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International Partnerships
News announcement21 June 2021Directorate-General for International Partnerships2 min read

Calling on Africa’s research talents: the ARISE programme is open for applications


The European Union’s (EU) “African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence” (ARISE) pilot programme’s call for applications has been launched by the African Academy of Sciences. ARISE promotes science, technology and innovation as critical drivers of development and sustainability. With the strategic guidance of the European Union and the African Union (AU), it aims at boosting and further unlocking Africa’s potential for innovation by supporting the next generation of scientific leaders. The EU is contributing €25 million to the programme.

During the launch of ARISE in December 2020, the Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen highlighted: “The potential of research excellence in Africa is significant and will be a key driver of development and growth. The ARISE pilot programme is a catalytic milestone for talented early-career scientists, aiming to strengthen Africa’s science and innovation base. It is also a major step for the EU-Africa academic and scientific cooperation to create a knowledge society and economy.”

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel stressed: “This initiative is in line with other ongoing efforts, for example under the EU-AU High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation with its investments reaching more than €1.8 billion. It will support African scientists and their capacity to contribute with cutting-edge research, reinforce their potential to benefit from EU research and innovation instruments, as well as enhance collaboration on equal footing with the European continent.”

ARISE will promote research in different fields of scientific endeavour taking into account EU-AU joint priorities such as public health and green transition to enhance Africa’s sustainable development. It is fully aligned with the joint communication entitled ‘Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa,’ published in March 2020. It will give opportunities to 40 young early career researchers from 40 different African countries, selected based on their scientific excellence in a continent-wide open competition. Grants of up to €500,000 over a period of five years will support the successful talents to develop innovative research and their own independent research teams at an African university or research institution.

Background information

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the role of science, technology and innovation is a vital driver of sustainability. The EU and the AU equally recognise that a sustainable transition to knowledge-based economies needs to rely on science, research and innovation. Investments in research and innovation ensure a sustainable and inclusive future. Nevertheless, there is significant potential for improvement in spending's on scientific and development research (R&D):

  • On average, 0.45% of Africa's GDP is spent on R&D, significantly less than the global average of 1.7% and the AU’s target of 1%.
  • Africa has less than 100 researchers per one million people - ten times less than the global average.

Supporting young scientists can facilitate collaboration with researchers from other continents. Thereby the EU and the AU can collectively boost and deliver results, under our ongoing High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation.

The ARISE Pilot Programme is funded by the Pan-African Programme Annual Action Programme 2019, which defines 3 priority areas in line with the final declaration of the AU-EU Summit and the new Alliance communication: (i) Political dialogue and continental governance; (ii) Investing in people – education, science, technology, skills; (iii) Continental economic integration, with a total funding of €150.2 million

For more information

ARISE Call for Proposals - to submit your proposal


Publication date
21 June 2021
Directorate-General for International Partnerships