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Recommendations for policy makers

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In the area of e-Infrastructure R&D, the importance of international cooperation cannot be underestimated. This includes both Africa/EU collaboration projects – which are key in maximizing the exploitation potential of EU and African developments – and African cross-continental collaboration – as a way of sharing tailored, locally adapted solutions with high socio-economic impact. It is imperative, therefore, that European and African CoPs collaborate, similar to the twinning between established and emerging NRENs organised by TERENA.

  • Promotion of international collaboration opportunities must be continued and strengthened. It was noted that in many cases, African communities were not aware of the funding programmes (e.g. H2020) and collaboration opportunities that exist. The EGI Applications Database lists about 50 VOs, which members of the CoPs identified within eI4Africa could potentially engage with and work collaboratively and/or share resources within common disciplines. Additionally, the eI4Africa Project Wall provides a number of current or proposed projects and can help to notify the international community of proposers of the available collaboration opportunities, as well as facilitate knowledge exchange, VRC development, and capacity building;
  • Collaboration starts with human networking. Building international (including EU-Africa) cooperation networks is an important step towards collaboration, as was demonstrated by the eI4Africa events, which have provided ideal forums for meeting peers and potential partners. Networking opportunities are the first step for further collaboration, including joint academic papers or joint proposals for funding;
  • Efforts should be made to raise awareness of current efforts and initiatives, which constitutes a major gap in the uptake of e-Infrastructures in the continent. The need to promote e-Infrastructures development in Africa is especially important towards user communities, scientific communities, and e-Infrastructure developers;
  • Africa/EU e-Infrastructure Coordination and Support Action (CSA) projects should continue to be funded, since they provide for essential networking and information exchange opportunities between African and European researchers and policy makers;
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Why should African countries invest in developing e-Infrastructures in Africa? The EC’s 2007 Green Paper “The European Research Area: New Perspectives” points out that investing in e-Infrastructures can have significant benefits to a country, as it can enable the long-term sustainability of e-Infrastructures, as well as facilitate both industry involvement and the added-value to society that comes with the technology mix, the diversity of users and the local economic and social conditions. Accordingly, the eI4Africa project brings forward a set of recommendations and guidelines to developers and/or policy makers in Africa addressing the following four topics:

  • Emphasise the need for African scientists and researchers to join forces with their counterparts in other parts of the world;
  • Continue raising awareness and supporting dissemination activities in order to both communicate and promote the potential of e-Infrastructures in Africa;
  • Provide and engage in continuous and consistent programmes on skills and capacity building, and;
  • Improve collaboration opportunities and sustain Euro-Africa cooperation.

The above findings are presented in more detail in D3.2 ‘Recommendations for African e-Infrastructure development’ and can be discussed by emailing the project partnership at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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West-African and French Research and Education Networks, WACREN and RENATER, have announced that they have agreed to strengthen their cooperation by making RENATER an “international member” of WACREN. This strong support of WACREN is supplemented by financial support from French organisations CIRAD and IRD to accelerate the participation of WACREN in the “AfricaConnect” project funded by the European Commission.

RENATER has been partnering with WACREN since 2011, when the first cooperation agreement between WACREN and RENATER / CIRAD / IRD was signed, with the aim to provide technical, scientific and organizational expertise for the establishment of research and education networks in this region.

By signing this new agreement for financial partnership, RENATER confirms its willingness to work with the WACREN network for its interconnection in one hand, with the Eastern and Southern African networks of the UbuntuNet Alliance especially in the framework of the “AfricaConnect”, and secondly, beyond the African continent, for joining the other components of the “Global Research Village” such as GEANT in Europe.

Patrick Donath, director of RENATER, explains that “RENATER’s mission is also to help  West and Central Africa to bridge the digital divide by bringing its network expertise to promote the development of science, education and North / South cooperation within the African continent”.

