Under this joint AU-EU initiative, awards are made to top African scientists for their achievements, discoveries and findings. The awards aim to encourage research that contributes to the well-being and improved quality of life of African citizens. The programme is implemented at national level for young researchers, regional level for women and at a continental level it is open to all scientists. The participation of women in research, their ability to contribute fully and be recognised for their work, is considered an integral part of sound policymaking.
The African Union Commission (AUC) is committed to supporting the use and development of science in Africa. Since 2008, it has run the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence (AUKNASE) with support from the European Union (EU) since 2012. This forms part of the EU-Africa collaboration in science, technology & innovation (STI), under the human development component of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES).
There is support to tune of EUR 8.5 million for the AUC's department of human resources, science & technology, as well as support for the second phase of the African Union research grants (AURG), under which the first call for proposals was launched in 2016.
In 2017, the awards were given to scientists in the fields of basic sciences, technology and innovation and life and earth sciences