FNSSA IRC Platform | Frequently Asked Questions
General questions about International Research Consortia (IRC)
Q1 - Who can be member of an IRC?
A1 – Any institution that sign in to the IRC objectives and modes of operation and is committed to strive for the success of its activities.
Q2 - Are there already active IRC?
Q3 - How is an IRC organised ?
A3 – Existing IRC have adopted various forms of internal organisation, for instance based on constituencies of stakeholder categories, or on thematic priorities, or on ad hoc working groups.
Q4 - How is an IRC governed?
A4 – Most IRCs have a governance system organised around three levels: a general assembly bringing together all the institutions signatory of the MoU, an advisory body (like a scientific council), and a secretariat (or a coordination unit) for the day-to-day management.
Q5 - What is an IRC, in plain words?
A5 – It is a group of committed institutions, including research and innovation institutions, which agree formally (through a document such as a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the heads of the founding institutions) to work jointly (or in alignment) for the mid to long term (for instance for a first phase of 5 years) towards defined goals.
Specific questions about the IRC Platform in support to the AU-EU R&I Partnership on FNSSA
Q6 - What activities will this platform perform?
A6 – Deliver Information (including tailored information on request), facilitate contacts, manage funding.
Q7 - How will it be funded?
A7 – By in-kind and in-cash contributions from its members, and by additional support on a project-by- project basis (in particular from the EC and/or AUC). Most IRCs rely on members contributions to sustain their core-tasks (like the secretariat and governance meetings), and then expand their activities by securing additional funding, on a project mode.
Q8 - Can the European Commission and/or the African Union Commission be a member (or contribute directly) of the IRC FNSSA Platform? What place will they have in the governance?
A8 – The possibility exists for the EC and the AUC to be a member. In existing IRCs, the EC has chosen not to be a member but to support them through Project funding.
Q9 - When will the platform start working? And for how long?
A9 – That will be up to the founding institutions to decide, but the objective is to launch this IRC platform before the end of 2022. And the hope is that the FNSSA IRC Platform will continue to exist as long as its member see it has added value and therefore renew their commitment. Initial commitment could be for a first phase of 5 years, potentially renewable.
Q10 - Can an institution outside Africa and Europe be a member?
A10 – Yes.
Q11 - If I am a natural person, can I join?
A11 – It could be considered by the founders of this IRC but the most likely answer is “no”, because an IRC brings together institutions, therefore legal persons.
Q12 - Is there a membership fee?
A12 – not necessarily, the founding institutions will decide on membership conditions themselves.
Q13 - When can I join?
A13 – Membership will be possible as soon as the IRC has been set up, but institutions can already manifest now their interest in being kept informed and / or in participating in IRC preparatory and design meetings.
Q14 - Regarding the EU AU FNSSA projects database, can I add projects from my institution?
A14 – Yes, this service is already in place. Please, contact:
Q15 - What is the relationship between this IRC and existing institutions such as GFAR, FARA and EFARD?
A15 – FARA and EFARD will be most welcome as a member. Since GFAR is a global organisation, it could help the IRC in setting up. Membership is perhaps less obvious.
Q16 - What is the envisioned impact of the IRC?
A16 – Demand driven research and capacity building. Less fragmentation and more coherence of the initiatives. A direct connection to bi-continental policy dialogues, discussing new research and policy priorities. Through a multi-stakeholder partnership, adding higher impact of research. Mutual learning from both continents.
Q17 - What is the long-term sustainability of the IRC?
A17 – This depends on the commitment of the members and their financial support. Since the platform aims at achieving the SDGs, it might at least last until 2030.
Q18 - What will be the administrative burden of IRC? How many meetings are foreseen per year, will the IRC lead be a full-time position?
A18 – These aspects are not predetermined; they will be decided by the founding members of the IRC, based on the governance mode they choose, on the tasks they want to implement and the resources they gather. In all cases, relevance, efficiency, pragmatism and adaptability must be key values.