Afretec awards $3.3M in grants to African research teams
The African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec) has awarded US$3.3 million in grants to university research teams to advance digital technologies across the continent.
Afretec is a pan-African collaboration of universities, established in 2022 and anchored at Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU Africa) campus in Kigali, Rwanda.
Eleven grants – of $300,000 each – have been awarded to multi-university research teams to build research capacity, advance digital transformation and work toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.
Each team will utilize innovative practices in disciplines that include artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, and information and communications technologies.
The Afretec Network focuses on producing critical, locally relevant innovations and globally competitive tech talent; multi-institution collaborations for knowledge creation; and fostering a tech startup culture and ecosystem across Africa through entrepreneurship education and business opportunities.
Funding for the network comes, in part, from a $275.7 million investment by the Mastercard Foundation in higher education and innovation in Africa. The investment, made in September 2022, includes a $175 million endowment to perpetually fund Carnegie Mellon Africa and $100.7 million to establish CMU-Africa's Center for the Inclusive Digital Transformation of Africa.
The research teams selected for the grant come from universities in Egypt, South Africa, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Côte d'Ivoire.
Research projects innovating across key sectors
The selected projects have the potential to address problems across a multitude of areas, including agriculture, education, energy, financial inclusion, healthcare, infrastructure, manufacturing, transportation, waste management and water systems.
Some of the key projects include:
You can find the full list of funded projects here.
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*Top image source: Image by Freepik.
— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa