21 June 2015

Strengthening IIASA-South Africa research collaborations

Relations between the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and South Africa are being enhanced through the visit of South Africa’s Minister for Science and Technology to IIASA and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Institute and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF).

South African Minister for Science and Technology in discussion with IIASA’s Director General. ©Silveri | IIASA

South African Minister for Science and Technology in discussion with IIASA’s Director General. ©Silveri | IIASA

On 21 June the South African Minster for Science and Technology, H E Minister Naledi Pandor, visited the Institute to discuss IIASA's ongoing collaborations with South Africa. In addition to strengthening cooperation between IIASA and South African institutions through activities covered under an MoU signed five days earlier with the NRF, the Minister pledged to serve as a liaison to the broader African science and policy community.  She offered to bring NRF support to the participation in IIASA programs of promising young scholars throughout Africa, and to serve as a liaison to the African Union program in Science and Technology. The Minister also emphasized the importance of linking scientific results to appropriate decision making frameworks, so that the analysis can inform policy more effectively.

High level delegation visit to IIASA

On 21 June, IIASA’s Director General welcomed the South African Minster for Science and Technology, H E Minister Naledi Pandor, to the Institute to discuss IIASA's ongoing collaborations with South Africa. The minister was joined by H E Ambassador T Seokolo of the South African Embassy and Permanent Mission in Austria, and  Mr Buti Cecil Masoka, Director of Multilateral Cooperation at South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology.   

South African Minster for Science and Technology, H E Minister Naledi Pandor, visited the Institute to discuss with IIASA’s Director General Professor Dr Pavel Kabat IIASA's ongoing collaborations with South Africa. ©Silveri | IIASA

The delegation also included representatives from IIASA's South African National Member Organization (NMO), the NRF; Dr Aldo Stroebel, Executive Director for International Relations, and from the South African Permanent Mission in Vienna; Ms L Greyling, Minister Plenipotentiary, and Ms A Mokhonoana, First Secretary. The Science and Technology Minister was also accompanied by her special assistant Ms A Maraba. 

The delegation listened to presentations from

  • the Director General and CEO of IIASA, Prof Dr Pavel Kabat about IIASA, its strategy and research;
  • IIASA’s research program directors (Dr Ulf Dieckmann – Evolution and Ecology Program; Professor Wolfgang Lutz – World Population Program); and
  • Young scientists who are developing skills in systems analysis as part of the Young Scientists Summer Program (Mavhungu Muthige, University of the Witwatersrand), and the Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program (Delin Fang, Beijing Normal University, and Seuneu Tchamga, University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal).

In addition, the delegation toured the institute and surrounding areas; and discussed how to enhance the partnership between IIASA and South Africa; including a second generation of cooperation between South Africa (DST/NRF) on systems analysis capacity development, building on the successful Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program, which concluded its third session in 2015. 

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

Dr Dorsamy (Gansen) Pillay, Deputy CEO of South Africa’s National Research Foundation and IIASA Council Member for South Africa, and IIASA’s Director General and CEO, Prof Dr Pavel Kabat sign a memorandum of understanding between IIASA and NRF to further collaborative activities. ©Silveri | IIASA

On 16 June NRF’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA), Dr Dorsamy (Gansen) Pillay who is also IIASA Council Member for South Africa, and IIASA’s Director General and CEO, Prof Dr Pavel Kabat signed a MoU between IIASA and the NRF. This agreement will strengthen joint activities between the two organizations to develop capacity in systems analysis in South Africa and facilitate greater involvement of South African researchers in IIASA.

Specific activities will include:

  • The development of calls for applications for postdoctoral fellows in areas of mutual interest.
  • The support and exchange of scientists and specialists to develop and conduct joint scientific programmes and research projects through the International School of Excellence initiative.
  • The cooperation in the establishment of a Systems Analysis Research Professorship (or Research Chair) within the South African higher education system, with the opportunity for joint supervision of postgraduate students.
  • Joint organization of workshops for the purpose of training senior policy makers in the application of systems approaches and scientific insights to policy deliberations. 

Collaborations with South Africa

Since South Africa’s membership of IIASA began in 2007, a range of research collaborations and capacity building activities have been developed by IIASA and over twenty South African research partners. The most notable activity is the Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program that has developed system analytical research skills among over 80 doctoral students from 30 countries including 35 students from South Africa.

Joint research studies have explored how South Africa can make the transition to a low-carbon economy; smart ways to increase crop yields in South Africa; and the impact of different education policies on South Africa’s future population. These activities are complemented by scientific exchange with over 120 researchers either visiting South Africa from IIASA or visiting IIASA from South Africa.


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Last edited: 22 June 2015

CONTACT DETAILS

Pavel Kabat

IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer

Directorate

T +43(0) 2236 807 402

IIASA ACTIVITIES WITH SOUTH AFRICA

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313