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Data Initiatives in Africa – Opportunities and Challenges for Research and Sustainable Development

The World Data System (WDS) in collaboration with the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD:, the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de Grenoble (OSUG : and with support from the Group on Earth Observations (GEO: will be hosting a 2-day exploratory meeting on 12–13 April 2017 hosted at the OSUG in Grenoble. 


WDS is an interdisciplinary body of the International Council for Science (ICSU) responsible for creating an international network of trusted data services to support international science. WDS supports ICSU’s vision of scientific excellence by promoting long-term stewardship of, and universal and equitable access to, quality-assured scientific data and data services, products, and information across a range of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, and the humanities. WDS has also the objective to sustain and support existing and new data initiatives, services and repositories and to encourage the development of new ones.

The goals of this meeting are two-fold: firstly, to provide WDS with an opportunity to learn about the many data initiatives in Africa—including those led by IRD—and to understand the associated opportunities and challenges, and secondly to discuss how WDS can support these initiatives for example with the certification of data repositories and data networks.  

The proposed meeting structure will allow participants to present the initiatives in which they are involved, and learn about the work of WDS. Most of the time will be spent in open discussion about ways to move forward together.

Draft Agenda

Wednesday 12 April

09.00–09.15    Welcome by the Director of OSUG Michel Dietrich (TbC) 
09.15–09.30 Goals of ICSU World Data System Sandy Harrison (Chair WDS)
09.30–10.00   WDS in the global data landscape Wim Hugo (Vice-chair)
10.00–10.30 WDS Membership and Certification Ingrid Dillo (Vice-chair)
10.30–11.00  WDS functions Mustapha Mokrane (E.D.)
11.00–11.30 Coffee break

Presentations of  Data Initiatives in Africa I

  1. IRD Data in AfricaJacqueline Signorini
  2. Environmental observatories in AfricaSylvie Galle
  3. Data at the University of Grenoble AlpesJulien Lesemeur
  4. Southern Africa Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land-use (SASSCAL)Joerg Helmschrot
  5. Data Initiatives in Africa
13.00–14.30  Lunch break
14.30–16.00  Presentations of African Data Initiatives II
  1. Senegal National Geomatics Plan (PNG)Amadou Dieye
  2. NASA / SERVIR-West AfricaEmil Cherrington
  3. AfriGEOSSAndiswa Mlisa
  4. Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA)Anwar Vahed
  5. Another initiative TBC
16.00–16.30 Coffee break
16.00–18.00 Discussion on practical issues facing new data initiatives in Africa Arona Diedhiou

Thursday 13 April

09.00–10.30 Breakout Sessions (List of topics TbC)
A: Nature and role of data repositories
B: Integration of existing initiatives
C: Funding and business models
10.30–11.00  Coffee break
11.00–12.00 Reports from breakout groups A, B and C
12.00–13.00 Plenary discussion: How can WDS support current data initiatives in Africa
13.00–14.30  Lunch break
14.30–16.00 Plenary wrap-up discussion: Decisions about practical and actionable steps for moving forward
16.00–  Meeting adjourns


Because of a limited meeting room capacity, the meeting is by invitation only. Please contact us by email at if you are interested to participate and we will send you the registration link.

When from 12 Apr 09:00 AM to 13 Apr 2017 04:00 PM
Where Grenoble, France
Contact Name
Contact Phone +819057904732
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