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Strengthening the European-South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme

Final Report Summary - ESASTAP2 (Strengthening the European-South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme)

Executive Summary:
ESASTAP was an FP6 funded project developed in response to the “Bilateral coordination for the enhancement and development of S&T Partnerships (FP7 INCO-2007-2)” call. The project was aimed at improving South Africa’s participation in FP6. The ESASTAP2 proposal, which was awarded to DST in 2008, therefore, motivated for the continued support of ESASTAP, such that the “Strengthening the European-South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme” (ESASTAP2) reinforces and, indeed, intensifies existing relationships, initiatives, and achievements, and provides the foundation and resources for successfully engaging with identified needs and challenges.

ESASTAP2 together with SA NCPs has implemented activities aimed at improving FP7 participation by SA SMEs and previously neglected universities and universities of technology in the health, environment, energy, social science and humanities, the food, agriculture and fisheries and biotechnology thematic areas. There were also several proposal writing trainings and thematic specific workshops organised where the project invited official of the EC and REA to facilitate the sessions to raise awareness of the opportunities and prepare the SA researchers to be able to participate in FP7.

In order to improve the project’s partner-matching services, ESASTAP created a mobility portal which is linked to EURAXESS portal. ESASTAP2 is also working in collaboration with the DST’s Senior S&T Representative’s Office in Brussels to proactively identify opportunities for SA researchers, and to facilitate partner-matching between African and the EU researchers. A series of targeted S&T collaborative workshops were conducted with other African countries which have active existing agreements with SA to share best practice in improving FP7 participation. ESASTAP2 and SAccess co-organised missions to Germany, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom which are strategic countries for SA with regards to FP7 participation, to facilitate partner matching between SA and the countries. Through the DST and ESASTAP2 seed funding instruments, a lot of SA researchers were assisted to also participate in these and other international conferences in order to promote partner matching between SA and European researchers. And in line with providing information on other EU funding instruments, DST through ESASTAP and the COST office concluded a reciprocal agreement which was launched in 2009. The agreement is aimed at providing funding to support SA and EU researchers undertaking short-term scientific missions to Europe and SA, related to SA’s participation in COST actions.

The main project achievements include firstly, the SME workshop that was organised together with the Swedish Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications and the European Commission to provide a platform to identify possible areas of collaboration. Secondly, the launch of the SA-COST Reciprocal Agreement in June 2009 that provided SA researchers with access to leverage the COST funding as a non-COST country participant. Thirdly, the FP7 impact study to evaluate the impact of FP7 on the overall SA National System of Innovation (NSI). Fourthly, the lFP7 awards and ESASTAP2 closing event to celebrate the project success and recognise SA researchers and institutions that has done well in the Framework Programme. The Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hannekom and the Head of Unit: International Cooperation Projects, European Commission, Dr Elizabeth Lipiatou presented the awards. The project was also successful in raising awareness and sharing FP7 experiences with other African countries such as Lesotho, Uganda, Egypt, Algeria and Kenya, and most importantly assisting some countries to establish NCP.

The DST’s Senior S&T Representative’s Office in Brussels proactively identified opportunities for SA researchers, and facilitated partner-matching between African and the EU researchers. ESASTAP2 has also shared FP7 opportunities during bilateral meetings between DST and other African countries and facilitated discussions of how SA and other African countries can collaborate in FP7.

Project Context and Objectives:
PROJECT OBJECTIVES

ESASTAP2 has three main objectives which all started at month 1 and are will be ongoing until the end of the project. Therefore for the period of September 2008 to January 2010 project objectives were as follows:

• Promoting SA S&T excellence and competitiveness through enhancing and growing participation of SA scientists and institutions in FP7;
• Advancing S&T through developing, improving and supporting S&T networks and partnerships between EU and SA scientists and institutions, and
• Promoting and enhancing bilateral and multilateral S&T cooperation between SA and the EU at Community and individual member state levels

Objective 1: Improving and increasing participation in FP7

Since the country’s democratisation in 1994, and the conclusion of a bilateral Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement between SA and the EU in 1996, SA research has benefited considerably from participation in FP projects. Throughout FP6 and in the current FP7, ESASTAP2 has emphasised that SA participation in FP should be guided and informed by our country’s strategic priorities in order to derive mutual benefits between SA and Europe researchers.

