South Africa (SA) and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed an agreement to deepen interaction among scientists from both countries, encouraging a much wider interface within the research community.

For this purpose, both countries will contribute R1.5 million each towards the organisation of seminars and conferences, bringing together groups of early to mid-career scientists from both countries to promote collaboration and knowledge transfer, among others.

The agreement was signed in Cape Town today between the South African Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom and the UK’s David Willetts, Minister of Science and Universities on behalf of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Minister Willetts is in the country for the SA-UK Bilateral Forum, taking place in Cape Town this week.

The Scientific Seminar Scheme will run from October 2013 to March 2015.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Hanekom said this highlighted the strategic importance with which the two countries viewed their cooperation in science and technology, having enjoyed cordial relations for close to 20 years now.

The scheme will be administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF) on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Royal Society in the UK on behalf of the BIS.

Under this scheme, one high-level bilateral science and innovation workshop will be held in February 2014, to promote UK/SA scientific engagement within shared priority areas such as astronomy and space, renewable energy, biosciences and health research.

South Africa and the United Kingdom have enjoyed bilateral relations on science and technology since 1995 and this scheme is viewed by both countries as a key step in the reinvigoration of the science and technology co-operation, which aims to boost joint prosperity through targeted co-operation in priority areas as well as forging partnerships to exploit new opportunities.


Issued by the Department of Science and Technology.

For more information, please contact

Nthabiseng Maoela – 082 944 0015.