Apply to ESA EO AFRICA R&D Facility’s Opportunities

0
204
Source: ESA

ESA EO AFRICA R&D Facility has multiple opportunities

ESA EO AFRICA R&D Facility: Apply for Call for Research Proposals 2024-2025

The European Space Agency (ESA) Earth Observation Africa Research and Development (EO AFRICA R&D), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), has announced a call for research proposals to leverage earth observation to tackle present and future challenges in water and food security for Africa. In addition, ten research proposals will receive support for 15-month projects starting on November 1, 2024.

Research Topics

Water and food are the main themes of the EO AFRICA R&D Facility’s Research Calls. The present call addresses research topics on leveraging Earth Observation data to tackle present and future water and food security challenges for Africa. Proposals in the following topics are encouraged to apply:

EO contributions, using various techniques such as e.g. optical and hyperspectral remote sensing, Polarimetric and SAR to study and monitor:

  • Marine and coastal resources;
  • Regional evapotranspiration and hydrological stresses;
  • Hydrological extremes and induced hazards such as droughts and floods;
  • Crop development, yield forecast, precision farming and irrigation demand;
  • Lakes and rivers dynamics;
  • Water and air quality; and
  • Forest and rangeland processes.
Application Criteria

Project proposals shall meet the following criteria:

  • The project must be proposed by two scientists representing a collaborative partnership of one African and one European research entity (e.g., institute, laboratory, university). The co-principal investigators should possess a PhD degree relevant to the topics of the call or be in the process of obtaining it as a PhD candidate;
  • Project teams may include more researchers;
  • Projects should be completed within 15 months;
  • Project proposals should focus on one or more of the research topics of the call;
  • Each proposal is expected to contain a research plan for the scientific cooperation of the African and European partners to develop an innovative and open-source EO algorithm/ workflow (e.g., as a set of Jupyter Notebooks hosted on a public git-enabled platform);
  • The proposal should explain how the work will be shared among the partners, including the roles of project team members and their expected contributions;
  • The proposed research can be linked to the partners’ ongoing (collaborative) project. In that case, the proposal should delineate the activities from those of the ongoing research project;
  • The research plan should be accompanied by a detailed budget, including anticipated cost items related to the research project;
  • The proposed budget cannot include ICT resources for computing purposes (e.g., servers and HPC budgets), as the ESA’s Network of Resources will provide such resources separately;
  • The proposed budget must include the costs of attending the Living Planet Symposium 2025 (Vienna, 23-27 June 2025). At least one person associated with the project is expected to attend;
  • Both partners have equal rights to the budget, so its allocation must be decided in a full agreement. Nevertheless, due to the governing regulations, the European partner is responsible for administering the entire project budget and consequently handles the African partner’s costs and invoices;
  • The Innovation Lab of the EO AFRICA R&D Facility should be used for the development and execution of the algorithm/workflow and auxiliary project activities. Commercial use of the resources or executing activities not related to the project are not allowed;
  • The developed algorithm/workflow should utilise EO data from ESA missions, such as Sentinel. Third-party data can also be utilised. The use of analysis-ready data and EO data services is encouraged;
  • Projects need to allocate resources so that at least one of the team members attends a face-to-face course presented by the facility on “Cloud Computing for EO Data Analysis”;
  • If one of the project’s outputs is a dataset, it must follow the attached guidelines on publishing cloud-native datasets; and
  • The developed algorithm/workflow and its application in the call’s thematic context shall be published at least in one international conference proceeding or in an open-access peer-reviewed journal. The Facility supports open-access publications from an additional fund, so open-access publication costs should not be included in the budget.
Funding and Benefits

The EO AFRICA R&D Facility will provide the selected projects with:

  • A budget of up to USD 32,460 (EUR 30,000) covers research activities during the project period (max. 14 months), such as personnel costs, fieldwork, data collection, bilateral visits, scientific meetings, training activities, etc; 
  • Free access to cloud-based Virtual Research Environments (VREs) through the Innovation Lab of the Facility, an interactive geospatial computing platform with ready-to-use EO software and facilitated access to EO data (e.g., Sentinel and other ESA missions) through the host DIAS infrastructure;
  • Dedicated user and technical support for using VREs and developing geospatial computing workflows.
  • Scientific support and advice by senior researchers and EO AFRICA R&D Facility consortium experts;
  • Access to the EO AFRICA Space Academy and its Digital Campus for capacity and knowledge development activities, such as online courses, webinars and face-to-face training events on EO, cloud computing, food security and water scarcity; and
  • Integration into the EO AFRICA Network for international scientific networking, collaboration and visibility.
Proposal Submission
  • The deadline for submitting a full proposal is 20 September 2024, 18:00 CET.

