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About the eI-Africa European Project

eI-Africa is an EU/FP7 project spanning over 18 months with the aim of strengthening cooperation on e-Infrastructures between Europe & Africa (project fact sheet and PowerPoint presentation).

The project has the strategic objective to promote European e-Infrastructures developments and exploitation in Africa and to develop stronger cooperation links between Europe and Africa thanks to, among other things, the organisation of the “2010 Euro-Africa e-Infrastructures Conference” – a very first exciting conference filled with discussions and debates, networking opportunities and knowledge-sharing among key stakeholders in the field and policymakers coming from all over Europe and Africa.

As an International e-Infrastructures project, eI-Africa also seeks to reinforce the relevance of Europe’s e-Infrastructures in Africa, to raise awareness on e-Infrastructures in Africa, and to ensure that European e-Infrastructures related projects can get the highest visibility on the African continent.

Project Acronym eI-Africa (e-Infrastructures Africa)
Project Baseline Strengthening Cooperation on e-Infrastructures between Europe & Africa
Project Number 246650
Funding Scheme 3.3 – Coordination & Support Action / CAS-SA
Programme FP7 / Capacities
Thematic Area Research Infrastructures
Call Identifier FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES-2009-1
Duration 18 months (Oct. 2009 – March 2011)
EC Project Officer Leonardo Flores, GEANT and e-Infrastructures Unit, DG INFSO
Project Coordinator Karine Valin, Sigma Orionis

What are e-Infrastructures ?

e-Infrastructures are changing the way science is carried out!  e-Infrastructures are:

  • A combination of ICT-based resources and associated tools and services such as networks, computing systems and scientific data repositories
  • A new way of collaborating and sharing resources independently of the researcher’s geographical location
  • A key enabler for virtual global research communities
  • A driver for social and economic well-being

e-Infrastructures by themes

  • Linking ideas at the speed of light: GÉANT
  • Sharing the best scientific resources: e-Science grids
  • Accessing knowledge: scientific data
  • Designing future facilities: novel e-Infrastructure
  • Innovating in the scientific process: global virtual research communities

About the GÉANT and e-Infrastructures Unit of the European Commission (DG INFSO)

The Research Infrastructures part of the FP7 Capacities Programme supports an innovative way of conducting scientific research (referred to as e-Science) by the creation of a new environment for academic and industrial research in which virtual communities share, federate and exploit the collective power of scientific facilities.

The term e-Infrastructures refers to this new research environment in which all researchers – whether working in the context of their home institutions or in national or multinational scientific initiatives – have shared access to unique or distributed scientific facilities (including data, instruments, computing and communications), regardless of their type and location in the world.

The EC GÉANT and e-Infrastructures Unit aims at:

  • Extending and reinforcing the high capacity communication infrastructure GÉANT
  • Strengthening multidisciplinary grid and supercomputing infrastructures
  • Expanding scientific data infrastructures
  • Encouraging the adoption of e-Infrastructures by an increasing number of user communities
  • Stimulating new organisational models
  • Supporting the construction of new computation and data treatment facilities
  • Exploiting the power of e-Infrastructure as a vector of international cooperation

e-Infrastructures – The policy context

The Lisbon Strategy aims to build “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” in response to today’s economic and social challenges. The European Research Area (ERA) is a key compo­nent of the Lisbon Strategy because it boosts research infrastructures, promotes industry investment in European research and contributes to the creation of sustainable growth and jobs. e-Infrastructures are one of the central pillars of the ERA and supports the i2010 initiative. This is the EU policy framework for the information society and media. It fosters the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for research through:

  • Building a common European information space: e-Infrastructures know no borders, allow researchers to co-operate, facilitate flow of informa­tion across Europe and beyond, and are easily accessible;
  • Strengthening ICT research and its deployment in Europe: as early adopters of new ICT developments, e-Infrastructures are validating ICT research results and paving the way for further innovation. They are an excellent example of how ICT can be used to make science more effective;
  • Promoting an inclusive information society: e-Infrastructures make science accessible to all. by facilitating access to scientific discoveries and increasing international co-operation.

e-Infrastructures are rooted in the Capacities objective of the EU’s FP7 and inspired by the policy work carried out in the context of European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), e-Infrastructures Reflection Group (e-IRG) and the ERA.

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