Future Africa and ISC Co-Host Roundtable on Mobilising Science and Research Funding for Development in Africa

Future Africa, in collaboration with the International Science Council (ISC), recently co-hosted a roundtable on "Mobilising science and research funding for development: Transforming African science systems to promote sustainable development." Dr Farai Kapfudzaruwa, Research, and Strategic Partnerships Manager at Future Africa moderated the roundtable, which brought together experts and stakeholders to explore the crucial aspects of transforming African science systems and how science and science systems in Africa need to evolve to accelerate equitable societal transformation towards sustainable development on the continent.

The roundtable was part of a workshop on building capacity and scaling up the adoption of Science, Technology, and Innovation for Sustainable Development Goals (STI4SDGs) Roadmaps in Africa.

The workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 12 – 13 October 2023, and was co-organized by UN DESA, ECA, and the European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC/JR), with support from the Global Solutions Summit and International Research Centre on Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (CBAS).

The event aimed to build on the work of the UN Inter-Agency Task Team sub-working group on STI for SDGs Roadmap co-led by UN-DESA, UNESCO, and EC/JRC, and EC/JRC, and the recent discussions on STI roadmaps at the 2023 STI Forum and the Global Solutions Summit.

Dr Heide Hackmann, Director of Future Africa, and Strategic Advisor on Transdisciplinarity and Global Knowledge Networks at the University of Pretoria delivered a virtual keynote address at the workshop, focusing on the ISC proposed model for implementing science missions that contribute to sustainability.

Future Africa is currently leading the work of convening African partners in an inclusive scoping and development process. This process aims to articulate the needs of African scientists and science systems, make recommendations about the ISC's future role and institutional presence in Africa, and identify pathways for implementing those recommendations.

The workshop focused on roadmaps, emphasising that well-designed roadmaps are a critical driving force for achieving sustainable development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Other key issues discussed include:

  • Recognising the need to establish voluntary funding mechanisms to ensure the robust and sustainable development roadmapping process.
  • Determining how roadmaps could enable the continent to harness the potential of its youth, the Diaspora, innovation, and the private sector, ultimately contributing to enhancing the African manufacturing sector and transitioning towards more regenerative agricultural systems. 

The roundtable explored how science and science systems in Africa need to evolve to accelerate equitable societal transformation towards sustainable development on the continent.

  • Strengthening innovation ecosystems through the mapping of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) potentials.
  • Exploring funding and institutional mechanisms to drive mission-oriented research, aimed at addressing specific challenges related to the development and deployment of solutions for distinct goals or objectives, with a focus on involving youth and the Diaspora in technology scouting and deployment.
  • Assessing the financial requirements and resources for enhancing capabilities in accessing and utilising extensive Earth data to support the SDGs.
  • Developing funding mechanisms and strategies for implementing roadmaps effectively.
  • Localisation of sustainability challenges for mission-led STI strategies.
  • Advancing roadmap actions through Africa Youth Programmes.
  • Strengthening scientific capabilities and building research infrastructure across Africa.
  • Promoting inclusive, participatory approaches in the design and execution of STI for the SDGs roadmaps.