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. South Africa has also 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.
The aim of the ESASTAP 2020 project is to support the deepening of scientific and technological cooperation between Europe and South Africa with a special focus on innovation. This is achieved firstly by supporting South Africa’s participation in Horizon 2020, and also by promoting reciprocal European participation in South African programmes. It also enables bilateral policy dialogue, notably to identify priority areas for mutually beneficial cooperation.
Based on the successes of the previous ESASTAP, ESASTAP-2 and ESASTAP Plus projects, ESASTAP 2020 was started in February 2016 and will operate until January 2019.
It is mainly funded by the European Commission with contribution of the Department of Science and Technology of South Africa under Horizon 2020; Grant Agreement nº 692514 (H2020-INT-INCO-2015).