Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 231

realise this potential. One particular area being addressed by senior
officials is food nutrition security.
“We are hoping to encourage the development of a joint funding
arrangement. One of the core values of co-operation between the EU
and Africa is the notion of co-ownership, yet co-ownership is often
substantially undermined by the absence of co-financing. We therefore
need to consider and develop financial mechanisms that can bring
together both European and African participants and fund a common
project, thereby encouraging genuinely co-owned collaboration.
“CAAST-Net Plus includes support for the Africa-EU Partnership’s High
Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation by
generating evidence or recommendations from scientific communities
in the two continents to help direct policy decision making. CAAST-Net
Plus also helps implement HLPD recommendations via the HLPD
Bureau,” Cherry said.
“Encouraging true co-ownership is one of the targets of the HLPD. Whilst
CAAST-Net Plus does not carry out science directly, we try to facilitate
more and better science and strengthen the partnership.”
Outputs, outcomes
One area in which the EU and Africa have enjoyed particular collaborative
research success is that of health, but Cherry explained how the end
results of such projects are sometimes limited: “DG Research and
Innovation in the European Commission has funded many collaborative
health projects, and money has also been provided by a number of
international funders or by EU member states, as well. However, there is
the sense that the research projects that have been supported have not
always generated the outcomes that were originally envisaged, or final
products or services have not reached the market.
“One of the possible reasons for this is the effectiveness of processes.
A study we’ve done in CAAST-Net Plus suggests there is great emphasis
on output thinking, i.e. realising and achieving the project’s targets, yet
there is not a great deal of thought to the longer term translation of
outputs into final outcomes. Output thinking really reflects the short term
nature of the project cycle. If there is not sustained investment in the full
cycle of product or process development, then the co-ordinators and
partners are almost inevitably going to focus on achieving the immediate
goals of a project, rather than thinking about steering the outcomes
towards the impact for the beneficiaries.
“This issue may explain, to some extent, why health research collaboration
is not seeing as much positive impact for the beneficiaries as one would
anticipate, relative to the scale of investment. Similar issues may be
experienced in climate change and food nutrition security, where investment
in research is not necessarily playing out as one would hope. In addition to
output thinking, problems can be experienced due to the nature of
partnerships; for example, the skewed funding landscape can create
tensions in a partnership that weaken joint ownership and undermine
collaborative efforts. Although there are many constraints, it is important to
see the very positive dimensions to Africa-EU collaborations, such as the
interpersonal relations, that go a long way to overcoming barriers.”
collaboration, disseminate information, and
make scientists and researchers in Europe and
Africa more aware of the funding opportunities
available by working together.
“At the same time, CAAST-Net Plus also
stimulates and supports formal policy dialogue
between Europe and Africa in ST&I as part of
the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. The JAES is a
framework policy, agreed in 2007 by African
and European heads of state and government,
which defines a new relationship between the
two regions in a number of different areas,
notably peace, security and trade.
“CAAST-Net Plus is also encouraging greater
co-operation between Europe and Africa in a
number of areas, as well as hoping to make
that collaboration more effective. Domains we
work on include climate change, health, and
food security.”
Furthering co-operation
Cherry then provided an insight into CAAST-Net
Plus in action and how both the EU and Africa
hope to further increase co-operation in the
future: “To give you a concrete example,
CAAST-Net Plus is assisting the European
Commission in hosting a meeting of senior
officials from the EU and Africa, technical
experts and a number of funding parties in
order to explore potential new areas of co-
operation between the two continents whilst
encouraging the investment of resources to
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S I X
231
S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : E U R O P E & A F R I C A
CAAST-Net Plus places
particular importance
on encouraging
food security
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