KFPE publication

KFPE – “Cooperating for Success” – Benefits of Research Partnerships with Developing Countries


This brochure published by the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries-KFPE presents 12 especially successful cooperation projects. Through practical examples, this publication shows what can be gained by transregional research – Switzerland included.

This publication can be ordered free of charge from the KFPE or downloaded by clicking on the following link:



Among all the proposals, 4 EPFL cooperation projects (of which 3 were implemented within the framework of the SDC-EPFL fund) have been selected:

2 projects

were chosen for inclusion in the brochure:

  • Biosolar-Detox – clean water thanks to the sun
  • Swiss network of scientific diasporas – qualified migrants: an opportunity for the South

and 2 projects are mentioned in KFPE’s electronic appendix:

  • COMMON-Sense Net – Sensor Networks for Agriculture in South India
  • An inexpensive method to validate road transport emission inventories – Etude de la qualité de l’air à Bogotà.

“Biosolar-Detox” – clean water thanks to the sun


In Switzerland: EPFL: Cesar Pulgarin
In Colombia: UniValle: Irma Janeth Sanabria and Norberto Benitez

Reactors built within the framework of a Swiss-Colombian research partnership use solar energy and inexpensive catalysts to disinfect and purify water. They offer a means of preventing water-borne illnesses, a serious health problem.

Key messages:
The Biosolar-Detox project enabled the development and testing to the pilot stage of a water disinfection and purification system that is inexpensive, efficient and well adapted to the rural regions of Latin American countries, such as Colombia.
It thus offers a means of dealing with one of the most serious health problems of that continent: illnesses caused by poor quality water.
The project played a major educational role, reinforced collaboration between research and regional economy, and paved the way to new partership projects.

The project was implemented within the framework of the SDC-EPFL fund managed by Cooperation@epfl.

This project was also presented at KFPE’s annual congress in October 2009 in Lugano.


Swiss network of scientific diasporas – qualified migrants: an opportunity for the South


In Switzerland: Cooperation@epfl: Gabriela Tejada, Jean-Claude Bolay; the MIGRANT programme of the International Labour Organization, the Swiss Forum for Migration and Population (SFM), UNIGE, UNIL, the NGO DePapaya.org.
In developing countries: Institute of Development Studies, Calcutta, India; Instituto de Estudios Políticos y Relaciones Internacionales, National University, Colombia; Forced Migration Studies Programme (Center for African Migration and Society), University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

A North-South research partnership has concluded that the job market in industrialised countries absorbs many qualified migrants from the South. This “brain drain” situation may also comprise positive aspects for the countries of origin, thus evolving into a “brain gain” for them.

Key messages:
Research on scientific diasporas must be encouraged and their results widely disseminated, in order to gain the greatest benefit from their combined potential.
The countries of origin and destination countries must play a proactive role to facilitate the establishment of relations with scientific diasporas and to encourage them to become true partners in development.
In the countries of origin, an adequate environment and infrastructure are necessary to ensure that the activities of the scientific diasporas crystallise into concrete projects that will impact on socio-economic development.

This project is research that is led by Cooperation@epfl unit.



In Switzerland: EPFL: Jacques Panchard, Jean-Pierre Hubaux.
In India: IISc: H.S. Jamadagni, and the Chennakeshava Trust, a local NGO.

The goal of the COMMON-Sense Net project was to design and develop a decision-support tool for small agriculture, based on environmental data as collected by a wireless sensor network.
Key messages:
Rain-fed farmers need to better know their environment in order to increase their yield and reduce their risks.
Enhanced environmental monitoring can help small agriculture to achieve this goal.
However, due to the cost and complexity of the technology, applications targeted at applied research are more promising than direct application in the field, at least for the years to come.
Wireless sensors are in need of new and innovative interfaces, if they are to be handled by non-specialists (people without significant background in wireless networking).

This project was implemented within the framework of the SDC-EPFL fund managed by Cooperation@epfl.



In Switzerland: EPFL: Alain Clappier
In Colombia: UniAndes: Eduardo Berentz

The aim of this project was to understand in greater depth the origin of air pollution in the city of Bogotà and to evaluate various means of reducing it. The joint use of simulation models and measurement instruments in the field enabled us to develop an inexpensive method to study the quality of air that is particularly adapted to developing countries. This study showed that HGV running on diesel (buses and lorries) are responsible for the biggest share of air pollution over the city. In view of these results, local authorities decided to restrict this type of traffic.
Key messages:
This project proved that it is possible to carry out an air quality study in a city at a much lower cost than previously.
The study of the quality of air carried out within this project clearly identified the main causes of air pollution in the city of Bogotà, which allowed local authorities to decide to restrict the traffic of buses and to improve fuel quality.
The same study shows that the measures taken in Bogotà to reduce pollution levels remain inadequate. Only modernising vehicules and improving fuel quality, added to a reduction in traffic, would permit a diminution in the concentration of all pollutants.

This project was implemented within the framework of the SDC-EPFL fund managed by Cooperation@epfl.