NCST hosts interactive IST-Africa H2020 Workshop on ICT-39

NCST, on 12th November 2014, hosted an interactive IST-Africa H2020 Workshop focused on ICT-39 in Malawi. IST-Africa ( organised a series of Horizon 2020 Workshops in Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Burundi during November 2014, specifically focused on raising awareness of opportunities under the ICT-39 Call International partnership building in low and middle-income countries with a deadline of 14 April 2015.

National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) as the partner in Malawi for the IST-Africa Initiative organised the IST-Africa Horizon 2020 Workshop in Lilongwe on 12 November 2014. All relevant stakeholders were invited to participate to raise awareness of the opportunity for research cooperation at international level.

The workshop was well attended with 28 participants from Computer Science Department, Chancellor College; Physics Department, Chancellor College; Polytechnic of Malawi; University of Malawi; Mzuzu University; Kamuzu College of Nursing; Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources/Bunda; Bababo Health Trust; Malawi Institute of Management; Ministry of Finance; Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA); eGovernment Department, Ministry of Information; National ICT Working Group; Department of Science and Technology; Research Department, Ministry of Health; National Library Service; Malawi Women in Technology; Mzuzu University – SL Project and National Commission for Science and Technology. Each organisation presented their current research capacity and areas of most interest for International Cooperation. This knowledge exchange at national level was very interesting for the participants as they were able to identify potential synergies in relation to future research.

Areas of thematic interest include Digital Repositories; eHealth, Health Informatics; eAgriculture; eGovernment; Security; White Spaces; Next generation networks; Wireless, mobile and cellular networks; Energy; Sensor Technology; Internet of Things; eSkills and eLearning / mLearning.

Anthony Muyepa, Director General, NCST formally opened the Workshop stating that NCST was very pleased to be hosting this workshop and recognising the excellent alignment between IST-Africa activities and the Commission’s national mandate. Mr Muyepa encouraged the participants to take this opportunity to identify areas for research cooperation so that Malawi can leverage some of the experiences from Europe, adapted to the Malawi circumstances to assist in continuing to build capacity in research and innovation at national level.

Paul Cunningham (IIMC/IST-Africa) provided an overview of the IST-Africa Initiative and the significant resources that are available to support research cooperation. Paul highlighted that Malawi had secured over €3 million euro in research funding through 20 projects under FP7 and cooperated with more than 76 European and Associated Country organisations. This provides an important baseline for cooperation under Horizon 2020.

Gift Kadzamira (NCST) provided a comprehensive overview of Horizon 2020 and the main differences between FP7 and H2020. Paul Cunningham presented the ICT-39 call followed by interactive brainstorming and group work. Following an interactive discussion it was considered to be important to have multi-disciplinary teams involved and research priority areas identified for Malawi include eHealth, eAgricutlure, eLearning/eEducation, Digital Inclusion, eGovernment Services and Environment/Energy. Focusing on one thematic area the participants discussed how to identify key stakeholders that should be consulted, how to address end-user engagement and build an implementation team for inclusion within a wider consortia for International cooperation.

Ebony Msikawanthu (NCST) presented the participation rules and instruments under H2020 to provide a clear framework. Miriam Cunningham (IIMC/ IST-Africa) presented the steps to consider when preparing a proposal and associated budget. Miriam also outlined the evaluation process and basic IPR rules.

The participants found the workshop to be very stimulating and went back to their institutions with ideas to develop further. Download Full Workshop Report here

ICT-39 Focus Scope: The aim is to launch a set of targeted collaborative research projects addressing the requirements of end-user communities in developing countries. Specific technological targets could include for example co-design, adaptation, demonstration and validation (e.g. pilots) of ICT related research and innovation in relevant thematic areas addressed by Horizon 2020 including Content Technologies and Societal Challenges.

Activities under this objective should be led by a clearly defined user need/market opportunity for the technology being adapted; they should in particular include requirements of developing countries, and where possible, have the potential for wider impact by involving a number of countries from the same region. Proposals should be submitted by a complementary partnership with a particular focus on the participation of relevant developing country innovation stakeholders and end-user community representatives (e.g. relevant public, private, education and research, and societal sector organisations, Innovation Spaces and Living Labs).

Expected impact

• Development of relevant technology responding to specific needs and conditions of the target country.

• Reinforced international dimension of the ICT and Innovation aspects of Horizon 2020 and a higher level of                                                              International cooperation with low and middle income countries in ICT R&D and Innovation, focusing on areas                                                        that are beneficial to the target countries/region.