On Tuesday, 24 November 2015, the NRF concluded a scientific agreement with three French institutions – L’Institut Recherché Pour le Development (IRD), Le Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS) and Le Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherché Agronomique Pour le Development (CIRAD) – at the French Ambassador’s residence in Pretoria.
This is the first time that these three prominent institutions conclude a large-scale agreement with one country. The NRF, through International Relations and Cooperation (IRC), and facilitator of the agreement, is pleased to continue the wide-ranging and productive engagements over a number of years in this single approach.
Coordinated by CNRS, the agreement includes the expansion and funding of Phase II of the CNRS/GDRI – ARSAIO (Atmospheric Research in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean) project for the 2014–2017 cycle, with partners including the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN); the University of Pretoria (UP); North West University (NWU) and the South African Weather Service (SAWS). In addition, the ECO-RHAB (LIA-Associated Lab) (an international associated virtual laboratory ), with French and South African collaborators, are being continued, with Prof JF Thackeray based at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) as the SA coordinator. The HOMEN (LIA-Associated Lab) as well as the VOCOM (LIA-Associated Lab) programmes are also extended.
The agreement was concluded with oversight of the French Ambassador to South Africa, Mrs Elisabeth Barbier. The French Institutes were represented by Prof Jean Paul Moatti, President and CEO of IRD; Dr Patrick Nedellec, Director of International Affairs at CNRS, and Dr Jacques Lanǫon, the CIRAD Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, facilitated by Dr Jean Albergel, head of the IRD-CNRS-CIRAD Joint Office for Southern Africa.
The NRF was represented by the RISA Deputy CEO, Dr Gansen Pillay (who also signed the Framework on behalf of the NRF), IRC Executive Director, Dr Aldo Stroebel and Overseas Cooperation Programme Officer, Teuns Phahlamohlaka.