High-level Conference on 'Promoting Africa-EU Research Infrastructure Partnerships' (March 7-8, 2013 - Brussels, Belgium)

Start Date: 
Thursday, 7 March 2013 to Friday, 8 March 2013

A high-level conference on “Promoting Africa-EU Research Infrastructure Partnerships” took place on 7-8 March 2013 at the Thon EU Hotel in Brussels, Belgium.  The conference presented the outcomes of the PAERIP (Promoting African European Research Infrastructures Partnerships) project, funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). 


Over the past two years PAERIP undertook an extensive analysis of Africa-EU research infrastructure partnerships, including best practices which could be identified from current cooperation and the formulation of recommendations to enhance collaboration.  In this context PAERIP considered cooperation activities such as how to enhance transnational access to research infrastructures for African and European researchers, and the promotion of networks integrating African and European research infrastructures.


The conference took place at a crucial time for the development of new cooperation instruments for Africa-EU cooperation including for collaboration in science, technology and innovation.  These instruments include, for example, the new EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, the EU Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund.  Within this context, one of the highlights of the conference will be the presentation of PAERIP’s recommendations on how research infrastructure partnerships could best be promoted as part of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.


The programme of the conference included the following sessions:


  • A high-level opening session with the participation of senior representatives from the European Commission and the African Union Commission, with South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Minister Derek Hanekom, as keynote speaker. 
  • Presentations of the PAERIP analysis and recommendations on:
    • Interventions to enhance African and European researchers’ transnational access to African and European researcher infrastructures;
    • Opportunities for Africa and Europe to collaborate in developing new large-scale research infrastructures ; and
    • The merit of investment from development and economic cooperation instruments in Africa-EU research infrastructure partnerships, due to their socio-economic benefit. 
  • Presentations of case studies of potential flagship Africa-EU research infrastructure cooperation initiatives in areas such as life sciences, environmental research, astronomy and e-Infrastructures. 
  • A concluding session on the way forward for Africa-EU research infrastructure partnerships, including a discussion on policy recommendations with regard to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, and a presentation on ensuring the sustainability of the PAERIP initiative.

Organised by Sigma Orionis (France) with the support of DST (South Africa), ISC (Belgium) and all project partners, this conference was a side event to the "EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration" conference, taking place in Brussels on March 4-8, 2013. Hosted by the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, the event will place EU research at the centre of the scientific response to global challenges, bringing together scientists and science policymakers from 100 countries.


Useful Links

Event Organizer/Host: 
Sigma Orionis (France) with the support of DST (South Africa), ISC (Belgium) and all PAERIP project partners
Thon Hotel EU, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 75 B-1040, Brussels, Belgium