Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and South Africa agreed this week at the twelfth joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee, in Brussels, to intensify collaboration in the fields of global health research, earth observation and research infrastructure.
The agreement would see the parties reviewing and planning new priorities of collaboration priorities under EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 and similar South African research programmes.
Scientific collaboration between South Africa and the EU was established under the Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, which was concluded in 1996 and which came into force in November 1997.
The European Commission (EC) added in a statement on Friday that, in preparation for the second programme of the European and Developing Countries’ Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), the EU and South Africa would work together to mobilise broader African participation.
The EC welcomed the commitment from South Africa to become a full contributing member of the EDCTP General Assembly.
The parties would further collaborate within the framework of the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness and continue to support work through respective funding programmes of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases.
In addition, in the context of the post-2015 strategy for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), both parties would explore a possible joint action to support the Afri-GEOSS initiative and Africa–EU GEO-related cooperation.
In the domain of research infrastructure, the EU and South Africa will discuss synergies between the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures and the South African national research infrastructure roadmap.
Cooperation in the area of radio astronomy would specifically be encouraged, including support for the Africa–European Radio Astronomy Platform.
The meeting also took note of South Africa’s planned association with the Eureka Network for industrial research.
“Other possible future areas of cooperation discussed were marine research, including the possible opening of the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance initiative towards new partners, such as South Africa, minerals research and innovation, the bio-economy and water and waste management,” the EC noted.
South Africa was also committed to strengthening EU scientific cooperation with the rest of Africa.