Mur għall-kontenut ewlieni
Research and innovation

South Africa

Policy background, funding opportunities, agreements and arrangements, projects and results and contact

Policy background

The EU-Republic of South Africa research and innovation cooperation agreement, signed in 1997, is one of the most successful and longest-standing international cooperation agreements on research and innovation that the EU ever concluded.

Today, South Africa hosts the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership , the world’s largest public–public research and innovation partnership on infectious diseases. A follow-up instrument to the EDCTP is expected to be adopted by the end of 2021 and South Africa has again shown great interest in continuing its engagement.

The country also signed-up to the EU Joint Programming Initiative on “Water challenges for a changing world”, and to EUREKA the world’s biggest public network for international cooperation in research and development and innovation, present in over 45 countries.

Under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding programme until 2021, participants from South Africa applied very successfully in calls for proposals on collaborative projects. South Africa is also the second most successful non-EU country in terms of EU funding provided to its participants through Horizon 2020.

Applicants from South Africa remain eligible for funding under Horizon Europe the EU's current research and innovation funding programme.

The EU also supports South Africa's objective to improve the functioning of the National System of Innovation through the EU Funded Sector Budget Support Programme.

Monitoring cooperation

The Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) monitors and facilitates cooperation between South Africa and the EU . The last meeting took place on 12 April 2019 reviewing South Africa's participation in Horizon 2020, reflecting on progress in key areas and the role of international cooperation under Horizon Europe.

Joint communique: 16th EU-South Africa Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee


Funding opportunities

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.

Applicants from South Africa are eligible for funding.

Horizon Europe website


Agreements and arrangements

EU-South Africa Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement


Projects and results

Research project database

EU-funded research projects involving South Africa

For previous framework programmes, please contact the Research enquiry service.

Additional reading on success stories of EU-funded research projects involving South Africa.

Flagships of science and technology cooperation

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP)

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP) is a partnership between the Commission, EU countries and sub-Saharan African countries.

The main vision of the partnership is to reduce the individual, social and economic burden of poverty-related infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, by supporting collaborative research to develop accessible, suitable and affordable medical interventions.

This will be achieved by enhancing the research capacities and accelerate the development of new or improved medical interventions for the identification, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, including emerging and re-emerging diseases, through all phases of clinical trials, with emphasis on phase II and III trials.

Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) coordinates efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS. International collaboration is essential for exploiting the growing potential of Earth observations to support decision making. South Africa is a co-chair of GEO.

Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an iconic radio telescope array that will transform the way we see the universe, as well as being a driver of science, technology and innovation on an industrial scale. It is one of a few truly global facilities that will be built by a consortium of countries around the world. South Africa will host the mid-frequency part of the Array.

The ESASTAP platform

European South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme (ESASTAP) promotes, facilitates and coordinates research, development and innovation cooperation between South Africa and the EU in areas of common interest.

The aim of the ESASTAP platform is to support the deepening of scientific and technological cooperation between South Africa and Europe with a special focus on innovation.

Overview of ESASTAP



National Contact Points

The National Contact Points (NCPs) provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020.

Research enquiry service

You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.

European Commission

RTD-EU-AFRICA-HLPD-BUREAUatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (DG Research and Innovation unit F.2: International cooperation)


15 OTTUBRU 2018
Roadmap for EU -South Africa science and technology cooperation
(1.54 MB - PDF)

5 MEJJU 2017
Factsheet: EU-South Africa cooperation
(491.74 KB - PDF)

11 APRIL 2019
Joint communique: 16th EU-South Africa Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee
(332.91 KB - PDF)