Reflections on SADC Cyberinfrastructure Framework/Colin Wright
Framework & Roadmap towards an ICT
Infrastructure in Support of Research Data Sharing
14 May 2018, Centurion Lake Hotel, Pretoria, SA
Reflections on SADC Cyberinfrastructure Framework
Professor Colin Wright
SA-EU Open Science Dialogue Expert Working Group
ex NICIS / DST
Emeritus Research Professor, Wits
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1. Impact of Cyberinfrastructures
3. Situational Analysis of existing Cyber-Infrastructures within SADC
4. Background to Framework
5. Cyber-Infrastructure: Strategic Goals and Objectives
6. Focus Areas
7. Implementation Mechanism
8. Governance Structures
9. Communication, Awareness and Advocacy
10. Funding and Resources
11. Strategic Partnerships with Vendors and Industry
12. Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting and Learning
SADC CI Framework 20160622.final 24 June 2016 11.pdf
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Rapid change and innovation
order of our day…bombarded
with foreign terms, e.g.:
• Digital economy;
• Internet of Things;
• Big and Small Data & Cloud
• Smart Cities;
• Social media;
• Artificial Intelligence (AI),
Data Mining, Machine
• Smart mobile devices;
• 4th Industrial Revolution.
Open Research Lifecycle – ‘open’ science
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To be genuinely competitive in the knowledge economy, one must be competitive at:
• producing knowledge through research
• diffusing it through education
• applying it through innovation
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Open Infrastructure required by Open Science
• Effective Policy and Governance
• Open, sustainable Research Infrastructures
• Open, sustainable Cyber / e-Infrastructures and
• Role and contribution of National Laboratories &
• Public and private infrastructure, e.g. research
data infrastructures, computational resources,
broadband provision etc
• Appropriately governed, long term funding and
not one-off initiative
• Skilled personnel
• Meaningful stakeholder participation
SADC mission statement:
‘’to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient
productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance, and durable peace and security,
so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world
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Purpose of SADC CI Framework: form a basis for a SADC CI Strategy and Action Plan--it proposes an
implementation plan and governance structure for such Framework to:
• support the implementation of the approved SADC Strategic Plan on Science, Technology and Innovation
(STI)—this five year plan (2015-2020) will guide the region to create an enabling environment to harness
science, technology and innovation as a tool to address socio-economic challenges for sustainable
development in the region.
• contribute concretely to the Research and Development, Innovation and Industrialisation pillar of the Digital
• support implementation of the Protocol on Science, Technology and Innovation; Revised Regional Indicative
Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap; and Regional Infrastructure
Development Master Plan (RIDMP).
• In August 2009, the Blue Gene for Africa initiative initiated the development of the SADC HPC.
• Pilot projects on areas of economic activity that can be enhanced by HPC identified;
• Strategy for developing human capital resources for the efficient utilisation of HPC resources;
• Regional R&D strategy to address regional priority challenges.
• The SADC Joint Ministerial meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation, Education and Training held in
Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014, noted draft HPC Framework.
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Prior to SADC Cyber-Infrastructure Framework proposal, a draft SADC HPC (High Performance
Computing) Framework had been proposed.
However, with the contemporary rapid escalation in the importance of Data, collaborative research, data
sharing; the growing dependence on broadband connectivity and developments in regional national integrated
CI systems, the focus shifted towards the development of this holistic, integrated SADC CI Framework.
Situational Analyses of existing Cyber-Infrastructures within SADC Member States
• Situational Analysis for High Performance Computing (HPC) : various Centres, SKA activities
• Situational Analysis for National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) : The Ubuntunet Alliance is recognised Regional
Research and Education Network for Southern and Eastern Africa.
• Situational Analysis for Data
❑ As a component of NICIS Data Intensive Research Initiative for South Africa (DIRISA) is being developed.
❑ The Open Data for Africa platform is a response from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) aimed at boosting access
to quality data necessary for managing and monitoring development results in African countries.
❑ The Africa Data Consensus is a strategy for implementing the data revolution in Africa that aims to create a new statistical
landscape, opening up the field of data production and dissemination to state and non-state actors.
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The proposed CI Framework provides a coherent roadmap--to enhance and develop holistic CI System
in the SADC region to:
– impact socio-economic development and industrialisation;
– enhance education, not just educate the people in developing technologies but to use them as well; and
– support collaborative research development and innovation.
SADC Region recognised the importance of ICT:
• A cross-cutting enabler in addressing the challenges posed by globalisation,
• facilitating the regional integration agenda, and
• enhancing the socio-economic and political development prospects of the region.
