African Research Fellowships Call 2021


The African Research Fellowship (ARF) Coordinated by ESA aims at empowering African Researchers (PhD or Master degree with extensive research experience) to carry out Earth Observation (EO) 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 with respect to: water resources management and food security.

With this call, ESA offers 1-year fellowships to work at the ESA-ESRIN 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 AUC. The initiative is driven by African user needs, and follows a long-term vision (>10 years) for the emergent digital era in Africa. The new generation of African researchers can boost R&D in Africa, and with this call they will be empowered to develop innovative and reliable evidence-based solutions exploiting EO data, enabling policy makers and the civil society to address social/environmental/economic policies.

The African Research Fellowship aims to achieve this objective by:

  • R&D activities undertaken by the young African researchers with focus on major African challenges and knowledge gaps, which may support Africa and global environmental and development agendas.
  • 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.


Candidates shall propose a 1-year R&D proposal contributing to one of the following areas:

  • Water resources management, in topics related ton to water cycle assessment, water pollution monitoring, drought/flood risks assessment/mitigation/adaptation and agricultural water use.
  • 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 provide training opportunities and scientific tools for the selected African research fellows. 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. Whereas the EO AFRICA Innovation Lab will allow the African research fellows directly collaborate with European scientists and implement their research ideas.

The needed documents to apply are:

  • Research Proposal (see template)
  • CV with most recent publication list. Such document containing both the CV and publication list shall not be longer than 3 pages max
  • Copy of ID
  • Scan of PhD or Master Diploma
  • 2 Reference letters

Please find below a zip file containing:

  1. more technical information about the general tasks to be covered by the proposal and logistic aspects
  2. the template for proposal subission
  3. the privacy notice

Download the package to apply for the call


Open call                                                  16 July 2021
Submission of Proposals                       30 September 2021
Communication of Results (tentative) Mid November 2021
Beginning of Activities (tentative)         1st quarter 2022


Any questions relating to this Call must be sent, by e-mail to, not later than one (1) week before the Closing Date.

Follow this link to apply to the African Research Fellowships