Pre-announcement: European-African call on food security

17 January 2017

LEAP-Agri is an African Union – European Union partnership between thirty partners aimed at research and innovation for food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. The partnership is an ERA-NET co-fund financed by institutes and ministries from these countries with additional finances from the European Commission in support of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation and the implementation of the jointly funded EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership.

Picture: Shutterstock

The LEAP-Agri Call for proposals

For the call component, the global expected contribution of African and European countries in 18.5 million euros, and taking in account the expected EC contribution, a total of 27.6 million euros should be dedicated to the Joint call for proposal. For Dutch researchers 1.5 million euros is made available by NWO and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, which will allow funding of the Dutch contribution to about six projects. The call is expected to be launched in February 2017, and open for three months.

The call invites consortia composed of at least four research organisations and/or private and public practitioners from the partner countries (two African and two European) to submit project proposals for research and innovation in the countries concerned and with an added value for the EU-AU partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. Requirements may differ between institutes/countries. The proposal development and execution should be driven by local demand and include an approach that contributes to enhancing impact.

Call topics

Its objective is to develop scientifically based practical solutions in a research process to improve the agricultural sector and the growing  demand for food security and nutrition. The call will consider three main topics and applicants are asked to submit proposals for research projects developing solutions to take care of:

  • Sustainable agricultural production intensification, in relation with social, economic and environmental aspects, including aquaculture;
  • Population nutrition and health in relation with agriculture and food systems;
  • Access to food, expansion and improvement of agricultural markets and trade, including local and territorial dynamics.

Projects proposals should take into consideration the different niches of agricultural production and trade covering the range of family farmers, as well as medium and large scale producers, their multicriterial performances, their contribution to local, regional and international markets, as well as the processing of food and grocery marketing, with a focus on rural and urban African population food security. All projects will have to include collaborative research. To focus and connect the knowledge sharing and research uptake activities, projects will be asked to design a Theory of Change with a related Impact Pathway which mentions well-specified outputs and outcomes. Other actions related to innovation and mobility are strongly encouraged. 

Proposal selection

Project proposal should join together at least four teams (research institutes and other organisations, depending of funding agencies eligibility criteria) from two African countries and two European countries part of the LEAP-Agri consortium. National or international teams from countries not part of LEAP-Agri could join some project proposal, but would then have to cover their financial participation to the projects. The project duration should be three years, and depending of their objectives, global project proposal should range from 0.3 up to 1.5 million euros.

The call will be scheduled with a two-step approach:

  • first a limited pre-proposal to be submitted in English to the Call Secretariat (via an on line submission), which will be evaluated by an independent evaluation panel;
  • second, for selected pre-proposal, a complete proposal to be submitted in English, to be evaluated by independent international reviewers.

A ranking list of the selected projects will then be established, and projects will get funds until Funding Agencies budget completion: each team will get funding from its country funding agency (and in some cases from other Funding Agencies), depending of the Eligibility criteria indicated by each LEAP-Agri Funding Agency. 

Policy background

LEAP-Agri operates under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, and its EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation, which includes the implementation of the jointly funded EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership focusing on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (endorsed by the EU-Africa Summit 2014).

The LEAP-Agri partnership is driven by concerns about how to achieve universal food and nutrition security. Access to food remains a global challenge, with hundred millions of people not having enough to eat. Nutritional imbalances in Europe and Africa are increasing, characterised by persistent under nutrition and growing diet-related diseases. It is projected that the global population will increase from seven billion to more than nine billion by 2050, the majority of this growth is expected to take place in Africa.

Partnership background

This EU-AU partnership builds upon long term collaborations between Europe and Africa. For LEAP-Agri this is exemplified by the support of ERAfica and IntensAfrica for this co-fund. The ERAfrica consortium is an independent initiative of African and European funders building on the success of the former ERA-Net Africa co-funded by African and European research agencies. The IntensAfrica consortium, has the experience of collaboration between Europe and Africa in the area of Food and Nutrition for Security and Sustainable Agriculture.

To consider this priority, a consortium of thirty partners from nineteen African and European countries has been set up, in partnership with the European Commission, and build an ERANet-Cofund project named LEAP-Agri: a Long term Europe Africa research and innovation Partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable Agriculture.

This project has two pillars:

  • Launching a call for proposals for research projects combining Science and Impact;
  • Feeding the long term Europe Africa FNSSA strategy and research community.

Countries and funding agencies participating in the call

African countries: Algeria (DGRSTD-MESRS), Burkina Faso (FONRID), Cameroun (MINRESI), Egypt (MHESR), Ghana (STEPRI-CSIR), Kenya (MOEST), Senegal (MESR), South Africa (NRF), Uganda (UNCST);

European countries: Belgium (FWO, FNRS, BELSPO), Finland (AKA), France (ANR, AFD), Germany (BLE, DLR), Netherlands (NWO, MINEZ), Norway (RCN), Portugal (FCT), Spain (MINECO), Turkey (TUBITAK);

International organisations: CIHEAM-IAMB (based in Italy)

Further information related to the call can be found on the LEAP-Agri website :

Source: NWO