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Strengthening Technology, Research and Innovation Cooperation between Europe and South Africa 2020

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ESASTAP 2020 (Strengthening Technology, Research and Innovation Cooperation between Europe and South Africa 2020)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-04-30

The R&I cooperation between the EU and SA requires a support mechanism which can translate and facilitate policy decisions taken at the higher policy levels, and provide intelligence and information services to various actors and stakeholders. The ESASTAP 2020 (E2020) project was a coordination and support action that aimed at providing this support and advancing further the EU-SA bilateral STI cooperation, building on the successful work and results of three preceding actions (ESASTAP, ESASTAP-2 and ESASTAP+) and responding to the needs and recommendations at the policy dialogue level.

This support translates into four major objectives that the project aimed to achieve:
1. Enhance the R&I cooperation under the main programmes and thematic areas of common interest through:
- A focus on increasing the participation of SA researchers in H2020, targeting new R&I sectors and elaborating on the rules, philosophy, and peculiarities of the programme;
- Support and training to the existing H2020 NCP structure in South Africa as well as connecting it with other regional networks as well as the European NCP Networks
- Promotion of reciprocity in order to increase the participation of EU researchers in SA programmes.

2. Enrich and facilitate the policy dialogue through:
- Provision of input (reports, events, etc.) to the policy makers, key stakeholders, and actors on prevailing R&I conditions in order to reach informed decisions.

3. Foster Innovation partnerships through:
- Targeted analysis of SA’s innovation system;
- Showcasing of successful R&I cooperation results to EU and SA actors;
- Training on innovation, innovation management and ways to enhance the innovation capacity of R&I actors.

4. Promote greater coordination and synergy through:
- Continuing to act as a central information node for bilateral cooperation between SA and the EU;
- Mapping and analysing individual EU MS/AC cooperation priorities with relevant ones from South Africa;
- Supporting and engaging research actors from EU and SA into entering dedicated twinning schemes.
Throughout the E2020 a number of activities were implemented towards achieving the main objectives elaborated above.

In order to enhance the R&I cooperation under the main programmes and thematic areas of common interest:
- Nineteen H2020 info days were organized in SA Universities and RTOs, as well as fourteen side events in the context of larger conferences;
- A detailed monitoring report was elaborated on SA participation in H2020 with overall and thematic information covering the period up to 10/2018;
- Orientation, training, and continuous support was provided to the SA H2020 NCPs, as well as initial contacts with established EU NCP networks;
- A SA reciprocity forum was established with the participation of key SA funding agencies in order to coordinate efforts for the promotion of SA programmes in Europe;
- Four thematic sessions on Marine/polar research, nanosafety, ICT, and open science were organized to explore possibilities for further R&I collaboration.

In order to enrich and facilitate the EU-SA policy dialogue:
- E2020 actively contributed in the organization of the 14th, 15th, and 16th EU-SA Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee meetings;
- Input papers for the JSTCC were prepared focusing on innovation partnerships and EU MS/AC bilateral programmes with SA;
- A number of workshops were organized at the request of the policy makers focusing on Marine and Polar research, EUROSTARS, open science, science for policy advice, and nanosafety;
- Following the recommendations of the JSTCC, a twinning call on marine science and a Technology Transfer Professionals (TTP) exchange scheme were elaborated and successfully organized;
- E2020 successfully organized a celebratory event in Pretoria and a final event in Brussels with the aim to reflect on the ESASTAP initiative and the future of EU-SA R&I cooperation.

In order to foster innovation partnerships:
- A mapping of the EU and SA innovation landscape was carried out and a specific action plan targeted to policy actors was elaborated;
- Two EUROSTARS workshops were organized in South Africa;
- A support/exchange scheme for TTPs based in SA was implemented in cooperation with SARIMA;
- A policy dialogue between the SA and the European Business Chambers and Associations interested in cooperation and promotion of investment in RDI was established under the Trade Development Cooperation Agreement;
- A survey on the potential market value of projects funded under FP7 and H2020 with South African participation was conducted. A total of 29 projects were identified.

In order to promote greater coordination and synergy:
- A detailed dissemination and communication strategy was elaborated including the revamping of the E2020 website and the continuous use of social media;
- Participation in over fifty events both in EU and SA was secured in order to promote E2020 and raise awareness of the EU-SA R&I cooperation potential;
- A mapping of all the existing R&I Programmes between SA and EU MS/AC was carried out. A 3-year implementation plan for joint activities was developed.
Progress beyond the state of the art has been achieved in different ways and at different levels.

Concerning the EU-SA Policy dialogue:
- Mapping of bilateral agreements and initiatives between EU MS/AC and SA has been performed with the active involvement of Liaison Officer stationed in SA.

With regards to R&I cooperation:
- Concrete cooperation in marine research has been established with the aim to build future synergies;
- Awareness raising of H2020 to SA academic establishments with small or no participation in the framework programme has been sought. At the same time SA programmes open to participation by EU R&I actors have been promoted in the EU.

As far as innovation issues are concerned:
- Increasing emphasis has been placed on innovation through the development of a concrete action plan to promote innovation cooperation between EU and SA;
- Identification of research projects under FP7 and H2020 with potential or existing market value has been performed in order to bring forward the added value of SA-EU research collaboration to policy makers and other relevant stakeholders;
- Launching of a TTP exchange scheme with a clear aim to link SA TTPs to EU industry stakeholders.

E2020 was designed to provide support at different levels with specific results maximising the expected impact on a wide spectrum of fields.

Policy dialogue: The policy dialogue between EU and SA continued at an increasing pace with E2020 becoming the ad-hoc instrument for specific activities dictated by the JSTCC.

R&I Cooperation: SA successful participation in Horizon 2020 has been maintained at a very high level as in the previous Programmes.

Innovation and Industry Participation: A higher rate of research results exploitation is expected and bilateral technology transfer should be further strengthened. EU and SA will be able to invest in innovation partnership and an increased level of cooperation through the whole research to innovation chain will be achieved.

Socio-Economic Impact: Mutual economic development and sustainable growth comprise the ultimate goal of the STI collaboration between the EU and SA. E2020, by providing effective support and facilitating collaboration has contributed in the long term towards the social and economic advancement of both parties.
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