, treatment and vaccines against Covid-19. Europe has helped to mobilise international donors in order to give substance to this initiative. It was also the European Union that presented a resolution which was unanimously adopted at the World Health Assembly on 19 May this year, calling, among other things, for equitable access to technologies, medicines and vaccines against Covid-19.

This demand for universal care and treatment is combined with a major effort to strengthen African medical research, to ensure that the African continent can take advantage of the recognised expertise and experience of its own researchers.

In South Africa, we Europeans are teaming up with local experts, NGOs and officials to establish strong and comprehensive support in this crisis. South Africa’s government has taken vigorous and courageous measures against the spread of the virus. All along the way, civil society has played a crucial role on the ground.

In the Rainbow nation, beyond the health response, we are making a concrete contribution to a sustainable economic recovery. South Africa and Europe share the same vision of a Just Transition, where the enhancement of natural and human capital is key to ensure sustainable, long term and inclusive prosperity. Towards this end, we support a variety of partners – local authorities, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, through public funds and European civil society and private companies. It is worth noting that more than 1 000 European companies create jobs and do business in South Africa.

Joint initiatives

We are particularly proud of the action of the joint South African/European private companies, which responded to the needs expressed by the South African authorities, at national and provincial levels. We are also grateful that, on top of helping their employees get through this crisis, they support the most vulnerable communities around their premises through different initiatives and donations from Gauteng to Western Cape, from Limpopo to KwaZulu-Natal.

Last week, our ministers and representatives met by video-conference to ensure the delivery of our joint initiatives. It is our wish to further strengthen our strategic partnership with South Africa. This year will see the 6th EU-AU Summit, which will take place in October, where we will actively contribute to our common fight against Covid-19, and strengthen the team spirit between Europe and Africa.

South Africa and Europe stand together to face the global challenges of our times. Our partnership reflects the spirit and values of Nelson Mandela following the commemoration of his birthday on Saturday.

Signatories:

Ambassador of the European Union Dr Riina Kionka, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria Dr. Johann Brieger, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium Didier Vanderhasselt, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria Krassimir Stefanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia Ante Cicvaric, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Costas A. Papademas, Ambassador of the Czech Republic Pavel Rezác, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark Tobias E. Rehfeld, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland Marjaana Hypponen, Ambassador of the Republic of France Aurélien Lechevallier, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Martin Schäfer, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic (Greece) Roussos Koundouros, Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary András László Király, Ambassador of Ireland Fionnuala Gilsenan, Ambassador of the Republic of Italy Paolo Cuculi, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania Ms Inga Stankaite, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Han Peters, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Kanthak, Ambassador of the Republic of Portugal Manuel Carvalho, Ambassador of Romania Marius Boranescu, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic Monika Tomašovicová, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain Carlos Fernández-Arias Minuesa, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden Cecilia Julin.

Image Credit 

Minister Nzimande AU-EU Ministerial Meeting Address

16 July 2020

South Africa Minister Of Higher Education, Science And Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande Remarks On The Occasion Of The Introduction Of The African Union – European Union Research And Innovation Ministers Meeting Session On Innovation And Technology On The Topic Of “How Can We Ensure That Innovation Ecosystems Emerge Stronger From Covid-19 Crisis And Play A Critical Role In The Economic Recovery”

Read Full Remarks by clicking on this link

 

Sigi Gruber’s All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Online Presentation | Networking Fridays

Sigi Gruber’s All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance on line presentation on July 10th in scope of the AIR Centre Networking Fridays

 

In a time of social distancing, the AIR Centre is bringing people back together by launching a series of online networking meetings that take place every Friday, from 1pm to 2 pm UTC. During these relaxing Networking Fridays, researchers, technology innovators, representatives of multilateral organizations, government officials, and social entrepreneurs will present to and discuss with the audience their current work and, most importantly, explore ways of future collaboration. The goal is to keep our networks active, connected and informed of interesting activities going on around the Atlantic region. Places are limited, so please register here. Let’s inspire each other and thrive through all this together.

Under AIR Centre Networking Fridays,  on July 10th, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC – Sigi Gruber who is the Head of the Healthy Oceans and Seas Unit, DG RTD, EC, will make a presentation of the work of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Twitter Hashtag: #netfridays

Zoom Webinar Registration Here

For more information click here.

For enquiries: contact@esastap.org.za