Russia's Minister of Science and Education, Valery Falkov, visits NRF-iThemba LABS

Russia’s Minister of Science and Education, Valery Falkov, visits NRF-iThemba LABS

The National Research Foundation (NRF) hosted a delegation led by Russia’s Minister of Science and Education, Valery Falkov, at the iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Sciences (NRF-iThemba LABS), Cape Town, on Saturday, 05 August 2023.

Minister Falkov visited the facility as part of his meetings ahead of the 15th BRICS Summit, due to be held in South Africa later this month. NRF CEO, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, welcomed his delegation and led it on a tour of the NRF-iThemba LABS facility. 

Known as Africa’s leading research facility for accelerator-based science, NRF-iThemba LABS is home to state-of-the-art facilities used for the production of radioisotopes used in treating cancer. Its facilities also enable high quality research and training in the accelerator-based physics research field. Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, launched NRF-iThemba LABS’s newest strategic facility, the South African Isotope Facility (SAIF), in June this year. SAIF is intended to increase radioisotope production and research capacity.

Welcoming Minister Falkov and his team, Dr Nelwamondo pointed out that the visit took place at a facility that demonstrated South Africa’s commitment to the increase of socially impactful science. Said Dr Nelwamondo, “Research infrastructure is very key for research and capacity development in South Africa. We look at these in a context of research equipment, research infrastructure, and specialised labs.”

“As NRF-iThemba Labs we’ll be working very closely with Russia’s JINR (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research), looking into aspects of exchanging capacity and both students and researchers – and also courses for training and participation in research and technology transfers. It is in this context that we welcome this visit, just to show you some elements of what we’ve been doing in this space and how we can advance going forward.”

Minister Falkov lauded NRF-iThemba Labs and described it as a wonderful example of advancement in research infrastructure on the African continent. He congratulated South Africa for the launch of SAIF. “This is indeed a huge step forward in the development of nuclear medicine,” he added. Minister Falkov invited NRF-iThemba Labs to visit JNIR to explore further opportunities for multidisciplinary research collaboration.

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