PAERIP workshop (October 17, 2012 - London, UK)
There is significant political attention currently aimed at promoting science and technology (S&T) partnerships between the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU). The Joint Africa-EU Strategy, which was refined at the 2010 Tripoli Summit, includes a dedicated partnership initiative on science, information society and space. Research infrastructures are an essential element of the capital required for successful and effective partnerships around common challenges. The Joint Strategy addresses the need to bolster African research infrastructures so that Africa can produce and use its own knowledge and services and develop sound S&T policies. PAERIP is specifically focused on addressing this outcome by promoting research infrastructure partnerships between Europe and Africa and auditing the status quo of current research infrastructures in order to develop a baseline for future research infrastructures partnerships between the two continents.
The PAERIP consortium  runs a series of public seminars in Africa and Europe on pertinent aspects of the Africa-Europe cooperation relationship around research infrastructures. These meetings serve several purposes: they aim to raise general awareness of Africa-Europe cooperation and of funding opportunities for research infrastructure partnerships; they provide a forum for networking between the RI stakeholder community; for exchange of views on the process of cooperation; and through consultation of stakeholder opinion they can enrich the formal bi-regional policy dialogue on S&T cooperation around research infrastructures and thereby contribute to evidence-based policy making.
The PAERIP seminar that took place on 17th October at Woburn House in the Bloomsbury area of central London focused on Africa-Europe collaboration in establishing new research infrastructures, including through African participation in the planned European infrastructures prioritised in the ESFRI roadmap. The socio-economic impact of research infrastructures in the context of bi-regional cooperation was analysed, including the resultant funding opportunities, which could be leveraged from Africa-EU development cooperation instruments.
The event programme can be found here. The seminar proceedings are also available. Our key-note speaker was Professor John Wood, former chair of ESFRI and secretary general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities; Guest speakers included Dr Elena Righi-Steele, Research Infrastructure Programme Officer at the European Commission; Ms Lindsay Crosswell, Head of External Relations at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute, Dr Steven Krauwer, CEO of CLARIN-EIRC, and Dr Ndumiso Cingo, head of the African Laser Centre.
 The PAERIP project is supported by the European Union’s seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research and development (Grant Agreement 262493). The project is run by a consortium of eight organisations, including national authorities, from seven African and European countries.
Andy Cherry, ACU (andy.cherry AT acu.ac.uk)