The proposal submission shall include the following:

  • The research proposal is fully completed in all parts according to the provided template (English or French), duly signed by the African and the European Co-PIs and authorised representatives of the African and European research institutions;
  • Detailed CV of the African co-principal investigator;
  • Detailed CV of the European co-principal investigator; and
  • Short resumes of other researchers in the team.

The following items are optional and will be considered as assets:

  • Support letter(s) from the beneficiaries;
  • Any other relevant document.
Contact

Any questions relating to the call should be e-mailed to research@eoafrica-rd.org no later than two working days before the submission deadline.

For more information, click here.

ESA EO AFRICA R&D Facility: Call for African-led Training Material Design

The European Space Agency (ESA) Earth Observation Africa Research and Development (EO AFRICA R&D), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), has announced the call for African-led training material design. The training materials are expected to support/contribute to EO-curricula at African Universities.

The Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente will support the development of the materials scientifically and technically (including a one-week workshop at ITC premises in Enschede, The Netherlands). The Facility will cover separately the cost of two persons attending a one-week workshop at ITC (i.e., one month after the beginning of the activity).

Objective
  • The development of training materials to be included in EO-related university curricula in Africa.
Call for Development of Training Materials
  • Five higher education teaching grants of up to USD 5,413 (EUR 5000) each will be awarded to develop a curriculum on an Earth Observation topic related to water and food security;
  • The training kit must be self-contained and copyright-free with all components and will be part of the EO AFRICA RDF Digital Campus. The kit must include digital or video resources, data, background information, student worksheets, and a reading list. Invited course developers will get access to all materials (in Moodle) already developed in the context of EO AFRICA RDF;
  • The training materials must be original and written in English. Training packages will ideally have to become part of an MSc degree curriculum. The first run of the course has to be given to university students; and
  • Applications are welcome from any country in Africa.
Application Criteria

Project proposals shall meet the following criteria:

  • The training kit must be proposed by an African University or Entity with a training mandate.
  • The curriculum must cover an Earth Observation topic related to Water and Food Security.
  • The training kit should be completed within 12 months.
  • The proposed training kit should be part of an existing (MSc) degree programme.
  • The proposed plan should be accompanied by a detailed budget with clear timelines.
Funding and Benefits

The EO AFRICA R&D Facility will provide the selected proposals with:

  • A budget of up to USD 5,413 (EUR 5,000) to cover development activities during the project period (max. 12 months), such as personnel costs, fieldwork and data collection.
  • 1-week curriculum development workshop at ITC premises in Enschede, The Netherlands, for two persons (planned date 11-15 November 2024).
  • Scientific support and advice by senior academic staff of the EO AFRICA R&D Facility consortium.
  • Access to the EO AFRICA Space Academy and its Digital Campus for capacity and knowledge development activities, such as online courses, webinars, and face-to-face training events on EO, cloud computing, food security, and water scarcity.
  • Integration into the EO AFRICA Network for international scientific networking, collaboration, and visibility.
Proposal Submission
  • The deadline for submitting a full proposal is Sunday, 18 August 2024, 23:59 CET;
  • The proposal submission shall be completed in all parts according to the provided template and duly signed by the authorised representative; and
  • Proposals shall be submitted as a single PDF document with all supportive documents (e.g., CVs, support letters) to ESA through EO AFRICA R&D Facility via e-mail to TMproposals@eoafrica-rd.org.
Evaluation

Proposals will be evaluated by an expert committee with members delegated by ESA, AUC, EO AFRICA R&D Facility. The following criteria will be considered:

  • Scientific and pedagogic merit (30%),
  • Relevance to enhance knowledge and skills in EO (15%),
  • Relation to labour market needs (10%),
  • Developers’ qualifications based on CVs (10%),
  • Detailed description and justification of budget allocation (20%). Eligible costs can include personnel, fieldwork, and data collection costs.

The applicants will be informed about the result of the selection in an e-mail, and the list of awarded projects will be published on the EO AFRICA R&D website on 9 September 2024.

The scientific content and the exact budget for each selected project proposal will be finalised in agreement with the EO AFRICA R&D Facility and will be authorised by ESA.

Important Dates
  • Open Call: 1 July 2024;
  • Submission of Proposals: 18 August 2024;
  • Communication of Selection Results: 9 September 2024;
  • Start of activity: 1 October 2024;
  • Workshop: 11-15 November 2024;
  • Submission of training package: 1 November 2025; and
  • Course delivered: 1 March 2026.

For more information, click here.

Click here to get real time data and information on every Segments and players in the African space and satellite industry.