To promote and leverage strategic relations for the South African Government in Europe, which will leverage resources and strengthen international cooperation to bolster South Africa as well as Africa’s science and technology capacities, in support of key national and regional research and innovation priorities and the promotion of global sustainable development.
The Science and Technology Section of the South Africa Mission to the EU in Brussels is responsible for the following activities:
(1) Supporting the deepening and expansion of cooperation under the South Africa-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement (including through South African participation in the Framework Programmes for research and innovation);
(2) Identifying new cooperation instruments relevant to South Africa-EU science and technology cooperation and facilitating appropriate access to them for South Africa;
(3) Fostering an enabling environment for greater support from EU development cooperation instruments for South African and science and technology programmes;
(4) Encouraging research infrastructure partnerships between South Africa and Europe, including with regard to the location of global research infrastructures in Africa;
(5) Promoting European private sector investment (including from multinational companies, venture capital funders, foundations and philanthropic donors) in South Africa’s science and technology capacities;
(6) Supporting African continental and regional (especially from the African Union and SADC), as well as South-South science and technology programmes in their engagement with European partnerships;
(7) Representing South Africa, as required, in multilateral science and technology forums convened in Europe;
(8) Providing targeted and strategic support for bilateral science and technology partnerships between South Africa and EU Member States, with a special focus on bilateral cooperation with Belgium and Luxembourg;
(9) Monitoring and analysing European science and technology policy developments (especially with regard to international cooperation) to inform South Africa’s national science and technology policy formulation;
(10) Providing science and technology input to the advancement of South Africa’s foreign policy, including trade and investment objectives in Europe; and
(11) Marketing South Africa in Europe as a preferred partner for international science and technology cooperation.
The section is responsible for rendering the following services to members of the South African and European research and innovation communities:
- Providing early and authoritative information on programmes and instruments, which can provide support, especially funding, for science and technology partnerships between South Africa and Europe – with a special focus on opportunities forming part of the EU’s Framework Programmes for research and innovation;
- Offering tactical guidance and operational advice on how best to prepare proposals to competitive programmes offering support for science and technology cooperation between South Africa and Europe – for example proposal preparation under the EU’s Framework Programmes;
- Assisting South African and European organisations eager to engage in cooperation, but which do not yet have contact with relevant partner organisations, to find potential partners with appropriate profiles of competences;
- Serving as first point of contact to provide information and for appropriate onward referral, for European interlocutors requiring information on South African science and technology and looking to make contact with South African authorities and experts;
- Facilitating contact for South African organisations wishing to establish contact with the services responsible for science and technology at the European Commission and other European partner organisations; and
- Organising regular events in Brussels to showcase South Africa’s science and technology capacities and to profile success stories of South Africa-EU research and innovation cooperation.
The Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement was concluded in 1996 and entered into force in November 1997. Scientific collaboration between South Africa and the EU is monitored and facilitated by the Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC), established under the Agreement. The JSTCC serves as a platform for strategic discussion to further the cooperation between South Africa & the European Union.
SA has very successful cooperation with the EU, on various areas, including research cooperation in marine; health; bioeconomy; materials; food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture through participation under Horizon 2020. Going forward, Horizon Europe – the new EU research program will also facilitate participation and enhanced STI cooperation with South Africa as well as with Africa through the Africa Initiative.