RATIONALE AND POLICY FRAMEWORKS
Proposed SADC CI Framework is consistent with existing SADC Policy Frameworks, eg:
− SADC Treaty ; AU Agenda 2063
− STISA 2024 ; SADC Protocol in Science, Technology and Innovation ; SADC Strategic Plan on STI (2015-
− RISDP Revised 2015 ; RIDMP-Digital SADC 2027
− SADC Industrialization Strategy (2015-2063)
This CI Framework utilises the following
working definition of Cyber-Infrastructure
Cyber-Infrastructure (CI) is a key driver
for a knowledge based economy- it
comprises technologies, skills, people
and policies which support the
generation, analysis, transport and
sharing as well as stewardship of
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❑ Framework support moving from resource based to knowledge based economies by virtue of its impact on:
➢ e-education; e-health; e-government; and e-agriculture….and more.
❑ Impact on Regional Integration as a consequence of:
➢ Collaboration using cyber-infrastructure;
➢ Utilising CI to encourage collaborations in other sectors (e.g. energy, education, health, agriculture);
➢ Impact on Industrialisation, namely so-called Industry 4.0; and
➢ Technology transfer (spin-outs/start-ups, incubators), commercialisation and industrialisation.
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❑ An effective CI system could also impact:
➢ Citizen science;
➢ Digitally and nationally shared information repositories replacing traditional libraries;
➢ Disciplines previously untouched by the digital age;
➢ Social media data usage: utilize SM to impact disaster response systems, security systems, geophysical
➢ Sharing data, advancing to open data and Open Science;
➢ Countering tide of non-reproducible research by enforcing open data and open research principles.
❑ Research and Education Networks (RENs) and their allied services
❑ Computational resources- ranging from HPC through all requisite computing capabilities
❑ Research Data Infrastructures, including services;
❑ HR capacity development to enable:
▪ CI specialists to roll-out services and infrastructure;
▪ Beneficiaries to fully benefit from the services provided by CI’s;
❑ Policies–to enable optimum establishment and utilisation of cyber-infrastructure.
❑ Governance and management.
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Strategic Goals and Objectives of Framework
❑ Seed and form a basis for a CI Strategy Plan to:
▪ Promote high-level quality education, research and innovation;
▪ Build cyber-infrastructure capacity;
▪ Accelerate Industrialization and commercialisation in SADC; and
▪ Promote a shared (regional) Cyber-Infrastructure commons (infrastructure and capabilities).
❑ The ultimate Goals are that it will:
▪ Add value to scientific programmes;
▪ Foster regional and international partnerships and collaborations;
▪ Develop regional CI networks through interconnect, HPC & RDI centres;
▪ Enhance the region’s human capacities.
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CI Framework Vision:
An education, research, and innovation environment that provides for human capital
development and shared access to unique or distributed facilities regardless of location to
impact socio-economic development and industrialisation in the SADC region and promote
knowledge based economy.
1. Policy/Strategy development, institutionalisation, implementation and support
➢ Provide guidelines to assist MS in crafting own national CI policy frameworks.
➢ SADC develop harmonised Model Policy, to be institutionalised by MS, to create a conducive
environment for the promotion of CI;
➢ Work towards regulations that enable open access to commercial infrastructure;
➢ Strategy and Action Plan for SADC CI, encompassing regional projects; and
➢ Regular monitoring and evaluation reporting.
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2. Education, Research & Development and Innovation : CI support for:
➢ existing and new Centres of Excellence (CoE) and provision of CI tools;
➢ research by promoting research collaborations and regional flagship projects;
3. Human Capital Development
❑ Prioritize introduction of CI into mainstream academic system—establish academic curriculum.
❑ Create pool of CI experts.
❑ Train beneficiaries to fully exploit the services provided;
❑ Collaborations with regional and international education and research institutions and partners.
❑ Collaboration with industry wrt to a) Vendor industries with regard to cooperation on human capital
development and b) Consumer industries to promote utilisation of CI
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4. Infrastructure development
❑ Overarching issue: Infrastructure sustainability through lifecycle management.
❑ Creation of CI commons; adhere to international standards, policies, etc.
❑ HPC and full spectre of computational tools: regionally, nationally and institutionally.
❑ Establish NRENs and regional interconnectivity; Access and participate in AfricaConnect and UbuntuNet.
❑ Data: Establish trusted research data repositories and standards for data stewardship- open access, sharing
5. Build Strategic Partnerships
❑ International CI entities; Private; and public institutions to support implementation of the Regional CI
❑ Engage partners to invest in implementation of CI capacity building, research, development and
❑ Secretariat facilitate establishment of PPPs to invest in roll out of CI.