The awareness of the potential for participation in the Framework Programme amongst the SA research community is fairly high especially among the traditional university and science council research base. ESASTAP2 has however, identified a gap with regards to the participation of universities of technology, and the public and private sectors. Results of the ESASTAP analysis showed a limited representation by these sectors in all ESASTAP activities. ESASTAP2 will therefore, implement directed interventions with these sectors such as:

• Arranging community specific workshops, with appropriately formulated material;
• Introducing the concept of the EU’s Technology Platforms to facilitate SA private sector engagement with these platforms.

Similarly, although SA participation across the various thematic areas demonstrated promising results under FP6, there were some thematic areas where SA participation was not satisfactory such as in the Mobility instruments, and in projects in the Nano technologies, nano sciences, materials, and production processes, and the renewable energy domains. These specific areas have been identified as key to advancing SA S&T, therefore the need to provide FP7 theme-specific support, in alignment with SA national imperatives, has been identified. ESASTAP2 has also identified the need to develop training and advisory material that is directed / specific to these targeted communities. DST and ESASTAP2 has thus, in addressing these challenges established the following:

• DST enhanced and enlarged the SA National Contact Point (NCP) Network, and delegated NCPs to address all FP7 thematic priorities; capacity development was also a key outcome of this action, with the appointment of assistant NCPs. The NCPs are responsible for growing the understanding of their respective themes amongst the SA research community, and for promoting FP7 cooperation through engagement with EU counterparts and the EC. Each NCP is tasked with developing an action plan that addresses: theme-specific needs assessment on a regular basis; disseminating of theme specific information; partnership and network development; theme-relevant training, monitoring and evaluation etc. These plans are expected to engage with the theme-specific challenges that are identified. ESASTAP2 will work in cooperation with the NCP Network to advance thematic participation in FP7 and will provide support and resources to the Network.

• The L&F NCP will develop materials to empower SA researchers to become more knowledgeable of the legal and financial implication of working with consortium partners, and to beneficially contribute to all aspects of project development.

Objective 2: Development and enhancement of networks and partnerships

The challenge of partner and consortium identification and selection has been identified by SA researchers as one of the major hurdles to engaging with European researchers / institutions, and to successful participation in the Framework Programmes. It is important for SA researchers to overcome these challenge in order to be able to participate in strong, competitive consortia and for the SA-EU cooperation to grow. The development and enhancement of networks and partnerships will, thus, be addressed by ESASTAP2 as follows:

• Sharing of best practices in partner identification with Europeans, as well as with ICPC, will enable ESASTAP2 to adjust and / or develop systems and processes to better support and advise researchers in their networking and partnership endeavours;
• Empowering the SA research community with the skills, the knowledge and information on opportunities required in identifying, approaching, and promoting expertise and associated skills to experienced and strong European partners;
• Engaging and promoting participation of South Africa’s Centres of Excellence (CoE) in FP7. The CoE are a combination of the resources from different SA research groups/institutions may often overcome this limitation of lack of expertise in one institution. This approach could also assist in overcoming resistance to having more than one participating legal entity from a Third Country. An approach to creating partnerships could comprise linking SA CoE and FP7 Networks of Excellence;
• Promotion of SA researchers and institutions to EU researchers and institutions in a form of country-workshops, institutional. To achieve this, ESASTAP2 will work closely with the SAccess project, whose objective is to market SA research programmes and capacities to European researchers.
• Providing FP7 Seed Funding support to SA researchers to advance opportunities for participation in FP7

It is also an imperative that opportunities relating to the new International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) under FP7 Mobility be optimally exploited by SA to improve SA participation in the People Programme. This new FP7 mobility instrument for EU neighbourhood countries and countries with S&T agreements (i.e. including South Africa) was launched in 2008, with the objective of establishing and deepening cooperation through staff exchanges between EU and the partner country organisations. ESASTAP2 will guide and assist implementation of IRSES for SA.

