European Space Agency Funded EO AFRICA R&D Facility Launches in Africa

Source: EO Africa

The objective of the new ESA initiative, EO AFRICA (African Framework for Research Innovation, Communities and Applications) is to build an African-European R&D partnership to facilitate the sustainable adoption of Earth Observation and related space technology in Africa. The initiative will be driven by African research challenges and user needs, and will follow a long-term vision (>10 years) for the emergent digital era in Africa as outlined in the “Agenda 2063 – The Africa we want” of the African Union Commission (AUC).

Source: EO Africa

The initiative launched by ESA in mid-2020 through a call for proposal is being implemented by the University of Twente’s Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, Serco Europe, TU Wien, Vito Remote Sensing, CS Romania and the CS Group.

The EO AFRICA R&D Facility has the following principal objectives:

  • Identify and respond to EO research challenges specific to the African environment
  • Facilitate an African – European exchange in research and knowhow
  • Develop innovative EO algorithms and applications adapted to African solutions
  • Foster innovation to create open-source tools for sustainable uptake in Africa
  • Leverage fully the benefits of cloud computing & development tools for African
    and European researchers
  • Support the uptake of new technologies such as crowdsourcing, drones, IoT in Africa

The project shall implement the following main activities:

  • Engage with African science and R&D community to identify African research challenges
  • Issue and support research calls for European-African collaborative research projects
  • Establish a digital innovation laboratory for EO application development
    • foster an open-source EO development community
    • build partnership programmes with African innovation hubs
  • Setup an English-French bi-lingual EO AFRICA Space Academy (in cooperation with e.g. UN training centres, Pan-African Space University, national space agencies) offering EO training courses
  • Develop a Digital Space Campus for Africa offering online EO learning/training as part of the EO AFRICA Space Academy

The EO AFRICA initiative is coordinated with the operational GMES & Africa initiative led by the African Union Commission (AUC) and with the European Commission (DG-DEFIS, DG-INTPA, DG-JRC).

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