NRF Engages with the Dutch Delegation during their Knowledge Mission to South Africa

NRF Engages with the Dutch Delegation during their Knowledge Mission to South Africa

Since Saturday, 14 October 2023, the NRF has been in engagement with the Dutch Delegation, comprised of board members from leading Dutch knowledge institutions and led by Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science. On Saturday, 14 October, the delegation visited the Astronomy Department of the University of Cape Town. The Netherlands and South Africa have a long history of collaboration in astronomy and the DSI, NRF, NWO and ASTRON have established several initiatives to intensify the co-operation and foster mutual growth in this field. In 2012, Dutch and South African researchers jointly identified areas of common interest and prioritised strategic research areas, leading to several complementary and coherent long-running programmes supported by the NRF and NWO.

Left to right: Sebastiaan den Bak and Jacomijn Verbruggen-Zoutewelle from the Dutch Research Council, NWO; Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf, Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science; and NRF officials, Dr Nokuthula Mchunu and Dr Prudence Makhura.

The NRF, led by Dr Prudence Makhura, Acting Executive Director, also participated at the briefing meeting of the delegation which was held on Sunday, 15 October where she presented the successes and lessons learned from the NRF-NWO joint research initiatives. This meeting also focused on the future partnership plans between the NRF and NWO. On Monday, 16 October, the delegation engaged with the NRF-NOW-funded research teams under the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus Research Programme. The research teams shared their research outcomes including challenges and future opportunities.

On Tuesday, 17 October, the NRF and NWO co-hosted a session on the creation of multilateral partnerships based on shared values with a specific focus on Open Science and recognition and rewards. The speakers from the South African side included Dr Nokuthula Mchunu, Deputy Director at the NRF; Dr Phethiwe Matutu, CEO of Universities South Africa; Dr Heide Hackmann, Director of Future Africa and Strategic Advisor on Transdisciplinarity and Global Knowledge Networks at the University of Pretoria; Susan Veldsman, Director of Scholarly Publishing at the Academy of Science of South Africa; and Dr Thashree Marimuthu, Chair of the South African Young Academy of Science. The discussions focused on how Open Science can advance co-operation and collaboration and recognition and rewards as a driver for research culture change to more impact and society focused.

For the NRF, the Dutch knowledge mission assisted with showcasing the success of the NRF’s bilateral collaboration with NWO; provided the policy makers with more insight into the current state of the collaboration; interrogated synergies; and identified required mechanisms in ensuring an enabling environment for strengthening and growing the partnership. For further information on the SA-NL partnership in STI please see the link:

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