Dr Boubakar Barry, CEO of WACREN, said that “this gesture of RENATER, CIRAD and IRD is much appreciated by the WACREN community. It once again demonstrates the sincerity of the cooperation with WACREN since 2011 and which has already been expressed through several joint activities. We believe that the best is yet to come, in the best interests and in the service of our communities”.

Original source: WACREN

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‘Science 2.0’ describes the on-going evolution in the modus operandi of doing research and organising science. These changes in the dynamics of science and research are enabled by digital technologies and driven by the globalisation of the scientific community, as well as the need to address the Grand Challenges of our times. They have an impact on the entire research cycle, from the inception of research to its publication, as well as on the way in which this cycle is organised.
The goal of the consultation is to better understand the full societal potential of 'Science 2.0' as well as the desirability of any possible policy action.

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UbuntuNet Alliance, the research and education network for Eastern and Southern Africa; and DANTE, the operator of GÉANT, the pan-European research and education network, today announce the commissioning of the UbuntuNet network, the regional high-speed Internet network connecting researchers, educators and students in Eastern and Southern Africa to their peers in the region and to Europe.

The African research and education community has for far too long carried the burden of slow Internet connectivity which has consequently widened the gap between the continent’s researchers and their peers globally. The establishment of national research and education networks (NRENs), the regional UbuntuNet Alliance, and the kick off of the AfricaConnect are milestones transforming the research and education landscape on the continent.

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During discussions at AIS 14  in Djibouti, it came out that many African academic and research institutions find the application process at AfriNIC too complex, which is certainly just a perception.
 
Acknowledging the fact that many of us feel more comfortable with a one-on-one support rather than posting on mailing lists, WACREN has set up a Support Team on the issue to boost IP resources allocation requests from academic and research institutions.

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According to an article published on the site of the UbuntuNet Alliance, The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) and the UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Education Networking, the regional Research and Education Networking organization for Eastern and Southern Africa, have signed an agreement to adopt the Africa Training Initiative (ATI) a programme that is highly expected to foster accelerated development of the Internet across the African continent. This MOU serves to enable the two regional research and education networking bodies to implement the ATI as a defined and endorsed project under their auspices.

 

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According to an article published on theguardian.com, Western countries are using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide the "sustained looting" of the continent as it loses nearly $60bn a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies, a group of NGOs has claimed.

ID-100249809.jpg

 

Image courtesy of ratch0013 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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According to an article published on the Guardian, when Jeremiah Heaton’s seven-year-old daughter Emily turned to him one night last winter and asked him if she would ever be a real princess, he was faced with a dilemma.

“I didn’t want to break her spirits, so I said ‘yes, absolutely,’ he told the Guardian by phone from his home in Abingdon, Virginia, this week. “At that point I had no idea how to make it happen, but I couldn’t let her down. She had such a serious tone. I knew it meant a lot to her.”

Tagged in: Africa science
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According to an article published on the guardian.com, nearly 800,000 refugees in Africa have had their food rations slashed due to a lack of global aid funding, threatening to push many to the brink of starvation, the UN has said.

The cuts of up to 60% are "threatening to worsen already unacceptable levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anaemia, particularly in children", the UN's World Food Programme and refugee agency, UNHCR, said.

The heads of the two agencies were in Geneva this week to make an urgent appeal to governments for more funds to help feed Africa's refugees. "It is unacceptable in today's world of plenty for refugees to face chronic hunger," said the UNHCR chief, António Guterres.

 

 

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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According to an article published on Science|Business, sharing research results through open access to publications and data is a key priority for EU says EU Commissioner for research Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

The European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, announced that the Commission will be seeking ways to promote open access to scientific research and open data, a movement known as Science 2.0.

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According to the Guardian Data blog, total contributions rocketed to $22bn last year, spurred by typhoon Haiyan and conflicts in South Sudan and Syria

Global spending on humanitarian relief soared to a record $22bn (£12.93bn) last year as conflicts in Central African Republic, South Sudan and Syria combined with natural disasters such as typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, drove donors to pay out more emergency aid than ever before.

