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New roadmap for research and education cooperation with South Africa

The Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku) have produced a roadmap summarising the status of cooperation on research and education with South Africa and the thematic areas of particular relevance in the years ahead.

Ocean pollution and melting ice caps are among the global societal challenges shared by the two countries that research cooperation can help to solve.

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A large delegation from the Norwegian knowledge sector recently visited South Africa. The aim was to increase cooperation between the countries in research and education.

“The country is an economic hub of Africa and a growing market for Norwegian business and trade,” says the Research Council’s Executive Director for International Cooperation, Kristin Danielsen.

Both countries have extended coastlines and border on vast ocean areas, and thus share multiple societal challenges, including ocean pollution and climate change. “Neither country is able to solve these challenges alone. If we cooperate on research and innovation, we’ll be stronger,” says Ms Danielsen.

Many areas for cooperation

Research cooperation between South Africa and Norway has risen sharply in the past decade. The Norwegian Government’s long-term plan for research and higher education 2019–2028 highlights a variety of thematic areas that are relevant to further Norwegian-South African cooperation. Key areas include oceans, climate, energy, the environment and health.

The new roadmap summarises the areas of particular interest for research and education cooperation between the countries, as well as the status of existing cooperation. 

Programmes specifically targeted towards South Africa

The Research Council and its sister organisation, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, have been administering bilateral research collaboration programmes together since 2002. The latest of these – the South Africa-Norway Cooperation on Ocean Research programme (SANOCEAN) – issued a call for proposals earlier this year. The programme is designed to strengthen knowledge-based sustainable development in the subject areas of oceans, ocean space, the environment and renewable energy in South Africa and Norway. Additionally, the International Partnerships for Excellent Education programme (INTPART) funds a variety of projects with South African partners. To date there have been nine such projects.

Joint applications to Horizon 2020

South Africa attaches great importance to the role that research and innovation play in increasing growth and promoting economic development and welfare. It is one of the few countries outside of Europe with special status as a strategic partner in the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Joint applications by Norway and South Africa to Horizon 2020 have a high success rate of 35 per cent.

Written by:
Hilde Totland Harket. Translation: Walter Gibbs/Carol B. Eckmann.
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