UK and South Africa launch bilateral research initiative

Thursday 5 May 2016

Programme will support higher education research into security, science, technology and political theory.

The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor has launched a Bilateral Research Initiative between the United Kingdom and South Africa as part of the Newton Fund. The British Council’s Newton Fund programme is contributing £ 300 000 per chair over three years which is match funded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF).

The Newton Fund SA-UK Bilateral Chairs programme will strengthen research and innovation in South Africa and the UK and promote international exchange and cooperation.

“Attaching the Newton Fund brand to one of South Africa’s premier government programmes has not only helped to promote the Fund, but has also boosted the overall profile of the UK-SA bilateral relationship by illustrating our shared commitment to co-investment and research excellence,” said Laura Harris, Newton Fund Officer, British High Commission.

The announcement was made at Cape Town International Convention Centre as part of Going Global 2016, our annual international conference for leaders of education to debate international higher and further education issues and challenges, and to discuss collaborative solutions.

The initiative supports the National Development Plan to develop the knowledge economy in South Africa promoting research excellence through collaboration on shared priorities. The participating South African and UK Higher Education Institutions aim to increase the quality and quantity of Masters and PhD graduates. Colm McGivern, British Council South Africa Country Director, will introduce the research chairs co-hosted at the University of the Western Cape (Food Security), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Food Security and the Oceans Economy) and Wits University and the University of Cambridge (Political Theory). 

“We’re delighted to be connecting world class researchers from South Africa and the UK through this programme – international research collaboration is central to economic growth and development, and works over the long term to build the relationships and create the knowledge that will power the future for both countries,” said McGivern.

The Bilateral Chair Initiative is implemented by the British Council and the National Research Foundation of South Africa and provides additional support for the South African Research Chairs (SARChi) initiative, a Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Research Foundation (NRF) programme building research capacity at Higher Education Institutions.