Southern Africa Regional Cooperation Fund for Scientific Research by monkey6

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									    Southern Africa Regional Cooperation Fund for Scientific Research and
            Technology Development (“The Regional S&T Fund”)


Introduction

The South African Department of Science and Technology has played a leading
role in bringing about policy harmonization in the Southern Africa region in
science, technology and innovation. Over the last few years, through the Lead
Programme and the Regional S&T Programme Funds, joint research
partnerships were fostered in various research programmes. There is a need to
continue to support regional cooperation in scientific research and technological
development, particularly in the light of NEPAD and the regional integration
envisaged in the Common Agenda and the Regional Indicative Strategic
Development Plan of SADC. To this end, the Department of Science and
Technology has earmarked R4 million for the financial year 2005/6.


Features of the Fund

The existing funding programmes that are available to multilateral research
programmes in Southern Africa tend to promote large projects, such as those
supported by the funding instruments of the European Union. Institutional and
financial constraints in the region limit the number and kinds of cross-border
cooperation in scientific research and technological development. Furthermore,
it is often difficult to interest a European partner in a research area that
addresses local problems in the participating countries.

Southern Africa has put together proposals for joint projects under the auspices
of the NEPAD S&T programme. The regional NEPAD programme, however,
tends to focus on multi-country projects driven by networks of nodal institutions in
the region, in terms of the adopted NEPAD Plan of Action. This leaves a gap at
the lower end of the scale, where partnerships between two or three countries,
working on small projects, are not adequately catered for. The Regional S&T
Fund aims to plug this gap by making available funds to support small
collaborative projects, involving 2 or 3 institutions in different countries of the
region. In this way, the Regional S&T Fund could serve as a stepping stone for
joint projects supported under this programme to grow into NEPAD programmes,
should the successes attract broader participation.

In specific terms the Regional S&T Fund will have the following features:

    It will provide support for joint research and technology programmes involving
     2 or more countries, South Africa being one of them.




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   The joint projects shall be in or have a direct bearing on the 12 NEPAD S&T
    flagship programmes adopted by the African Ministerial Council for Science
    and Technology.
   Projects to be considered will range in size from small to medium with a
    maximum of R1 million per project per year.
   Special effort will be made to promote projects with a strong human capacity
    building focus, especially for women.
   Preference will be given to the projects that are likely to contribute to socio-
    economic development in the region, particularly in the townships and rural
    areas.
   The progress of funded projects will be monitored through scheduled reports
    and meetings.


Objectives of the Fund

As described above, the Regional S&T Fund has a very specific focus and is
designed to achieve the following objectives:

1. Foster regional cooperation at institutional level in research and development
   in the Southern Africa region;
2. Contribute to promoting scientific research within institutions in the region;
3. Promote a research culture that is grounded in putting the social and
   economic needs of the local communities first;
4. Support the NEPAD S&T Plan of Action at sub-regional level;
5. Create a base that will nurture small projects that have the potential to
   eventually grow into multinational projects or projects that could attract
   funding from instruments such as the EU framework programme;
6. Create opportunities for human capacity development in research through
   concrete research activities;
7. Provide a mechanism that will make it possible for our research institutions to
   share expertise with institutions in the neighbouring countries.


Details about applications

A call for proposals will go out by means of the mass media, inviting researchers
and institutes to apply. Researchers based at any of the South African education
institutions or Science Councils are invited to apply, provided that at least one
participant in Southern Africa is involved in the proposed research programme.
The commitment of the external partner in the project could be demonstrated in
monetary terms or other means of contribution. Project proposals will be
evaluated by a team of experts, on the basis of predetermined criteria.




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