The purpose of the meeting, which ran from 16-21 July, was not only to review the work of an existing Africa-EU science and technology partnership, CAAST-Net, but also to lay the foundations for a new one in the form of CAAST-Net Plus.
CAAST-Net Plus is a network that is aimed at further strengthening science and technology cooperation between African and European countries.
The engagements in July were the first steps in building and expanding on the work of CAAST-Net, thereby further consolidating a strong North-South network of Governments who share the view that effective, fair research co-operation is an important way forward in sharing expertise, capacity and supporting sustainable development.
The new network will focus on supporting research that deals with three global challenges: climate change, food security and health. The Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) will lead on the development of a health workplan, alongside the Ministry of Science and Technology of Kenya (MoHEST) and the Foundation for International Health and Co-operation from Spain (FCSAI).
In taking the co-lead on the health workplan, COHRED will facilitate mutual learning and understanding of bi-regional policy in the domain of science and technology, in addition to offering practical support for those engaging in bi-regional research partnerships.
COHRED will also work on building stronger linkages between the private sector, researchers and Ministries for Science and Technology in Africa and Europe – thereby aiming to further enhance uptake and dissemination of the fruits of collaborative research.
CAAST Net Plus will also benefit from COHRED’s expertise and experience in facilitating collaborative networks. On the other hand, our participation in CAAST Net Plus will enhance our capacity to support research for health rather than focus on health and innovation research in a sectoral manner. Departments of Science and Technology are often better geared to focus on innovation that will have downstream support on health, equity and national development.