Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


AFRICAN WATER Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 518066
Gefördert unter: FP6-SUSTDEV
Land: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - AFRICAN WATER (Action to promote involvement of African water researchers in the Framework Programme)

It is currently recognised that the water related millennium development goals (MDGs) will not be achieved unless new approaches, methods, technologies and improved knowledge management systems are developed. The European Union motivated focussed research initiatives towards this direction in the past; however, participation by the developing countries, including Africa, was significantly less that had been hoped.

Therefore, the aim of the AFRICAN WATER project was to increase the capacity of African researchers and organisations to get involved in research initiatives and produce, either directly or indirectly, outputs that would have a major influence upon achieving MDGs. The specific project objectives were to:

1. increase researchers' capacity through the development of novel approaches, methods and technologies and improved knowledge management systems
2. increase the involvement of African researchers in the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme and, generally, their partnership with European water researchers in identifying and tackling the major challenges that Africa faced
3. have a catalytic effect on increasing the successful participation of African water researchers in collaborative research initiatives outside the European Union.

The project structure consisted of five distinct, yet interrelated, work packages (WPs). Firstly, communication, information and training tools were developed and disseminated, such as the project website, a promotion film and various publicity events. Secondly, existing scientific networks were employed as the starting point for the increase of African researchers' involvement in research initiatives and a database containing relevant information was created. Moreover, the project was publicised in a range of different conferences and meetings and newsletters were produced and dispatched.

In addition, project outreach activities in the targeted countries were undertaken, including training workshops and dialogue meetings with the private and public sectors that aimed to identify priorities for water research in order to improve delivery of MDGs. The 'African science and technology consolidated action plan' set continental priorities and policies regarding the development and application of science and technology for Africa’s socio-economic transformation, while the proposed programme for water resources' capacity development focussed on water quality, sanitation and management. A programme to increase African representation in Europe and participation in scientific events was also launched. Finally, administrative, legal and financial aspects of the project operation were managed by a dedicated WP.

AFRICAN WATER identified and addressed, at least partially, factors which were likely to have contributed to the low participation of African researchers in European initiatives. Among these factors was, from the developing countries' point of view, lack of awareness that such initiatives existed, lack of experience on the necessary administrative procedures and reduced access to relevant information. On the other hand, European water researchers were often unaware of the African research capacity and research consortia demonstrated disinclination to involve African partners, whose position with respect to consortium building was often poor. Finally, the distance and high cost of air travel between Europe and Africa was often a factor that limited physical participation in joint meetings. Based on these findings, a series of recommendations for overcoming the observed drawbacks were developed and disseminated.

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United Kingdom
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