ESASTAP2 will also market SA excellence through the NCP network, organisations such as the National Research Fund (NRF) and university research / technology transfer offices, and referral systems, to facilitate EU access to SA S&T expertise and facilities , and partner-matching can be efficiently and successfully accomplished. This is also linked to a close working relationship between ESASTAP2 and SAccess.

Through enhanced networking and partnering, EU and SA scientists / institutions can jointly explore new and emerging scientific and technological areas; can anticipate future science and technology needs, and can cooperatively seek to resolve major global issues. ESASTAP2 will combine resources with other ICPC, particularly Africa countries, and other ICPC countries with which SA has a cooperative relationship to share experience and expertise, develop of human capital, maximise the value proposition by participating ICPC countries, and develop networks and partnerships between Europe and ICPC countries as well as between SA-EU and SA-ICPC. ESASTAP2 will endeavour in partnership with the EC, and EU, African and ICPC stakeholders, to provide the requisite support and mechanisms so as to advance partnership and network together with the CAAST-Net project, an FP7 INCO-Net for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Objective 3: Identification and demonstration of mutual interest and benefit in S&T cooperation

SA is committed to building strong international relations and innovatively benefiting from, and contributing to, the S&T sectors of other countries. The development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in S&T is seen as essential to addressing the creation of prosperity and well-being in South Africa, and to achieve enduring and equitable benefits from S&T for all SA. The objective of attaining mutual benefits through cooperatively addressing mutual S&T interests is ESASTAP2’s Objective 3.

SA has signed a number of cooperation agreements with individual EU member states, EU candidate and associate member states, and Third Countries with whom the EU has entered into bilateral S&T agreements. Although a number of S&T interactions are taking place in support of some of cooperation agreements, the S&T community is not necessarily familiar with the cooperation mechanisms that exist, the associated priorities that govern the agreements, and the benefits that can be accrued from these initiatives. Scope, thus, exists to expand S&T interactions in support of the SA-EU relationship, as well as other existing cooperation agreements, especially S&T cooperation agreements that exist with the “EU27” (Figure 5). ESASTAP2’s activities are intended to highlight and improve existing S&T cooperation, thereby supporting the “opening of the ERA.”


Figure 1: The European Union and candidate countries

Under ESASTAP, systems and forums were created to promote increased awareness and utilisation by SA and EU countries of existing and future S&T cooperative initiatives. ESASTAP2 will build on the foundations that were established through these activities. Maximising leveraging of the SA-EU bilateral, could, be employed through, e.g. the sitting of the JSTCC. JSTCC activities are augmented by high level bilateral discussions between EU and SA representatives, where priorities for cooperation enhancement are identified and list of key actions proposed versus these priorities. Specific activities will address enhancing of information and experience exchange with the information services in the EU Member, Candidate and Associated States e.g. IGLOS, UKRO, Euresearch, SenterNovem/EG-Liaison, The Brussels Enterprise Agency, Austrian Research Promotion Agency etc.

ESASTAP2 will assist the DST’s Senior S&T Representative’s (Daan du Toit) Office in Brussels in strengthening relations with the EC and other Brussels-based interlocutors, and in support of advancing SA’s multi- and bilateral cooperation relationships as follow:.

