Regulation C/REG.7/06/12 Adopting the Criteria for the Establishment of Centres of Excellence in the ECOWAS Region

Economic Community of West African States

Regulation C/REG.7/06/12 Adopting the Criteria for the Establishment of Centres of Excellence in the ECOWAS Region

The Council of Ministers,MINDFUL of Articles 10, 11 and 12 of the ECOWAS Treaty as amended, establishing the Council of Ministers and defining its composition and functions;MINDFUL of Article 27 of the said Treaty relating to Science and Technology;MINDFUL of ECOWAS Protocol A/P3/1/03 on Education and Training;CONSIDERING the objectives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which seek to achieve growth and sustainable and equitable socio-economic development as well as poverty eradication;CONSIDERING the need to establish in the ECOWAS region, sustainable institutional and structural mechanisms for common regional programmes in science, technology and innovation;CONSIDERING that pursuant to the provisions of Article 8 B) of Protocol A/P3/1/03, Member States have committed themselves to establish, in collaboration with Universities and Research Institutes, Centres of Excellence in critical research areas, with a view to optimising the scant financial resources and research infrastructures acquired at great expense;CONSIDERING that the establishment and distribution of Centres of Excellence aim at achieving regional balance in terms of location;RECALLING that Member States have also pledged to consult with Universities and Research Institutes to define the modalities selecting the Centres and priority research areas;CONVINCED of the need to define the criteria for the establishment and identification of the Centres of Excellence in the sub-region;ANXIOUS to define the mechanisms for optimising the scant financial resources and research infrastructures;DESIROUS of adopting the criteria for the establishment of Centres of Excellence in the ECOWAS region;ON THE RECOMMENDATION of the second Meeting of ECOWAS Ministers of Science, Technology and Innovation held in Yamoussoukro (Côte d'Ivoire) on 12th March 2012;HAVING CONSIDERED THE OPINION of the ECOWAS Parliament;HEREBY ENACTS:

I. Definition and key features of the Centers of Excellence

Article 1 – Definition

According to the UNESCO, the definition of a "Centre of Excellence" should be broad. It could embrace a variety of national, regional or international institutions able to provide services at a standard sought by Member States or regions, and a satisfactory rationale for investment in their activity by interested customers. A Centre of Excellence could therefore be a research or training institution, university or one of its departments, laboratory, science museum, cultural museum, library and oilier appropriate entities.

Article 2 – Key features of Centres of Excellence

A Centre of Excellence should have the following key features:
a)a "critical mass" of eminent scientists;
b)be a well-defined structure (based mostly on existing structures) with its own research programme;
c)be able to integrate related fields and combine additional expertise/skills;
d)be able to maintain constant interactions among skilled human resources;
e)play a dynamic role in the innovation system in which it finds itself (adding value to knowledge);
f)enjoy high international visibility and scientific or industrial connection/link;
g)show an acceptable long-term stability in terms of finance and operations (prerequisites for investing in staff and building partnerships), and;
h)in the long run, not depend on Government for its sources of finance. Since the Centre is subject to continuous changes, it should have a skilled workforce in order to ensure internal economic growth and attract private investments.

II. General criteria for ECOWAS Centers of Excellence

Article 3 – Identity of the Centre of Excellence

3.1The Centres of Excellence shall be physically located within the ECOWAS Region with specific rules, standards and operational guidelines. They should contribute to the implementation of the ECOWAS strategic Vision 2020 and meet the developmental goals of Member States.
3.2They should also be able to develop networks, programmes and deliver results so as to contribute to the objectives of sustainable development set by each Member State and ECOWAS.
3.3The Centre should have a specific geographical address and a website providing information on its organisation, useful contacts, activities, etc.
1 Institutional data NameLocationWebsiteNumber of years of establishmentStatus of the CentreProof of its existence in law
2. Key management personnel of the Center Vice chancellor /Director General Name Email Address Telephone
Director of the Centre      
Other personnel of the center      
3 Institutional vision, mission and strategic goals To be concerned with local, national and international development programmes (ECOWAS)

