New AU-EU Innovation Agenda highlights MSCA as important instrument for research cooperation

The recently adopted AU-EU Innovation Agenda highlights the importance of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) in strengthening scientific and academic mobility and training opportunities between Africa and Europe.
Image: Artem Podrez

The African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have recognised the importance of the MSCA in reinforcing the innovative capacities of researchers and innovators from both continents. The new joint AU-EU Innovation Agenda, supported by the Global Gateway, will serve as the foundation for cooperation on science, technology and innovation between Africa and Europe for the next decade.

Overall, the new agenda recognises the significant role that the MSCA can play in fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange between Africa and Europe. By prioritising scientific and academic mobility and training, the agenda aims to transform the innovative capacities of researchers and innovators into tangible outputs, such as products, services, businesses, and jobs.

MSC Actions considered as key contributor to successful implementation of agenda

Accompanying the agenda is a roadmap that outlines the governance and coordination of the agenda as well as a list of implementing initiatives. The MSCA are mentioned in both the agenda and the roadmap as a valuable programme that will contribute to its successful implementation, particularly in the areas of science and human capital development.

The MSCA will support the co-construction and co-reinforcement of training programmes, research and innovation projects that align with the socio-economic needs of both Africa and Europe. They will also promote joint master and doctoral degrees between universities in both regions, facilitating the inclusive mobility of students, researchers, and staff. This will increase the number of future researchers and innovators who can freely move between Africa and Europe, while also mitigating the risk of talent drain.

MSCA – Enhancing opportunities for scientific and academic mobility and training between Africa and Europe

Likewise, the MSCA will improve mobility and facilitate exchanges within and between the two continents. They will also enhance the training of students, staff and researchers, as well as the cooperation, transformation, and innovation capacities of higher education institutions. Additionally, they will strengthen research and innovation management capacities, science communication capacities, and STEM and social sciences capacities.

Between 2014 and 2020, more than 1,800 African organisations from 45 different countries have been involved in the MSCA. They account for more than 250 participations in more than 120 projects and more than 170 different African organisations. The programme follows a bottom-up approach, meaning that there are no thematic or geographical priorities and, thus, no specific funds for Africa. However, they are open to any nationality and region, including African organisations and researchers. Furthermore, organisations from third countries can also receive indirect funding through partnerships under the MSCA.

Check out all calls for funding opportunities in all the MSC Actions online. Currently, the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023 are open for submission of proposals until 13 September 2023. African participation is possible.

Are you an individual researcher looking for an MSCA-funded position at PhD or postdoctoral level? Then have a look at the list of vacancies published on EURAXESS. EURAXESS is the EU portal for researchers.

National Contact Points (NCP) provide guidance, practical information and assistance to organisations and individuals on all aspects of participating in Horizon Europe. Reach out to your local NCP!

Image: Artem Podrez/Pexels


Find out more


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

African Chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni (MCAA)



AU-EU Innovation Interface

Factsheet AU-EU Cooperation in R&I and the AU-EU Innovation Agenda

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