• ESASTAP2 will engage with targeted promotional initiatives relating to opportunities for mutually beneficial research collaborations, provided for by the cooperation agreements.
• ESASTAP2 will also present several SA promotional events with the DST’s Brussels office. Under ESASTAP, two successful conferences promoting the SA research community were held. It is intended that ESASTAP2 will further promote the SA research community, but with a more directed approach, specifically highlighting SA excellence and competitiveness within the context of the Framework Programme. Aligned to the conference would be workshops and round table events focused on needs and priority identification with identified thematic areas.
• ESASTAP2 is also considering launching a set of prestigious awards recognising excellence and impact of SA participation in Framework Programmes at these conferences. In principle, these prizes would be similar to the Descartes’ awards hosted by the EC. The awards would not only serve to highlight SA excellence and competitiveness and the promotion of successful participation of Third Countries / ICPC in the Framework Programmes, but could also be used to endorse and advance the cooperative relationship between the EU and SA. This initiative could perhaps also form a pilot programme that may allow the EC to assess, consider and motivate for hosting similar awards promoting Third Country / ICPC participation in the Framework Programmes.
• ESASTAP2 also intends to leverage and / or create expert groups of researchers to advice on research areas of joint research needs and priorities, and on the development of research agenda to address requirements. Outputs from these expert groups could be used to guide FP7 SICA calls.
• ESASTAP2 will also provide resources to support mechanisms developed under FP6 and FP7. These projects were created to advance EU and SA (Africa) research networks and partnership development, and to facilitate joint identification of needs and priorities in areas of potential cooperation. Such support mechanisms include: Network for the Coordination and Advancement of sub-Saharan Africa-EU Science & Technology Cooperation (CAASTNet), various thematic NCP coordination and support projects e.g. SA is a participant of INCONTACT, a INCO NCPs project; AFRICAN WATER; Science and Technology-Europe Africa Project (ST EAP); European Union-Developing Countries Laser Processing Initiative (EUDEVLAS); Regional Impact of Information Society Technologies in Africa (IST-AFRICA); Improving Project & Research Management skills in Third Countries to stimulate their Cooperation with Europe for Life-Sciences (COEUR4LIFE); Strengthening Road Transport Research Cooperation between Europe and Emerging International Markets (SIMBA); Promoting International Cooperation for Environmental Research through Dissemination and Networking Activities (INT-ER-LINK); International Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (FOOD-N-CO) and Developing a strategic R&D partnership between the EU & Africa in the ICT field (START / EuroAfrica-ICT initiative) amongst others.
• ESASTAP2 will also seek to advance relationships with other Third Country information platforms, especially those initiatives that are also Framework Programme-supported. These activities must also be in support of SA bilateral relationships. ESASTAP2 will, therefore, seek to exchange information and experiences specifically with the structures (existing or to be established) in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, South Korea, Mexico and the Russian Federation (e.g. the Argentine Bureau for Enhancing Cooperation with the EU in the Science, Technology, and Innovation Areas (ABEST/A-EU), Brazilian Bureau for Enhancing International Cooperation with the European Union (BBice); Forum for European - Australian Science and Technology Co-operation (FEAST); Strengthening the Strategic Research Partnership Between China and the EU (STARTER); Bureau for European and Mexican Science and Technology Cooperation (UEMEXCYT) etc.). ESASTAP2 will actively participate and gain from one of the activities of ABEST II, which is to host annual workshops with representatives of the information platforms for Argentina, Africa and other South American countries, and also to on an ad hoc basis conduct a country visit; these activities would preferably occur with EC representation. The objectives of such activities would be to share experiences – challenges and successes; provide cross-training and capacity develop; and within the SICA context, identify joint needs and priorities. Opportunities would also be created for the respective NCP networks to interact, e.g. twinning of ICPC-ICPC NCP networks, and ICPC EU NCP networks. In this context South Africa is already a work package leader in the INCONTACT proposal for INCO NCPs.
• ESASTAP2 will seek to advance and deepen the EU’s cooperation with Africa’s continental and regional S&T programmes, including achieving optimal support for the AU/NEPAD CPA under FP7 through providing support and resources to instruments, such as ST-EAP and CAAST-Net. ESASTAP2 will promote EU engagement with the NEPAD S&T programme of action through raising awareness of NEPAD initiatives in the EU, and encouraging policy exchange by means of hosting explanatory sessions and work groups. The SADC EU bi regional S&T partnership will also be advanced by collaboration with other support mechanisms such as IST-AFRICA, ST EAP and START.
• ESASTAP2 will also seek to provide support and resources so as to advance other multilateral initiatives where SA and the EU work together closely such as with the OECD Global Science Forum; contributing to the Global Sustainable Development Agenda as with GEO Earth observation; enhancing South-South and South-North polylateral partnership opportunities; and Global Science and Technology Projects, examples of which include the European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and the Global research infrastructures – Square Kilometre Array (global radio telescope) programme.