Article 4 – Objectives and indicators of the general policy or leadership

4.1.ObjectivesThis criterion shall apply to all the Centres. This general policy or leadership shall also be called Governance. It shall detail the duties of the Management of the Centre through a management structure with an organizational chart and clearly defined functions for its administrative and technical personnel as well as a governance system to ensure effective consultation with all the stakeholders. This criterion shall seek to ensure:
a)the effectiveness of governance, especially the quality of the organisation and administration, development of its mission statement, vision, core values and ethics;
b)the quality of policy as well as research and training processes;
c)the strengthening of the culture of excellence in all the personnel;
d)the existence of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in order to assess the effective realization of these objective, and;
e)the existence of a mechanism for maintaining hygiene and safety while being environmentally-friendly and complying with regulations (For example: solid and/or liquid waste management, single document for risk assessment and individual risk analysis)
  Objective Indicators
1 Governance Quality of governance and administration by the Director General, in charge of the Centre in keeping with its vision, mission and objectives
2 Policy, Research and training procedures Availability of a clear Policy in keeping with the institutional vision, its mission and strategic goals;Availability of clear research objects and programmesAvailability of a staff career development policy
3 Culture of excellence for personnel/monitoring and evaluation/qualifications/ skills/safety and hygiene Existence of a code of ethicsExistence of a monitoring mechanism supported by the availability of progress reports;Staff performance appraisal form (monthly, quarterly or yearly);Qualifications of personnel in keeping with the Centre’s requirements;Proof of capacity building needs assessment;Proof of organising training in keeping with the results of the needs assessment survey.Language immersion;Environmental health assessment of the Centre;Availability of drinking water/electricity in the Centre;Availability of safety measures in keeping with national and international regulations

Article 5 – Human resource objectives and indicators

The concept of "critical mass" is a key element in the various components of a Centre of Excellence. It deals with human potential and contribution to human development. It is also about the presence within the Centre of a mass of scientists and/or technologists, technicians, inventors of regional and international repute. To this end, the mass of scientists should not only have the capacity to develop, strengthen and maintain the required skills (human resources, etc.), but also undertake some activities which aim at contributing to human development, a key factor to the development of scientific knowledge in the region. The existence of personnel tailored to the needs of the Centre and imbued with excellence virtues.
Objectives Indicators
Capacity to have high-quality human resources Number of employees (percentage of professional staff, officers, percentage of permanent or temporary staff, etc.);Number of scientists (percentage based on category);Number of national and international award winnersAvailability of staff regulations;Staff salary (basic salary);Frequency of persons assessed;Classification of the workforce based on Gender
Human Resource Development Capacity Availability of career profile;Availability of incentives and performance allowances;Percentage of trained and effectively utilized staff;Share of budget allocated to capacity buildingNumber of national missions (tasks in which the institute is involved);Percentage of staff growthShare of budget allocated to sensitization/education, marketing, market study, advertising, Internet, etc.)

Article 6 – Scientific and technological productions

6.1.ObjectivesThis criterion aims at ensuring scientific production capacity. This capacity is expressed in terms of:
a)Top-notch international scientific production (For example: quality and regularity of scientific production);
b)National and international recognition and outreach (joint projects and collaborations with the outside world, awards, quantified impact...) of researchers and teacher-researchers from the Centre;
c)Mobility of researchers and teacher-researchers (from the Centre to organizations or industry);
d)Impacts in terms of innovation and transfers to industry, services, social and cultural component/sphere of the Centre's research topics and results;
e)Strategy for the promotion and dissemination of research.
Objectives Indicators
Development capacity of scientific production Number of indexed publications;Number of research papers;Number of national, regional and international patents;Number of honorary distinctions;Percentage of sustainable development related projects such as environmental protection, improvement of water quality, energy economies.

