South Africa becomes the first COST Partner Member

The COST Association welcomes the Republic of South Africa as its first COST Partner Member. The Committee of Senior Officials, the COST General Assembly, at its 206th meeting, held in Bucharest on 10-11 April 2019, approved South Africa’s request to become the first COST Partner Member.

Today, Dr Ronald de Bruin, Director of the COST Association, celebrated the good news with Dr Phil Mjwara, Director General of the South African Department of Science and Technology, at the event Reflecting on EU-SA STI cooperation.  The meeting took place at the European Commission (EC), Brussels, in presence of Mr Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General for Research and Innovation at the EC.

Above: picture of COST Director Dr Ronald de Bruin and Dr Phil Mjwara, DG of the South African Department of Science and Technology.

As International Partner Country, South Africa has already been actively involved in the COST Programme, being one of the four non-COST countries having a reciprocal agreement with COST between 2009-2014. Currently, 19 COST Actions are working with numerous research institutions and universities based in South Africa, mainly focusing on areas of health, raw materials, and circular economy.

By becoming a Partner Member, South Africa will maintain a budget dedicated to the participation of its nationals in COST Actions. This will provide them with more possibilities to participate in Actions and strengthen and establish mutually beneficial cooperation with European researchers and vice versa.
Cooperation between both the European Union (EU) and South Africa is of strategic importance, as both regions share an interest in common challenges like climate change, migration, and good governance, while there is also a rich potential for cooperation in innovation.

During the 7th EU-South Africa summit of November 2018, the EU and South Africa agreed to step-up cooperation in research and innovation. This cooperation is based on two main agreements: Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (1997), and the South Africa-EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). South Africa is also one of the leading non-EU participating countries in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme (Framework Programme for Research and Innovation).

Above: COST President signs South Africa’s request to become the first COST Partner Member.