The overall aim of this ESASTAP2 Objective 3 is, therefore, to aid the EU’s development of equitable and strong scientific partnerships with SA and other developing countries in order to contribute to their sustainable development, by means of human capital development, mobility and institution-building.

ESASTAP2 was a coordination and support action and not scientific project, therefore there were no S&T results produced during the project. There was however an impact study done to assess the impact of FP7 in the SA National System of Innovation. The confidential report can be provided to the EU upon request.


Project Results:
Kindly note that the project was not scientific but below is the results achieve during the period of 1 February 2008 to 28 February 2012.

PROJECT RESULTS

Below is a summary of the project’s results from February 2008 to February 2013. More details of activities are available in the first and second Periodic Reports.

Work Package (WP) 1: FP7 participation

WP1 was primarily focused on enhancing SA private, academia and government sectors’ participation in FP7. Workshops and seminars were conducted to raise awareness of FP7 opportunities among South Africa and other African countries to better position African institutions in responding to relevant FP7 calls. The awareness of the potential for participation in the Framework Programme is relatively high amongst the SA research community, especially amongst the traditional university and science council research base. Participation of these sectors is satisfactory and has improved throughout FP7, but there is, however, potential to increase the level of representation in FP7 across all sectors, especially with regards to comprehensive and technological universities, and the public and private sectors, and especially with some of the Marie Curie Actions. Although SA participation across the various thematic areas demonstrated promising results under FP6, but there were some thematic areas where SA project involvement was lacking such as the Mobility instruments, and in projects in the Nano technologies, nano sciences, materials, and production processes, and the renewable energy domains. ESASTAP2 together with SA NCPs organised workshops held in the previously neglected universities, previously advantaged universities and universities of technology in the health, environment, energy, social science and humanities and the food, agriculture and fisheries, biotech thematic area, to present and analyse the open calls to the research communities. The project therefore organised the following activities to improve participation by this sectors and to provide writing skills that will position SA especially the SME and academic researchers to draft quality proposals when responding to relevant FP7 calls:

