INSA : Integrated Nitrogen Studies in Africa

Project identifier 180-INSA
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2020-02-01
End date 2024-01-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Soil, water, land and input management
  • Sustainable intensification: Ecological intensification approaches
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Institutional capacity building project
    Programme H2020-MSCA-RISE-2019
    Keyword soil management; nitrogen; farm productivity; soil health; environmental impact
    Location ; Kenya; Nigeria; Cote d'Ivoire; South Africa; Senegal; Benin
    Budget 1 242 000
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator University of Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Aarhus University
  • Justus-Liebig University Giessen
  • Ghent University
  • IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
  • Association les Petits Debrouillards – Occitanie (APDOC)
  • Félix Houphouët-Boigny University
  • North-West University (NWU)
  • University Abomey-Calavi
  • Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA)
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
  • Ministry of Water and Sanitation
  • Institute of Agricultural Research And Training (IAR&T)
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  • Project Web Site


    Keeping Africa’s nitrogen flows in check

    The rusty red soil found in many parts of Africa is deficient in nutrients like nitrogen. Replenishing the nitrogen is vital to ensure crop yields do not continue to decline; however too much nitrogen may also be damageable for air, water and soil quality. Improving nitrogen flows and budgets can play a crucial role in agricultural production and in nitrogen release to the environment, since they are used as tools for estimating mining or accumulation. The EU-funded INSA project will create an interoperable platform on nitrogen in Africa, raising awareness of challenges, risks and opportunities for improved nitrogen management. A network of scientists from Europe and Africa will drive a preliminary nitrogen assessment in Africa. This will help in developing innovative aspects of research on targeted questions, to sustain a dialogue between different communities of researchers, to transfer information to the public and to reinforce educational activities.


    The overall objective of the INSA (Integrated Nitrogen Studies in Africa) project is to work on different aspects of the nitrogen budget in Africa, with interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary competences, based on a network of scientists from Europe and Africa. An essential output of this project will be to create an interoperable platform on N topics to a large public including academics and stakeholders, and to increase the awareness of challenges, risks and chances for a better N management in Africa.

    According to the “Melbourne Declaration on Responsible Nitrogen Management for a Sustainable Future” (December 2016), “Nitrogen management should strive to simultaneously improve the efficiency of nitrogen use, increase farm productivity, enhance soil health, conserve resources and reduce losses of reactive nitrogen to the environment”. The INSA network will bring its contribution to this great subject of study, and participate to drive the development of a preliminary N assessment in Africa. Many international networks of scientists already exist between countries inside and outside Africa. However, for the first time, it is proposed to link these activities in a large and sustainable network to enhance high quality and multidisciplinary research focused on nitrogen in Africa. This network will gather scientists from Europe and Africa working on ecology, atmospheric chemistry, water quality, soil science, biogeochemistry, agriculture and livestock. The interdisciplinary competences of the groups involved in INSA will help in developing innovative aspects of research on targeted questions, to sustain a dialogue between different communities of researchers, to transfer information to the public and to reinforce educational activities. Education and information sharing with a large public will help to disseminate the message of how a sustainable use of nitrogen in our environment is the key action to mitigate harmful impacts while assuring food security.