Article 7 – Infrastructure and facilities

7.1.InfrastructureThe objectives of this criterion are to ensure good quality national and international infrastructure. This criterion will lay emphasis on internal and external environment, social utilities and infrastructure, hygiene and security.
a)The analysis of the external environment will make it possible to assess the geographical area’s location, accessibility, vicinity which will identify possible problems and risks;
b)The study of the Centre's internal environment will make it possible to assess the strength of the establishment (wall, ventilation, entrance to the building, space layout, enclosure, playground, etc), general architecture, materials, arrangements, building area, (reception area, specialised rooms, library, etc.), administrative area, various rooms, facilities (furniture, telephone, fax, computers, other equipment);
c)Social facilities and infrastructure shall lay emphasis on air-conditioning, lighting, ventilation, provision of canteen, cafeteria, waiting room, sick-bay, estate, sport field, etc;
d)Finally, the criterion for hygiene and security shall be the availability of toilets (number, distribution, cleanliness, dustbins and availability of information on security, emergency exits and evacuation, fire-hydrants, extinguishers, etc.
7.2.Facilities for excellence
a)All research activities are determined by the facilities available. The use of good quality and regularly serviced scientific equipment which complies with international standards has become a necessary condition for international competitiveness in many science disciplines. This may be modelling sciences that require more effective calculation methods, some equipment or human and social sciences database, physics, land sciences, life sciences which revolve around experimental platforms.
b)These interim equipment will promote inter-team and inter-disciplinary synergy, and also public and private research and are strong tools for competition in an ever-increasing competitive international environment. As the case of heavy equipment has proved, access to high quality research instruments has a positive impact on scientific production and promotes partnership with the economic world, particularly research development. This is why particular attention should be given to les equipments de base et de pointes;

Article 8 – Partnership, stability, networking

8.1.ObjectiveThe objective of this criterion is to ensure international openness of the centers’ teams and infrastructure. This involves the development and maintenance of partnership network with sister bilateral and multilateral institutions.
Objective Indicators
Develop and maintain a partnership network with multilateral institutions and partners Number of partnership framework agreements;Number of persons who are members of renowned regional and international networks;Number of networks to which the institution belong;Number of regional and international programmes;Number of regional and international professional associations.

Article 9 – Financing

9.1.ObjectivesThe objectives of this criterion are to enable the center guarantee its capacity for mobilising resources and to have a sustained financial process in order to maintain its long-term viability.
Objectives Indicators
Mobilisation Resource Capacity Percentage of generated own resources;Percentage of budget increase;Percentage of external resources (Member States, bilateral and multilateral donors);ECOWAS Commission;Existence of a Manual of Procedures
Capacity for long-term financial autonomy Percentage of projects executed as scheduled;Percentage of center-funded projects;Positive evolution of funds.

Article 10 – Specific criteria

Specific criteria shall be elaborated and linked with the general criteria in accordance with science and technology specification.

III. Areas of excellence, international jury and methodology

Article 11 – Areas of excellence

11.1.Given the diversity of science and technology disciplines, the areas of excellence shall be identified in relation to activities, national and regional exigencies.
11.2.However, the distribution of the centres shall be harmonious in all ECOWAS Member States in order to contribute to the integration of the people.

Article 12 – International jury

12.1.Taking due account of the specific nature of the proposed centres of excellence and ensuring an effective, objective and transparent location, an international jury shall be set up.
12.2.The creation, composition, operation, financing and role of the Jury shall be defined by an Implementation Regulation of the President of the ECOWAS Commission.
12.3.The members of the Jury shall be proposed by the ECOWAS Commission from among recognised and renowned international experts.

Article 13 – Accreditation framework methodology

a)The shortlisting of centers shall be by a call for nomination in all the selected sectors.
b)Fact-finding/evaluation missions with a clear road map shall be organised for the real evaluation of technical and operational capacities of the centre’s candidates.
c)The data gathered at this stage shall be used in preparing a decision matrix (strength, weakness, opportunities and risks) of all the institutions.
13.2.Choice of institutions of excellence and duration of the approval
a)At the end of the study, institutions that have met the relevant criteria defined and approved by an international jury shall be selected as centres of excellence.
b)The centers of excellence that have been selected shall sign a memorandum of understanding with ECOWAS and a list of the Centres shall be published in the ECOWAS Official Journal
c)ECOWAS approval shall be valid for five (5) years, renewable after evaluation of criteria.

IV. Implementation and publication

Article 14 – Implementation

Member States and ECOWAS Institutions shall ensure the effective implementation of this Regulation.

Article 15 – Publication

This Regulation shall be published by the ECOWAS Commission in the Official Journal of the Community within thirty (30) days of its signature by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. It shall also be published by each Member State in its Official Gazette within the same time-frame upon notification by the Commission.
Done at Abidjan, this 12th day of June 2012H.E. Daniel Kablan DuncanChairman for Council
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History of this document

01 June 2012