- The SME workshop organised together with the Swedish Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications and the European Commission which was also a side event to the 2009 SA-EU Summit. The workshop provided a platform for SA SME and Swedish institutions to network and discuss future possibility of collaborations in the FP, and also showcased successful SA SME FP projects to encourage new SMEs to participate in FP. ESASTAP2 also participated in an FP6 funded project (EUCAARI) workshop organised by ESKOM (a semi-private company) at Rosherville, South Africa. The role of ESASTAP2 was to share with participants information on opportunities for them in FP7 and other European funding instruments, and also make them aware of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) instruments established to support SA researchers participation in FP7 and COST;
- There were also other activities organised to raise awareness of FP7 opportunities amongst other Government Department such as Departments of Environmental Affairs, Transport and Energy, and also presentation delivered during the Inter-governmental meetings organised by the DST to inform other government department of international funding opportunities;
- Although an SA partner is rarely required to contribute a significant part of a proposal, it is important that there is an understanding of how proposals are constructed, what key “strategic” issues need to be addressed and how technical information should be presented. SA partners should also be empowered to provide the consortium with material that will require negligible rewriting, and will contribute strongly to the motivation for inclusion of a Third Country participant (value-addition) where applicable. In responding to this need ESASTAP2 invited Mr Frank Marx of REA to facilitate mobility training sessions to equip the SA research community with the know-how of writing proposals responding to People programme calls and share the evaluation criteria with participants. The training sessions were done in the three regions in SA. With regard to raising awareness of legal and finance matters, the legal and finance NCP together with her European counterpart organised training sessions in Gauteng and Cape Town;
- There were also supporting events to the SA-EU Summit organised in 2010 and 2011. The 2010 side events were to celebrate the laser innovation and international year of Biodiversity discuss possible collaborations in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and sport as driver for research and innovation, while the 2011 side events focused on the minerals and mining, and climate change research;
- The ESASTAP2 and SAccess Europe mission also provided a good platform for SA researchers in the ICT, environment, nanotechnology and biotechnology to engage with potential partners in the countries visited.; and
- Although an SA partner is rarely required to contribute a significant part of a proposal, it is important that there is an understanding of how proposals are constructed, what key “strategic” issues need to be addressed and how technical information should be presented. SA partners should also be empowered to provide the consortium with material that will require negligible rewriting, and will contribute strongly to the motivation for inclusion of a Third Country participant (value-addition) where applicable. In responding to this need ESASTAP2 appointed European Framework Program Consulting (EFP) Ltd to facilitate the mobility and FP7 proposal writing and evaluation workshops, and also invited Mr Frank Marx of REA to facilitate mobility training sessions to equip the SA research community with the know-how of writing proposals responding to People programme calls and share the evaluation criteria with participants. The training sessions were done in the three regions in SA. With regard to raising awareness of legal and finance matters, the legal and finance NCP together with her European counterpart organised training sessions in Gauteng and Cape Town.




Work package 2: Networks and partnerships

WP2 was primarily focused on communicating SA S&T excellence and expertise to the EU institutions; accessing and provision of information on EU S&T; the development of networks and partnerships between SA and EU scientists and institutions, and the design and / or improvement of processes and mechanisms to facilitate and support these goals and activities. The project implemented the following activities to market SA research expertise in the EU and facilitate SA researcher’s entry into the EU networks and partnerships:

- SA NCPs have embarked on several institutional visits to Europe to promote SA excellence and expertise in specific FP7 thematic areas. The South African Senior S&T Representative in Brussels is also continuously marketing SA expertise within Europe;
- ESASTAP2 has continued, through co-funding from DST, to provide seed funding to facilitate SA researcher interactions with EU consortia aimed at advancing networking and partnership development between SA and EU researchers. This includes support for travel by SA researchers to EU partners and/or support for the invited EU partners coming to SA for proposal drafting and hosting of workshops where relevant information will be shared;
- ESASTAP2 has also hosted Mr Robert-Jan Smitz, Director: Infrastructure from the European Commission DG Research in South Africa on 24-26 February 2009. Mr Smitz met with SA institutions and delivered a presentation on infrastructure opportunities that SA institutions can leverage in FP7;
- SA research community also uses the SA-COST reciprocal agreement to tap into other networks and partnerships coordinated under the COST programme. To date, SA researchers participate in 29 COST Action projects activities, and DST has provided funding to the total amount of R 1,550,702.16 to SA researcher to be able to participate in the COST related activities in Europe. The COST seed funding is provided to researchers who have been accepted to join the COST Action by the Action Chair. To promote awareness of Food and Agriculture opportunities DST hosted Dr. Ioanna Stavridou, Science Officer Food and Agriculture, COST Office to facilitate the information sessions held in Cape Town and Pretoria; and
- To provide training and information to enhance SA network and partnership development with EU researchers ESASTAP2 developed thematic area brochures especially designed to suite the needs of the SA community and organised several activities to facilitate partnerships and to identify common areas of collaboration between Africa and the European researchers.

