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Research and innovation

Governance structure of the HLPD

How the governance of the high-level policy dialogue is structured, senior officials' meetings, forum, bureau and contact

Governance structure

The HLPD is co-chaired by the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and by the African Union member state holding chair of the Specialised Technical Committee (STC) on Education, Science and Technology of the African Union.

Research and innovation ministers’ meeting

The first research and innovation ministers’ meeting took place in July 2020 under the AU-EU High-Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation. Reporting, support and preparation of the ministerial meetings and follow-up of ministerial decisions is ensured by the HLPD Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM). Read the meeting concept note


1st AU-EU Research & Innovation Ministers’ Meeting

The meeting was chaired by EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel for Innovation, Research, Education, Culture and Youth and AU Commissioner Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor for Human Resources, Science and Technology. The Ministerial focused on the public health and socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis and discussed short-, medium-, and long-term research and innovation interventions to alleviate the consequences of the crisis and economic recovery.


HLPD Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM)

The HLPD SOM formulates, reinforces and evaluates Africa-Europe cooperation in research and innovation (R&I) and supports the sustainable development of both regions. It

  • is a forum to exchange information views and recommendations on policy and establishes a shared information base
  • identifies development issues of regional importance to be addressed by research and innovation cooperation
  • proposes actions, bilateral cooperation activities between countries or the exchange of information at national level
  • observes and reports on policies, developments and activities
  • communicates and exchanges information with the African Union Commission, European Commission, and their member countries on cooperation in research and innovation
  • supports and prepares the ministerial meeting on research and innovation, and follows up the implementation of the ministerial decisions
  • provides guidance to expert groups in research and innovation issues
  • reports to the AU-EU Ministerial Meetings on research and innovation issues
  • identifies methods and sources of funding to advance cooperation and foster co-ownership of the policy dialogue

The dialogue is co-chaired by the European Commission (DG RTD) and by the African Union (STC on Education, Science and Technology). Biennial Senior Officials' Meetings (SOMs) bring together research and innovation representatives from the 27 EU and the 55 AU member countries. The regional economic communities, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and other regional organisations are invited as observers to attend the SOM.


7th Senior Officials meeting of the AU-EU High Level Policy Dialogue for Science, Technology and Innovation 27 January 2022

Director Maria Cristina Russo (DG R&I, Directorate F) co-chaired today the 7th Senior Officials Meeting of the AU-EU High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) for Science Technology and Innovation, together with Professor Amadou Abdoul Sow, Acting Chair of the AU Specialised Technical Committee on Science, Technology and Education. The focus of this meeting was on discussing the AU-EU Innovation Agenda  - a working document prepared subsequent to the AU-EU R&I Ministerial meeting of 16 July 2020. The plenary session presented the working document of the AU-EU Innovation Agenda to EU and AU Member States for review and inputs, in the run up to the AU-EU Summit.

HLPD Plenary on Science, Technology and Innovation with focus on COVID-19

An exceptional AU-EU High-Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation Plenary took place virtually on 18th June 2020. The Senior Officials highlighted the essential role of research and innovation in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and added that collaboration between the AU and EU in this domain is a key.

5th HLPD Senior Officials Meeting (SOM)

The 5th HLPD SOM took place in November 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Senior Officials decided to form a working group on innovation as a third pillar of the HLPD, which is currently being set up. Supporting innovation has gained in importance in AU-EU relations, exemplified by the EU-Africa Innovation Partnership pilot initiative.


HLPD Stakeholder Forum

The HLPD Stakeholder Forum is a support structure to enrich and guide the formal and informal processes of the bi‐regional policy dialogue. It was set up in 2017. The meeting is organised by the  partnerships and brings together African and European stakeholders to provide strategic direction, exchange successes, discuss challenges and future plans.

The partnerships' stakeholders give direction for the next strategic steps of the HLPD and its partnerships and the development of further joint activities. The Stakeholder Forum is organised back-to-back with the HLPD SOM.

Outcome report of the 2019 stakeholder forum

HLPD Bureau

The HLPD Bureau supports the HLPD SOM. It is made up of representatives from several AU and EU countries and provides logistic and technical support to the SOM, chaired by the SOM chair. Since 2013 the HLPD bureau has met more than 50 times, mostly through video conference.

African Bureau members: AUC – Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Uganda (AU co-chair), Central African Republic (1st Vice Chair), Namibia (2nd Vice Chair), Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan.

European country Bureau members: Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain


55th HLPD Bureau Meeting

The meeting on 6 May took stock of the main initiatives in Europe-Africa cooperation in innovation and reflected on the path ahead. A joint EU-AU concept paper on a shared innovation agenda was proposed to be drafted in the near future.

52nd HLPD Bureau MeetingThe meeting on 3 December 2020 recalled the successful AU-EU R&I Ministerial in July and took stock of and followed-up the deliverables agreed during the Ministerial meeting as part of the four clusters: Public Health, Green Transition, Innovation & Technology and Capacities for Science.



RTD-EU-AFRICA-HLPD-BUREAUatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (RTD-EU-AFRICA-HLPD-BUREAU[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)