South Africa pushes for Research Links with Ireland

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

The South African Senior Science and Technology representative in Europe, Dr Mandi Mzimba, called on Irish researchers to develop linkages with their South African counterparts. She was speaking at a workshop in Dublin today hosted by the Irish Universities Association. The event was organised in partnership with ESASTAP – the European South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme. The workshop, supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, aims to make important research connections by availing of the European Commission's Framework Programmes.

ESASTAP is a Specific Support Action, implemented by the South African Department of Science and Technology and funded by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework programme to facilitate networking between European and South African scientists.

Welcoming the South African delegation in his opening address, Paraig Hennessy, Head of Science Policy and International Research Programmes in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said that, "Irish Researchers have always been very successful participants in EU Framework Programmes. I have no doubt that once they are made aware of collaboration opportunities they could be relied on to use Framework funding to establish long lasting and fruitful linkages with researchers in South Africa."

Presentations were made on the research landscapes in South Africa and Ireland with a focus on Food Safety and Quality, Biotechnology, IST and Energy which are national priorities for both countries.

Irish researchers from a variety of academic institutions including TCD, UCD, UCC, NUIG, DIAS, RCSI and DIT also had the opportunity for one to one meetings with the South African NCP's to discuss specific collaborative ideas.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) provides a national support service for industry and academia in preparing and submitting proposals to the FP6 programme. Speaking at the event, Siobhan Harkin, Research Officer at IUA said, "There are great opportunities over the next seven years of FP7 for Irish and South African research to form strong links in areas of common interest. The IUA will work closely with ESASTAP to this end."

Significant opportunities will exist for research organisations in the Marie Curie Programme in FP7 and the IUA will strongly support potential applicants in industry, universities and institutes of technology to build on the success of FP6. The IUA looks forward to working with South Africa to establish strong research links.

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