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International Partnerships
News announcement16 June 2022Directorate-General for International Partnerships

Supporting Africa’s science and innovation: 44 African scientists awarded EU funded ARISE grants of up to €500 000

Supporting Africa's science and innovation - ARISE grants
Supporting Africa's science and innovation - ARISE grants

The European Union’s “African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence” (ARISE) pilot programme has awarded 44 early career researchers from 38 African countries with grants of up to €500 000 to develop cutting-edge research. 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) and implemented by the African Academy of Sciences, 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 with a view to support building a critical mass of role models for African researchers, and also enable, and secure their career development to contribute to retaining research talents on the continent.

The Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen highlighted: “Investing in higher education and research to create a knowledge-based society and economy in Africa is a key priority of the Global Gateway investment package for Africa and a tangible deliverable of the recent AU EU Summit. The ARISE pilot programme is a great opportunity for talented early-career scientists, aiming to strengthen Africa's science and innovation base. It is a major step for the EU-Africa academic and scientific cooperation.”

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel said, The AU-EU Innovation Agenda, a flagship of the Global Gateway package, will propose specific short, medium and long-term actions, translating research and innovation outcomes rapidly into tangible solutions. The ARISE pilot programme builds the capacity of African researchers to deliver cutting-edge research transforming knowledge into innovation, generating sustainable economic growth and jobs.

The awarded research projects have been competitively selected from a total 929 applicants. Their research is diverse and reflect the EU-AU joint priorities, ranging from providing renewable energy solutions and addressing climate change, to tackling food security and targeting health and environmental problems that are most acute for people living in African countries. Over a period of five years, scientists will be able to set up their own research teams in an African University or research institution and develop innovative research and their own independent teams.

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

To support the Joint Vision for 2030 agreed by the leaders of the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) at the 6th EU-AU Summit on 17 and 18 February 2022  in Brussels, the Global Gateway Africa – Europe Investment Package aims to mobilise up to €150 billion in investments between 2021 and 2027 for Africa’ strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation.


For more information:

African Academy of Sciences - ARISE


Publication date
16 June 2022
Directorate-General for International Partnerships