NRF co-hosts SANOCEAN Conference in Norway

NRF co-hosts SANOCEAN Conference in Norway

The NRF, in partnership with the Research Council Norway (RCN), recently co-hosted a concluding conference for the South Africa-Norway Cooperation on Ocean Research, Blue Economy, Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (SANOCEAN). The conference was hosted in Oslo, Norway, on 28 September 2023 and included all of the South African and Norwegian researchers (and postgraduate students) currently funded through SANOCEAN.

Participating at the SANOCEAN conference, from left to right, Ms Kegomoditswe Mokgoro (Programme Officer, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria), Ms Zlata Turkanovic (Senior Adviser, Research Council Norway), Dr Prudence Makhura (Acting Executive Director, National Research Foundation), Ms Hildegunn Tobiassen (Counsellor, Royal Norwegian Embassy Pretoria), Dr Eva Fallath (Executive Director: Research Council Norway), Dr Marianne Jensen (Department Director, Research Council Norway), Ms Eudy Mabuza (Senior Science and Innovation Representative in Brussels, Department of Science and Innovation)

The long-term scientific and technological partnership between South Africa and Norway, co-funded by the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and implemented by both the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Research Council Norway (RCN), began in 2002 with the launch of the SANCOOP initiative for research cooperation on climate change, the environment, and sustainable energy. The SANCOOP program ended in 2017 and was followed by the SANOCEAN initiative which ran from 2018 to 2023. Improved knowledge-based policies and decisions for sustainable development in the fields of oceans and ocean space, climate change, and sustainable energy were the overall goals of the SANOCEAN programme which contributed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); increased opportunities to improve research cooperation within the selected thematic areas; and strengthened the quality of research and capacity building at both institutional and individual levels.

During her opening remarks, Ms Eudy Mabuza, Senior Science and Innovation Representative in Brussels, Department of Science and Innovation, located the relevance of SANOCEAN at a national level and highlighted the different ways in which the programme has contributed to advancing the South African National Development Plan.  

The funded research projects have been built around the principles of equal partnership and have significantly contributed to national priorities of both countries. Said Dr Prudence Makhura, Acting Executive Director, National Research Foundation, “From South Africa’s side with the history of socio-economic inequalities finding expression within higher education through different levels of development of the universities, the SANOCEAN Programme has purposefully prioritised the Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs). Projects by researchers from these institutions have been given a priority without necessarily neglecting the well-resourced universities. This has ensured a balance between equity considerations and scientific excellence which is the core principle of this partnership”.

The speakers agreed that, with SANOCEAN, cultural differences and geographical distance are no barriers for meaningful collaboration and exchange as long as the involved partners share common values of respect, integrity and commitment to research excellence. These have been the core values and defining principles of South Africa’s partnership with Norway and have sustained the partnerships throughout the last 21 years.

“A clear testament to this great collaboration,” said Ms Hildegunn Tobiassen, Counsellor, Royal Norwegian Embassy Pretoria, “is the fact that consultations on the new programme are progressing as planned-even with both the National Research Foundation and the Research Council of Norway going through big changes and with people central to the programme leaving. This proves to us that the program’s conception was based on sound principles”.

For further information on SANOCEAN please see the link: 978-82-12-03971-1-ck-sanocean.pdf (

Related Posts