European parliament

The European Parliament (EP) has called for greater collaboration with Africa in the field of radio astronomy, following its implementation of Written Declaration 45 on science capacity building in Africa.

Written Declaration 45 is aimed at harnessing the scientific and economic benefits of increasing science capacity in Africa as the continent has several advantages in the field of radio astronomy that are not available in Europe.

EP Industry, Research and Energy Committee member, Fiona Hall, said: "This means that radio astronomy in Africa has enormous potential for growth and offers opportunities to European researchers and industry that they will not find in Europe."

Subsequent to its implementation by the EP, Written Declaration 45/2011 will be advanced to the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the parliaments of the Member States.

EP vice-president and a member of the Committee on Development, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, said: "The importance of science for socio-economic development in Africa has already been recognised in the Millennium Development Goals."

"European involvement in African radio astronomy represents a possible driver of socio-economic change," Martínez said.

Written Declaration 45/2011 emphasises the potential role of Horizon 2020, which is the EU’s primary source for funding scientific research and development between 2014 and 2020, and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI).

MEP and Industry, Research and Energy Committee member, Teresa Riera Madurell, said: "Following the adoption of the Written Declaration, a potential addition to Horizon 2020 could emphasise the role of capacity building with a particular focus on astronomy."

"This would draw on elements of the adopted Written Declaration with a view to establishing collaboration with Africa as a programme theme," Madurell said.

Operating under a separate legislative instrument from Horizon 2020, DCI is the EU’s main mechanism for offering development assistance through the general EU budget.


Image: European Parliament’s Written Declaration 45 will exploit the scientific and economic benefits of increasing science capacity in Africa. Photo: Cedric Puisney