Work package 3: S&T cooperation

WP3 focused on highlighting and improving existing S&T cooperation between the EU and SA (both at the Community and the bilateral Member States levels) and on identifying mutual needs and priorities, and jointly instituting actions to address these, so as to derive mutual benefit. There were workshops conducted to enhance S&T collaboration with SADC / NEPAD, where the ACP programme was also promoted. All initiatives in this WP form part of DST’s international cooperation priorities. The project implemented the following activities to support the current cooperation agreements, and to leveraging SA-EU Joint Science & Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) recommendations and action plans:

- ESASTAP2 has published a list of all SA bilateral agreements accessible on the project website (www.esastap.org.za) as a way of sharing information relating to SA multi- and bilaterals. The list is updated on a regular basis;
- A series of targeted S&T collaborative workshops were conducted in other African countries with active S&T agreements with SA such as Lesotho, Uganda, Egypt, Alferia and Kenya in 2009, to raise awareness of FP7, share good practices and experience in FP participation.;
- ESASTAP2 is also continuously providing the SA research community with information on other EU funding instruments such as the COST. DST and the COST office concluded a reciprocal agreement in June 2009. The agreement is aimed at providing funding to support SA and EU researchers undertaking short-term scientific missions to Europe and SA, related to SA’s participation in COST actions;
- ESASTAP2 and NCPs contributed to the discussions during the 2009 and 2010 JSTCC meetings aimed at identifying joint research needs, priorities, and possible future areas for collaboration to improve SA-EU S&T partnerships. The meeting was held on 23 September 2009 and was used as an opportunity to evaluate the SA-RU relationship and evaluate SA’s participation in FP7; and
- The JSTCC conclusions feeds into the SA-EU Summit which is a political platform to discuss the Trade Development Cooperation Agreement between the EU and SA. ESASTAP2 always use the SA-EU Summit to showcase the excellence of the S&T projects collaborations through supporting events. The 2010 supporting events were to celebrate the laser innovation, international year of Biodiversity, discuss possible collaborations in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), and sport as driver for research and innovation. And the 2011side events focused on the minerals and mining, and climate change research, while 2011 side events were on minerals and mining research and climate change.



Potential Impact:
POTENTIAL IMPACT

The DST did an impact study to evaluate FP7 impact on the SA National System of Innovation, and found that since the establishment of ESASTAP, SA participation has increased significantly with each progressive Framework Programme, with SA becoming one of the leading, non-European countries represented in the various research projects undertaken. The data was primarily been sourced from FP7 Statistics for SA as provided by the European Commission and from project summaries downloaded from the Europa Cordis website showed a significant increase from what we have seen in FP6 in the direct funding allocated to SA organisations. Most of SA’s participation in FP7 collaborative research projects has significantly increased (~76 collaborative projects) and exceeds the level of participation in coordination and support actions (~58 support actions). This trend is positive as participation in collaborative research provides access to cutting-edge scientific resources. SA participation in FP7 is dominated by research organisations and higher education institutions, with large companies and SMEs comprising ~16% of SA project participants.

A fairly good number of projects were positively evaluated illustrating the significant potential, when participating in FP7 consortia, for developing significant international networks, not only in Europe, but across the globe. For most of the projects in which SA organisations participated, the consortia comprised in the order of 13 project participants.

Participation in FP7 affords SA organisations and researchers, as partners in FP7 project consortia, opportunities to collaborate with some of the most eminent organisations and researchers in the EU and across the world. This provides a significant potential for capacity development with SA researchers having access to international researchers and research teams and world-class equipment and facilities, allowing them to leap-frog in their scientific and technical development, to develop international standing and elevate the overall profile of South African R&D. Participation in FP7 consortia has also resulted in SA researchers and organisations developing a deeper understanding of intellectual property, benefit sharing, commercialisation of R&D outputs, contractual and financial issues in respect of R&D projects. And the achievements of SA organisations in successive Framework Programmes are largely in part due to the SA-EU strategic relationship and to the championship and leadership shown by the DST. The SA-EU partnership has facilitated SA’s status as a leading Third Country participant in the Framework Programmes. The Horizon 2010 will bring even considerable prospects to further enhance SA participation in the EU’s Framework Programmes.




List of Websites:
www.esastap.org.za

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