 

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According to an article published on isgtw, Eric Chen, a 17-year-old senior at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, California, US, has won the trifecta of science competitions: the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search; the 2013 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology; and the grand prize in the international 2013 Google Science Fair. Prizes from Google included those from Science Fair partners CERN, LEGO, National Geographic, and Scientific American.

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According to an article published in ‘NUANCE: Newsletter of the UbuntuNet Alliance: Networks, Collaboration, Education’, having a well-trained technical team is paramount to operating and maintaining the high speed UbuntuNet Network. So far, the Alliance has trained about 40 network engineers from almost all NREN Members in Eastern and Southern Africa. The trainings are a result of a multi-partner capacity building programme and the focus has primarily been on advanced routing and campus network design and management.

The goal of UbuntuNet Alliance capacity building program is to ensure that there is enough human resource capacity in Member NRENs to be able to plan, implement and operate advanced data networks. Also the Alliance would like to ensure that NREN networks are properly designed and configured in time for connection to the regional UbuntuNet backbone being built under the AfricaConnect project; and to provide technical support to the Alliance in the running of UbuntuNet.

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According to an article published in ‘NUANCE: Newsletter of the UbuntuNet Alliance: Networks, Collaboration, Education’, open access is a powerful solution to the barriers that researchers in developing and transition countries face.

"A lot of research has been undertaken over the years in Uganda and many seeming breakthroughs arrived at, however these have not been disseminated and subsequently have not added value to the lives of Ugandans,” says John Chrysostom Muyingo, state minister for higher education in Uganda. This revealing statement was made last year at the very first national open access conference in Uganda, which Electronic Information For Libraries (EIFL) co-hosted with the Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (CUUL).

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The AFRICA BUILD Portal Video

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The AFRICA BUILD Portal is an open, free professional social network for supporting collaborative links and access to a broad variety of informatics tools for health training and research in Africa. You can use it to follow and share courses remotely, find a job or a grant, use our tools to keep up to date with the latest news in your research topics, make colleagues and professional connections, etc. Create an account in the AFRICA BUILD Portal and discover our community!

For more information visit: The AFRICA BUILD Portal

Click here to see the video

Tagged in: Africa health Research
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According to an article published on Science|Business, the European Union (EU) trails when it comes to laying the foundations for a “smart” economy, with the US, Canada and Japan pressing ahead, warns a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

A stubborn “digital divide” in Europe, which fractures between an “extremely well-performing north” led by Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, and a static south and east, is to blame says WEF.

“The EU is increasingly falling behind globally in building the digital infrastructure and innovative capacity that would allow its economies to unlock new sources of growth,” the report states.

WEF criticises the EU for not being as favourable to young entrepreneurs and start-ups as other regions, due in part to heavy regulation and fewer funds to start businesses.

Low patent application numbers, with half the activity of the US and less than half of the activity of advanced Asian economies, suggest, not just less innovation, but the “lack of knowledge and capacity of SMEs to efficiently deal” with filing patents.

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According to an article published on Edutech, a World Bank blog on ICT and Education, in most countries around the world, a single institution is core to the implementation of national initiatives related to the use of new technologies ('ICTs') in education. Whether we are talking about large scale rollouts of things like tablets or laptops, or educational computing efforts of the more 'traditional' variety, a single organization often serves as a focal point for many related efforts to introduce, support, maintain direct, coordinate, fund, manage and/or evaluate national efforts to utilize information and communications technologies (ICTs) in innovative -- and, if we are honest with ourselves, perhaps not so innovative -- ways in schools.

Tagged in: education ICT
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The 4th eI4Africa Thematic Workshop ”High Performance Computing for Public Good” was successfully held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on June 3rd, 2014. The workshop was organised under the aegis of the European Commission (EC, DG CONNECT) and in co-location with the Technology Transfer Alliance (TTA) Conference 2014.

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Presentations of the 4th eI4Africa Thematic Workshop (June 3, 2014 – Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania) are now available! Click here to see them .
The full programme of the day is available here.

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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