PAPSSN wins USD 1.7 Million EACEA Grant, Launches Mobility Scheme

The Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network (PAPSSN) are recipients of a grant of 1.4 million Euros (USD 1.7 million). The European Commission through the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) awarded the grant to the Network under the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme. The Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme is a project that supports higher education cooperation between countries in Africa. 

Led by Dr Fulvio Franchi, the Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network aims to create a continent-wide mobility scheme for students, academic and support staff with an interest in planetary and space science disciplines.

According to him, “This mobility project wishes to develop the next generation of African scientists, leaders, and entrepreneurs by improving their access to high-quality STEM education, with particular emphasis on planetary and space science”. 

Professor Roger Gibson of the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, opined that the PAPSSN project builds on a long tradition of continentally-focussed capacity building and research network programmes in which Wits Geosciences is involved, including the Africa Array Geophysics Programme and, more recently, the Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences. He added that “The development of high-level skills utilising these (Satellite-based remote sensing) technologies among next-generation African researchers is fundamental to our continent’s growth and prosperity and to the creation of a connected network of researchers and educators that can grow Planetary and Space Sciences into the future.”
Professor Roger Gibson played an instrumental role in securing the funding. 

A team of experts from Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) will lead a consortium consisting of Higher Education Institutes from Ethiopia (Addis Ababa University), Nigeria (University of Nigeria Nsukka), South Africa (University of the Witwatersrand), Zambia (Copperbelt University), and a technical partner from Italy (University of Bologna).

The consortium includes relevant planetary and space science stakeholders in the partnering countries such as the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) Zambia, and the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Nigeria.

The PAPSSN aims to create a continent-wide mobility scheme for students, academic and support staff that harbours interests in the Planetary and Space Science discipline. Led by a team of experts from a consortium of Higher Education Institutes across Africa including Botswana (BIUST), South Africa (University of the Witwatersrand), Ethiopia (Addis Ababa University), Nigeria (University of Nigeria Nsukka), Zambia (Copperbelt University), and a technical partner from Italy (University of Bologna), The PAPSSN will improve the employability of graduate students through a mobility programme that will prepare them for leading roles in the future science and technology market that is expected to develop across Africa over the next decade.

For more information, please visit here.