The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) has been continuously expanding cooperation with African countries in science and research since 2013. These efforts involve, on the one hand, providing funding for bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects with leading African countries in the RTI sector, such as South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia. On the other hand, the efforts also entail measures on capacity building, expertise transfer and international research cooperation for countries with minimal resources in science and research. The goal is to help to resolve local problems in those countries through research, thereby boosting economic development and reducing the emigration of qualified workers from Africa (brain drain) to Europe.
Besides conducting programmes to support bilateral research projects (Scientific & Technological Cooperation) and taking part in multilateral EU initiatives, the BMBWF is now doing even more to support research cooperation with African researchers. In 2018, it launched two new initiatives of this kind in Vienna at the High Level Forum EU-Africa: a funding programme to support development research projects called Cooperation Development Research and the Austrian-African research network known as Africa UniNet.
Africa UniNet is set up as a sustainable cooperation and information platform for Austrian and African universities and research institutions. It is coordinated by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU). The BMBWF supports the network through its funding of a network office at the Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD). Besides running the network, the office handles specific funding measures to initiate joint research projects, exchanges of professors, workshops, seminars, conferences and the like.