The European Union and South Africa have long been committed to strategic cooperation in
science and technology, dating back to their 1996 Cooperation Agreement, which facilitated
cooperation under the Framework Programmes. On the other hand, South Africa has
concluded several bilateral cooperation agreements with EU Member States, and is aiming
to create a robust national system of innovation to enable its transition to a knowledge
economy, achieving sustained growth and development. Moreover, the Innovation Union
Flagship Initiative provides a new innovation policy context for the EU with an emphasis on
addressing global societal challenges, increasing European competitiveness, and attracting
research talents and investments to Europe. South Africa and the EU, thus, share similar
objectives and there is rich potential for cooperation in innovation to complement their
substantial trade, innovation and development cooperation.
ESASTAP Plus will support the deepening of scientific and technological cooperation with a
special focus on innovation. This will be achieved by supporting South Africa’s participation
in Horizon 2020, but also by promoting reciprocal European participation in South African
programmes. Specific input will be provided to enrich the bilateral policy dialogue, notably
to identify priority areas for mutually beneficial cooperation. A major focus will be to target
coordination of Member States and Associated Countries' research policies and programmes
vis-à-vis South Africa, encouraging the development of new joint initiatives implemented by
several countries. Synergy between different EU cooperation initiatives will also be
encouraged, e.g. between development cooperation and research programmes.
ESASTAP Plus targets four key objectives in order to enhance South African - EU
cooperation in science, technology and innovation, namely to:
- Enrich the science, technology and innovation policy dialogue;
- Promote strategic cooperation under the main instruments, chiefly Horizon 2020;
- Better coordinate and exploit synergy between EU and national programmes; and
- Expand cooperation to specifically address innovation partnerships.
The objectives of ESASTAP Plus are aligned with the International Cooperation
Communication's vision, released recently, for developing mutually beneficial partnerships
with strategic partners.
ESASTAP Plus is coordinated by Constantine Vaitsas, FORTH/PRAXI Network. It is funded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, under the 7th Framework Programme and will last for three years.