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Press release

€1.8 million EU-South Africa research cooperation project launched

Brussels, 2 November 2012

A new €1.8 million science cooperation project between Europe and South Africa was officially launched today at the start of an official visit to Cape Town by European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

The three-year European-South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme (ESASTAP Plus) project aims to enhance cooperation through the participation of South African researchers in EU-funded projects and reciprocal arrangements for European scientists. It will also seek to develop new joint science and technology initiatives.

ESASTAP Plus is the third such bilateral project since the EU and South Africa concluded a science and technology (S&T) cooperation agreement 15 years ago. The first two projects coordinated by South Africa alone successfully increased South African participation in EU-funded research projects. The current framework programme (FP7), launched in 2007, has so far provided nearly €30 million in funding to some 190 South African participants in EU projects.

ESASTAP Plus for the first time also includes a consortium of European countries (Greece, Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland) with the aim of coordinating Member States' and Associated Countries' research policies and programmes vis-à-vis South Africa and encouraging the development of new joint initiatives implemented by several countries.

During her visit to mark the 15th anniversary of the EU-South Africa S&T agreement, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will give a key note speech at the high level pledging conference (Nov 5) for the next phase of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).

The EDCTP was founded in 2003 to focus the work of the European Commission and several EU Member States, in collaboration with sub-Saharan countries, in the development and testing of new medicines against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. More than one billion people, including 400 million children, suffer from one or more of these diseases.

EDCTP currently funds 196 research projects, including 57 clinical trials involving more than 100,000 patients. It has also helped train more than 300 African scientists.

During her visit, the Commissioner is also expected to visit several EDCTP clinical trial sites (Nov 6), speak at the opening session of the "Berlin 10" conference on open access to scientific information (Nov 7), visit EU-funded projects (Nov 8)  and meet staff and officials at South Africa's MeerKAT telescope, a precursor to the international Square Kilometre Array radio telescope (Nov.9) whose development has been part funded by the EU.

Contact:

Michael Jennings, Spokesman for Research,Innovation and Science: +32 229 633 88