The Department of Science and Technology (DST) continues to foster relations with international partners to leverage additional resources aimed at benefitting research, development and innovation (RDI) driven projects in the country.
In this regard, the Department hosted the first South Africa (SA)-Eurostars information day and workshop from 27 – 31 March to strengthen participation in market-orientated RDI projects.
Held in Cape Town and Pretoria, the five-day workshop provided an opportunity to promote the Eurostars programme to South African innovators and training on administrative procedures and guidelines on partner matching and creation of international networks. The workshop also intended to reinforce international collaboration and increase Eurostars and Eureka project generation from SA.
Eurostars is a joint programme co-funded by Eureka and the European Union (EU), primarily to provide funding to market-orientated research and development.
Eureka is a network that develops cooperation between small and medium enterprises (SMEs), research centres and universities for industrial innovation.
The programme was developed to target performing small and medium-sized enterprises in the area of RDI. The programme fundamentally supports the development of rapidly marketable innovative products, processes and services that help improve the daily lives of people around the world.
Research performing SMEs are supported with funding from both the national programmes and the European Commission. It is supported by 36 Eurostars participating states and partner countries, of which South Africa (SA) has been a member since 2015. Each country has a National Project Coordinator.
For South Africa, being a member country assures interested parties that there is national funding dedicated to support successful projects. The programme is assisting the Department to attain its target of increasing the number of South African and European companies jointly implementing R&D projects and participating in European Union (EU) funding research programmes.
In his presentation Toto Matshediso, Deputy Director: Strategic Partnerships, said the SA’s agenda for science and technology (S&T) cooperation with the EU is to promote long term strategic relations, enrich and complement the S&T policies and collaborations.
“Our strategy for this S&T cooperation is to, among others, understand our national partners’ drivers for international cooperation for better alignment and promote mutually beneficial partnerships for knowledge exploitation for economic growth”, he added.
This event, stated Matshediso, gives participants great exchange of experience, the opportunity to share information and to showcase the opportunities that the programme offers for funding, collaboration and innovation.
The Programme is implemented with the involvement of the Technology Innovation Agency and Council for Industrial and Scientific Research.