Progress reports

3rd Annual Report: Continuing scientific cooperation amidst geoplolitical challenges and conflict

APPEAR's work in the reporting period took place against a backdrop of new geopolitical tensions and violent conflicts. The consequences of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, such as high inflation, rising food prices and regional destabilization, are making scientific cooperation in APPEAR regions more difficult. The horrific events in Palestine will change the entire security architecture of the Middle East. APPEAR countries with Russian enclaves, such as Georgia and Moldova, fear further Russian conquests in post-Soviet territories. In Armenia, more than 100,000 people have been displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan. The Israeli conquest of Gaza following the horrific massacre and hostage-taking by Hamas in Israel on October 7 led to the bombing of the APPEAR partner university "Islamic University of Gaza" (and to 25,000 deaths in Gaza; as of the end of the reporting period). APPEAR Project 311 has been suspended; in agreement with the contractual partner, project submissions from the Palestinian territories were not considered in the context of the 10th call at the 18th selection meeting.

At the 18th APPEAR Selection Board meeting on 21-22 November 29 applications for Academic Partnership projects with an average score of over 70 points and were presented to the selection committee. The board finally approved 6 Academic Partnership projects with a total funding amount of about 2 Mio. EUR. Scientific institutions and universities from the following countries were awarded funding together with their Austrian partner institutions: Georgia, Armenia, Albania, Uganda and Ethiopia. In addition, 5 preparatory funding projects and 6 scholarship holders from Uganda and Ethiopia were selected.

In addition to providing advice (webinars) to project staff and ongoing administrative support for scientific collaborations, a series of events were held - from alumni talks and excursions for APPEAR students to the annual film days as part of the "This Human World" film festival. In the reporting period, 5 "Welt im Ohr" programs with explicit APPEAR content were produced and broadcast as part of the cooperation with ORF Ö1 Campus. Website support, news reports, APPEAR newsletters and the OeAD university conference have strengthened public relations work. 

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2nd Annual Report: APPEAR's progress towards Sustainable Development

Despite the trend toward more difficult working conditions, especially for local project partners, due to the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, APPEAR was able to continue in its proven manner.

The focus of APPEAR's work in the past year was on contract preparation, the launch of the newly selected (Advanced) Academic Partnership projects and Preparatory Funding projects of the 8th Call, the preparation and call for proposals of the 9th Call, and the selection of projects and scholarships by the APPEAR Selection Board in November 2022.

With regard to the 9th Call, comprehensive advisory services were offered in spring 2022, primarily in the form of three webinars, which were very well received. In component 2 (scholarships), two of the six selected scholarship holders of the 8th Call were already able to start their studies. The remaining scholarship holders are expected to begin their studies in spring 2023.

Another focus in the first half of 2022 was on networking among the new project partners and the first meeting of the newly constituted Advisory Board. A joyful event in the midst of a work environment marked by multiple crises was the celebration of the anniversary of the APPEAR programme (APPEAR 10+2), which finally took place in June.

The second half of 2022 was dedicated to the preparation and implementation of the APPEAR selection board meeting. 8 new projects were approved in the 9th call (see below).

A number of events were held during the past year. Particularly noteworthy are the OeAD Higher Education Conference (OeAD-Hochschultagung) in Graz, where APPEAR was a focal point on the second day; the Austrian Development Conference (Österreichische Entwicklungstagung) in Linz, where different aspects of the APPEAR programme points were represented and an APPEAR in practice was held by project manager Aminata Fall presenting the latest book publication entitled ‘Sustainable Energy Access for Communities’. Furthermore, the APPEAR Film Days in cooperation with ‘this human world’ international human rights film festival screened the doc-film ‘Among Us Women’, followed by a lively discussion with the audience.

Read more about the second year's progress here.

1st Annual Report: Fostering Impactful Partnerships in Higher Education

APPEAR III started on 1st December 2020 and will run for 7 years until November 2027.

In 2009 the APPEAR programme was conceived to implement the strategy for higher education and research of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). The overall objective of APPEAR is to strengthen the scientific foundation and institutional capacities in higher education, research and management in the ADC partner countries. Since then, 107 projects, (64 Preparatory Funding, 37 Academic Partnerships and 6 Advanced Academic Partnerships) and 191 scholarships have been implemented by the OeAD.

The total budget for the current period (2020–2027) is approximately 19 million euros. 75 per cent of the overall budget will be spent on projects and 25 per cent on scholarships.

What are the main changes?

The programme design of APPEAR III follows to a large extent the previous programme phase. However, in order to further improve the attainment of the overall objectives and reflect the changing developmental context, some innovations have been added.

  • Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals: Following the international development agenda, APPEAR will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • New funding instrument: Extended Impact Partnership: This instrument is available to consortia which have successfully completed an APPEAR Academic Partnership project or an APPEAR Advanced Academic Partnership project. The aim of the instrument is to enhance the impact of the completed project(s) by focusing on the application and uptake of the achieved results. Consortia of academic institutions can invite non-academic institutions to join, if required, for enhancing impact.
  • New eligible countries: Albania and Kosovo: For cooperation projects with Albania and Kosovo, special requirements apply. While all the instruments are available to partnerships with institutions in Kosovo and Albania, only development research projects are eligible for funding. Projects focusing on higher education or the strengthening of management capacities are not eligible. Furthermore, projects must be in line with the priorities of the ADC in Kosovo and Albania. The consortia must elaborate on why the project fits best to APPEAR and cannot be funded by other programmes.
  • New guiding principles: Leave no one behind is a central principle of the Agenda 2030 and is also a new guiding principle for APPEAR, underlining the importance that higher education cooperation must be socially just and inclusive. Furthermore, the concept of open access and open data have to be considered by project consortia, in order to enhance access to and dissemination of project results.

Read more about the first year of APPEAR III here.