Framework 7 Open for Participation from African Countries, China and India

I am today participating in the Europe-Africa concertation meeting. This meeting is organized by the START IST, project.
The START program is a specific support action within FP6 for promoting to get Subsaharan African Organizations into the FP7 Framework programs. There are 1 European and 2 African Partners in Start. It is a 2 years program and they will publish in October 2007 a strategic Framework.

The meeting was started by a presentation of Thierry Devars the project officer from the International Relations Unit, DG Information Society and Media, European Commission. Devars pointed out that with the 7th framework all research institutions in subsaharian African countries are eligible to participate and to be funded in framework projects. (this is true also for the countries around the Mediterranean, India, China, Russia and some other countries)
He emphasized that China and India are investing huge sums and initiatives into research collaboration with Africa and that Europa risks to loose the train.

Another Key Note Speaker was Daan du Toit, South African Science and Technology Representative to Europe. He wanted to bring an African Prospective into the workshop. He pointed to the planned January 2007 summit on “Science and Technology and Innovation” between African governments that will discuss a consolidated plan of action with regard to Capacity Building, Knowledge Production and Technological Innovation. He pointed out that there is still more a research divide than a digital divide. Research cooperation for Africa is essential to link to the 99% of research produced outside Africa. Europe is the most important partner, but he sees this collaboration as a win-win collaboration.

In both presentations it was emphasized that we are speaking not about development projects but about common research projects.

25 projects are being presented at this meeting, including projects on cultural heritage, e-commerce, Health, Physics and Mathematics, but it seems upto know that my presentation is the only one referring to Agriculture. Here is a huge task for FAO!

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