A Science|Business hybrid roundtable (09:30 – 12:00 CET)
EU-Africa scientific relations go back a long way. Nonetheless, the conjunction of the European Commission’s Africa Initiative with Horizon Europe's work programmes, the launch of the third EU-Africa Global Health Partnership (EDCTP3), the French Presidency’s objective to reinforce the Euro-African partnership, and this February's EU-African Union summit are creating fresh momentum for science, technology and innovation cooperation between the two continents. In that context, a myriad of new alliances and programmes have emerged across the Mediterranean. But how can both sides make the best of the goodwill of policy leaders and this unprecedented mobilisation of their research communities?
More specifically how to make sure these various initiatives and instruments are part of a coordinated approach? What is needed to guarantee locally developed and adapted solutions to global challenges in Africa, within a mutually beneficial alliance? Public health, green transition, agriculture, food and nutrition, capacity building in science and higher education, support to SMEs and other topics have been identified as key collaboration areas. But what should the EU-Africa research and innovation agenda prioritise to make the most effective use of the resources available? What are the conditions required to ensure a reinforced EU-Africa R&I partnership becomes sustainable in the long run?
On March 29th, members of the Science|Business Network – from research, industry and policy - and guests will share their perspectives and recommend concrete steps on how to further strengthen the EU-Africa strategy for research and innovation.
09:30 Welcome by Maryline Fiaschi, CEO, Science|Business
09:35 A new era for the ST&I Euro-African partnership. More than a change of rhetoric?
Introduction by Maria Cristina Russo, Director, Global Approach and International Cooperation, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission.
A perspective from South Africa by Tokozile Xasa Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Mission to the European Union.
Followed by a group discussion to take stock of successful partnerships in place or in the works (e.g. EDCTP 3, LEAP-RE, the ARUA-The Guild joint statement, and other initiatives involving member organisations).
10:15 A shared vision but different realities. Where to act first to catalyse tangible results and reinforce the mutual trust?
The list of EU-AU strategic areas of collaboration is long. In the short term – and not to spread the resources thin, what should be the priority areas of R&I cooperation (e.g. accelerating the energy transition, surveillance of infectious diseases, global pandemic preparedness, meteorological, monitoring, research infrastructures)? What can be the "quick wins" to keep the momentum going?
10:45 Coffee break
11:00 What should be the building blocks of a sustainable EU-Africa ST&I partnership?
A group discussion on the conditions required to strengthen the Europe-Africa R&I collaboration in the long term. Underlying questions are for instance:
- Investing in individuals/talents vs operating at institutional level
- What can be done to better promote the research conducted in Africa and bring it on the international radar?
- How to deal with the issue of IP/ownership of research results?
- How can the EU and AU work better with member states to ensure multilateral, bilateral and local initiatives serve common objectives?
11:50 Summary of recommendations and conclusions