Zoom on the Horizon Europe-Africa Initiative

Launched in 2021, and open to researchers and innovators from around the globe who are encouraged to team up with EU partners, Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation (2021-2027; €95.5 billion) includes targeted actions with key non-EU partners, notably the first ever ambitious and comprehensive Africa Initiative. Here is an update on this initiative and its ambitions.

A result of the EU-AU Research & Innovation Ministerial meeting that took place in July 2020, the Africa initiative (see the factsheet) aims to strengthen long-term cooperation in finding locally adapted solutions to challenges that are global in nature, but which often hit Africa hardest.

The Horizon Europe work programme 2021-2022 includes 36 topics with a budget of around €350 million under Calls for Proposals responding to four joint policy priorities stressed that are particularly relevant for cooperation with Africa:

  1. Public Health (40 MEUR)
  2. Green Transition (215 MEUR)
  3. Innovation & Technology (11 MEUR)
  4. Capacities for Science – human capital development, science for policy, Open Science and gender- (91.9 MEUR)

The calls for proposals require or encourage participation of African entities. Topics range from climate change, rural innovation, sustainable food systems and sustainable energy to bringing European highly innovative SMEs to the forefront of African markets (see more details on the upcoming calls for proposals in the Horizon Europe-Africa Initiative presentation, pages 9 to 16).

Clear synergies are envisaged between Horizon Europe – Africa Initiative and existing or future programmes funded by the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA), such as: African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence (ARISE), ACP Innovation Fund (a key component of the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme), Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – ‘Global Europe‘ (2021-2027), aiming to support the EU’s external action with an overall budget of €79.5 billion –, and Erasmus +.

How to get information about EU funding opportunities?

There are different ways to get guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon Europe, notably through:

1/ Funding and tender opportunities portal (where the first calls for proposals were opened on 22 June 2021). During the EC R&I days, a session titled ’ R&I funding goes digital: The Funding and Tenders portal’ explained, in a video, how to navigate on the HE platform for calls, how to register, how to use the filter section, etc. You can watch it:

2/ EU-Africa cooperation in research and innovation portal

The European Commission has recently launched (30 June 2021) a new platform, the EU-Africa cooperation in research and innovation portal,  to provide a one-stop-shop for all policy-makers and stakeholders interested in EU-Africa cooperation on research and innovation.

3/EU social media (notably @EUScienceInnov)

4/National Contact Points (NCPs), established in many non-EU and non-associated countries (“third countries”). You can search by country:

You will find (in the illustration below) some good reasons to contact National Contact Points, if they are established in your country.

5/EU delegations in your country