In the framework of the ESA EO AFRICA initiative, the R&D Facility in collaboration with European Space Agency (ESA) and the African Union Commission (AUC), launched at the end of 2021 a call for research proposals to support African-European collaborative efforts to develop innovative, open-source EO algorithms and applications adapted to African solutions for African challenges.
Proposals in the themes of water scarcity and food security were expected to create EO algorithms and workflows by leveraging cutting-edge cloud-based data access and computing infrastructure. A budget up to 25,000 EUR for research activities during a period of 12 months, free access to cloud-based Virtual Research Environments through the Innovation Lab of the Facility, dedicated user and technical support, access to EO AFRICA Space Academy events, and integration into the EO AFRICA Network for international scientific collaboration, were the benefits offered to the research projects.
Evaluation of the Proposals
62 proposals were received from research teams lead by African-European tandems from 23 African and 16 European countries. After a comprehensive evaluation process, which involved review of each proposal by at least two domain experts for 40 different criteria and scoring in 6 different categories, 26 proposals from 14 African and 9 European countries were qualified for the second round of evaluation by the Selection Committee. This included all proposals “highly recommended” by the reviewers with a minimum overall score of 75/100. Considering aspects such as scientific excellence, innovative use of digital tools, impact for fostering the use of EO data and services in Africa, and geographic representation of Africa, the Committee in collaboration with ESA and AUC awarded 15 research projects listed below for funding from 12 African and 9 European countries.
The projects are expected to start following the special EO AFRICA R&D session of the ESA’s Living Planet Symposium, which took place in Bonn on May 23-27.
Read more about each project description here.