Brussels, 26 October 2011: Gearing up for a fresh Call for Proposals to be launched in December, stakeholders of the ACP-EU EDULINK and Science &Technology (S&T) Programme gather this week to share experiences and lessons learned from past projects.

Over three days from 26 to 28 October, close to a hundred participants will hear presentations from universities, programme management units and key organisations from all over Europe and the ACP region. Bilateral and sub-group meetings are also scheduled.

Opening the summit, Assistant Secretary General and Head of the Political Affairs and Human Development Department Michèle Dominique Raymond invited discussions on management and funding practices and in particular, feedback on finished projects.

“It is befitting to reflect on what has been achieved in the context of the EDULINK networks and how these networks can be sustained after the expiry of EDF funding… In a forum like this, you as beneficiaries may share these experiences, which will also assist the ACP Secretariat and the European Commission in the design of future programmes of this nature,” she told the group.

Mme Raymond added that after four years of EDULINK and two years of ACP S&T, all on-going and completed projects should be in a position to see whether they are on track with objectives. Both financed by the European Development Fund (EDF), the schemes aim for capacity building and regional integration in higher education institutions, as well as supporting science and technology polices that can lead to sustainable development and poverty reduction in ACP countries.

EuropeAid’s representative for the Sub-Saharan Africa and ACP wide region Jérôme Lebouc also urged participants to find “appropriate synergies” amongst their projects.

He noted a 2010 evaluation report on EDULINK highlighting key achievements such as the exponential growth in responses to calls for proposals (470 in last round), new links amongst universities and strong geographical spread of the projects.

However, he added that more qualitative work is needed to assess whether EDULINK has been successful in contributing to sustainable development and growth.

The conference is hosted jointly by the ACP Group and the European Commission at the ACP House in Brussels. -END-