African Research Fellowships Calls


The African Research Fellowship (ARF), coordinated by European Space  Agency (ESA), aims at empowering African researchers (PhD or Master’s degree holders with extensive research experience) to carry out earth observation (EO) research and development (R&D) activities relevant for the EO AFRICA Initiative. The African Research Fellows shall maximise the use of EO data in synergy with in-situ and state-of-the-art modelling approaches in a cloud environment to respond to the challenges the African continent is facing concerning water resources management and food security.

With this call, ESA offers one-year fellowships to work at the ESA-ESRIN (European Space Research Institute) premises in Frascati, Rome, Italy.


EO AFRICA stands for African framework for research, innovation, communities and applications building an African-European R&D partnership. It aims to build an African-European R&D partnership to facilitate the adoption of earth observation and related space technology in Africa, in full coordination with the operational GMES & Africa initiative led by the African Union Commission (AUC). The initiative is driven by African user needs and follows a long-term vision for the emergent digital era in Africa. The new generation of African researchers can boost R&D in Africa. With this call, they will be empowered to develop innovative and reliable evidence-based solutions exploiting EO data, enabling policymakers and the civil society to address social/environmental/economic policies.

The African Research Fellowship aims to achieve this objective by:

  • R&D activities are undertaken by young African researchers with a focus on major African challenges and knowledge gaps, which may support Africa and global environmental and development agendas; and
  • Exploiting ICT capabilities that help to maximise the use of earth observation data available over the continent and promoting an open science approach where sharing data, results, and knowledge is at the core of the value chain.

Research Areas

Candidates shall make a one-year R&D proposal contributing to one of the following areas:

  • Water resources management in topics related to water cycle assessment, water pollution monitoring, drought/flood risks assessment/mitigation/adaptation and agricultural water use; and
  • Food security in topics related to agriculture/aquaculture practices monitoring, also responding to ecosystem management (e.g. regenerative agriculture, water productivity, food crisis forecast and management, irrigation systems, nutrients management, infestations).

The R&D activity will be coordinated and aligned with the EO AFRICA Initiative, which provides training opportunities and scientific tools for the selected research fellows. In addition, the EO AFRICA Space Academy and its digital campus will give access to a wide range of expertise and knowledge to be shared with research fellows. At the same time, the EO AFRICA innovation lab will allow the African research fellows to collaborate with European scientists and implement their research ideas directly.

The needed documents to apply are:

  • Research Proposal (see template);
  • CV with the most recent publication list. Such document containing both the CV and publication list shall not be longer than three pages;
  • Copy of ID;
  • Scan of PhD or Master Diploma; and
  • Two reference letters.

Please find below a zip file containing:

  • more technical information about the general tasks to be covered by the proposal and logistic aspects;
  • the template for proposal submission; and
  • the privacy notice.

To apply for this call, kindly download this file.

Important Dates

Submission of Proposals – 30 September 2021

Communication of Results (tentative) –  Mid November 2021

Beginning of Activities (tentative) – 1st quarter 2022

To apply for the African Research Fellowships, kindly check here.

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