1. The SADC Ministerial Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation and Education and Training
… consider and approve programmes and projects in relation to the following strategic focus areas:
• Policy development, implementation and support;
• Research, development and innovation; Research Data;
• Human Capital Development;
• Infrastructure Development and Investment;
• Communications, awareness and advocacy.
2. Ministries of Information and Communication Technology
… provide ICT policy guidance in terms of regulations, broadband infrastructure and connectivity.
3. Committee of Senior Officials (CSO)
• coordination and direct implementation of Framework.
• consider policy, programmes and project recommendations from the CI SC on implementation.
4. SADC Secretariat (STI and ICT Unit)
• facilitate execution and monitor and evaluate the implementation of the CI Framework.
• perform secretarial and coordination role in the governance structure.
• responsible for tabling progress reports on implementation to Ministerial Committees through CSO.
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5. Member States
• Provide leadership, establish supportive administrative mechanisms; formulate, monitor and
• develop national strategies, strengthen institutions and provide funding for implementation.
6. Regional Cyber-Infrastructure Steering Committee
• coordination, facilitation, monitoring and evaluation of implementation.
• consider and approve programmes and projects from Technical Working Groups.
• resource mobilisation and leveraging of strategic partnerships to support the implementation of
7. SADC ICT Thematic Group
• facilitate resource mobilisation and consider programmes and projects for implementation.
• act as a platform for dialogue as well as interface between SADC and ICPs to improve
coordination of all stakeholders.
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8. Ad hoc International Advisory Experts Group
• Strategy and policy as well as a practitioner focus across all cyber-infrastructure elements.
• Provide technical and policy advice to the SC.
Regional Expert Working Groups
1. Expert Working Group on Infrastructure Development and Investment
• Identification of infrastructure needs at national and regional level;
• Development of proposals to fund and maintain infrastructure; and
• Establishment and deployment of CI’s at national and regional level.
2. Expert Working Group on Human Capital Development (HCD)
• Identification of human capital development needs and priorities;
• Conceptualisation of capacity building initiatives and programmes; and
• Leveraging of external partners and funding for HCD programmes in CI.
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3. Expert Working Group on Research, Development and Innovation
• Identification of research needs and priorities;
• Develop regional research agenda and consortia on CI;
• Development of research proposals; and
• Leveraging of partnerships and funding for conducting research.
4. Expert Working Group on Research Data
• develop framework and guidelines to facilitate data stewardship, access and storage and other data challenges
across Member States.
• also be responsible for issues related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
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❑ Regional Centres of Excellence (RCE)
RCEs to serve as platform: implementation conduct research, innovation, capacity building, training,
facilitate technology transfer.
❑ National Spokes/Hubs
… identified by Member States to coordinate and implement the regional CI Framework.
… include tertiary institutions, science councils, research councils, public (including parastatals) and private
❑ Communication, Awareness and Advocacy
❑ Funding and Resources
• Effective and sustainable CI requires substantive ongoing investment—social and economic returns are high.
• SADC Secretariat mobilise resources from international cooperating partners, Member States, and private
❑ Monitoring and Evaluation, Reporting and Learning
• Monitoring and evaluation of Framework and the strategic plan guided by SADC Policy on Strategy Development,
Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (SPME).
• Framework subjected to Mid-Term Review to ensure strategic focus areas and deliverables are effectively and efficiently
• The Framework monitored and evaluated by the SADC Secretariat and CI SC.
Institutional framework for implementation of
the SADC CyberInfrastructure Framework
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Implementation Mechanism … includes
governance and institutional arrangements:
• driven by SADC Secretariat in partnership with
MS; regional and international partners.
• Implementation of Framework aligned to the
general principles of the revised RISDP (2015-
2020), SADC Industrialization Strategy and
Roadmap (2015-2063), Regional Infrastructure
Development Master Plan (RIDMP), Protocol
on Science, Technology and Innovation and
other relevant protocols and strategies
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• SADC CI Strategic Framework / Template / Roadmap and not a “Plan”
• Advocacy and buy-in((!)
• Role of stakeholders in Governance, Oversight and Strategy formulation
• Guaranteed long term funding
• Objective criteria based reviews
• Open…..Infrastructures, Data, Science, Innovation
• Open access to CI’s
• Trusted repositories
• Relationships with Research Infrastructures
• Access by Industry
• Who pays…?
• Relationships with Commerce and Industry
• Collaboration…institutional, national, regional, continental, international, global
• Services, open data / science / innovation ….
• Citizen Science
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Colin Wright: firstname.lastname@example.org