Africa Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI

Africa Forum on Science, Technology and
Innovation (STI) for Youth Employment, Human
Capital Development and Inclusive Growth
Nairobi, Kenya, April 1-3, 2012
Saul Hahn, Ph.D.
International Consultant &Former Head of the Division of Science
and Technology, Organization of American States (OAS)
Strengthening Scientific Research: A New Deal for African
Microsoft model for Latin America (Virtual Institute) – a possible
model for Africa
The problem
Scientists and engineers in Latin America and Africa,
have problems in common.
How to :
 Increase visibility and quality of their research
 Raise research collaboration intra-region
Strengthen research capacity.
Graduate students mobility within the region
Several components are involved in
the establishment of the Latin American and Caribbean
Collaborative ICT Research Federation, LACCIR (Virtual Institute)
Regional Political Support: OAS ( AU)
Private Sector Funds: MSR (Possibly Other corporations)
Regional Agency Funds: IADB (AfDB)
Governmental support and funds: Mexico, Chile, Colombia,
other countries (African Countries)
Participant Universities and Research Centers of LAC
“ “HUB”
Universities managing LACCIR
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (legal representative)
Universidad de Chile
”Spoke” Universities federated to LACCIR:
Argentina: Universidad de Buenos Aires
Brazil: PUC, Rio
Costa Rica: Universidad de Costa Rica
Mexico: Tecnológico de Monterrey & Instituto Politécnico Nacional
Uruguay: Universidad de la República
--Colombia : Univ. de los Andes
Ecuador, Universidad Politecnica de Guayaquil
Trinidad & Tobago: University of the West Indies
Sponsors: MSR, IADB, CONACYT (Mexico), OAS,
Universities and researchers
CONICIT (Chile),
Virtual Institute main activities
Supports grants in ICT collaborative research projects within
LAC: seed grant money from MSR, IADB. Government of Mexico
Funding for LAC graduate students mobility:
short-stays, internships, fellowships in LAC universities and MSR.
Web Portal: Information on ICT researchers, projects & graduate
programs, data collection & statistics (publications, thesis,
projects, R&D resources).
Workshops and summer schools
CXP for video-conferencing and e-learning. MS software/servers platform.
RFP 2007
USD 250,000 MSR grant distributed among 5 projects
Proposals Submitted
Researchers Involved
Institutions Involved
5 Winner Proposals:
23 Researchers Involved
12 Institutions Involved
7 Countries
4 ICT Application areas: Education, Productive Chains, e-Government and
SSP: Short Stay Program started in 2008, a
yearly program
Main goal: Supporting the research work of
M.Sc. and Ph.D. students.
Open to all universities in the Latin American
and Caribbean region.
Visiting a research center in a different LAC
country of her/his university.
• Request for Proposals (RFP)
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Every year, 5 to 6 new projects
are approved, each for $50,000
Request for Proposals Basic
High Quality Research in areas of specific
interest, ICT applied to fields such as
Education , Health care, Energy,
Environment & Climate Change
Collaboration: at least two different LAC
countries and one spoke university
Potential matching funds
Expanded partnership with IDB
• New project, that addresses complex scientific
problems and requires extensive use and
expertise of information technologies, was
approved in 2009-2010.
• It supports RFP based on sector areas such
as: health, education, energy, environment
and climate global change, of mutual interest
to IDB and the Virtual Institute.
Government of Mexico: Newest
Partner , 2010
The National Council for Science and
Technology of Mexico became a new partner
of the Federation.
A formal agreement was signed in May, 2010
In an innovative approach, Mexico provides
financial support to its national universities for joint
Federation projects, as well as support for LACCIR
graduates and postdocs to do research in
Mexican universities.
Other partners:
US National Science Foundation
Inter-American Institute for Global Change
Research (IAI)
Science and Technology Council,
Colombia Science and Technology
In its latest edition, RFP 2011
The virtual Institute received 32 research proposals
from 49 institutions in 14 different countries and
connected 125 researchers
Healthcare (2), Education (1), e-Government (1),
Environment &Climate Change (2) , from
Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica,
Uruguay and Bolivia
Microsoft Research, IDB , CONACYT (Mexico)
Some Conclusions
Having political consensus is significant, e.g. ministerial
meetings, high level summits.
Corporate funds allowed for a fast implementation; in this case
Having partners is very important. It allows not only to bring
additional funding, but builds important consensus, e.g. InterAmerican Development Bank.
Partners become involved with the governing structure, which in
turn motivates newer affiliates.
New partners may bring added pools of talent, e.g., InterAmerican Institute for Global Change research (IAI) Institute for
Global Change Research.
Some Conclusions (cont.)
The direct financial contribution of governments to the
Federation, e.g. Mexico:
Allows the incorporation of additional national
universities, while maintaining the guidelines
standards and evaluation of the international
Facilitates researchers and graduate students to
spend time in the sponsoring country. It helps the
Federation and benefits the local universities.
Original sponsors would like to see newer partners,
to make the initial Virtual Institute self sustainable.
newer sources of funding. Additional partners
actually translate into a measure of access
CONCLUSION: The virtual Institute described here,
could be applied to any area of STI that is of mutual
interest to the possible Regional African Partners.
Similarly to the OAS in the Americas, the AU could provide
the political needed support to bring into focus Africa’s
problems. The theme of the last AU summit was “Boosting
Intra-Africa Trade”
Africa’s equivalent to the IDB in the Americas, The African
Development Bank, in partnership with other regional and
International Organizations, including TWAS, could provide
necessary advice and financial resources.
As is the case with MSR, this could be done, with interested
corporations, e.g. IT, telecoms and energy companies,
working towards a similar virtual institute.
Governmental support and funds also provided by African
Participant African Universities and Research Centers
Asante Sana!
Thank You!