To reduce fragmentation of the European Research Area (ERA), coordination needs to be enhanced between the research being carried out in EU and non-EU countries. Africa and Europe saw the value of unifying efforts. They joined forces and created a window of opportunity for research and innovation collaboration. The EU-funded project 'Developing African-European joint collaboration for science and technology' (ERAFRICA) facilitated networking of African and European funders working together to jointly finance research and innovation partnerships between the two continents. Work began with the mapping of existing research relations, needs, trends and opportunities between Africa and Europe, and the identification of the topics for joint research programmes and their possible funding mechanisms. These joint activities were then evaluated and a coordinated strategy was proposed. ERAFRICA defined three research topics that were to be part of the call for research proposals: renewable energy, interfaces between two or more global challenges, and idea-driven research. In addition, three funding mechanisms were identified: collaborative research projects, research projects for innovation and institutional capacity building. All three were applicable to each subject. A series of communication and dissemination activities were carried out to mobilise African, European and international research programme owners and managers to participate in the joint activities. They also provided information and guidance to various stakeholders. Fifteen African and European countries launched a joint call for research proposals that resulted in the funding of 17 projects totalling more than EUR 8 million. Project partners are committed to the launch of a second call and the joint funding of a second round of collaborative projects. By introducing a new approach to joint funding in S&T, ERAFRICA laid the groundwork for future cooperation between Africa and Europe. The project will strengthen African research capacities and improve the impact of research for development in Africa.
Science and technology, research, sustainable development, joint collaboration