SACCUN Drives Collaborative Impact Through University Networks

SACCUN Drives Collaborative Impact Through University Networks

As part of an overarching agenda to increase science and education collaboration between South Africa and Canada, the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, in collaboration with the Canadian High Commission in South Africa; the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC); and Universities South Africa (USAf), hosted the South Africa-Canada Councils and Universities Network (SACCUN) Roundtable Discussion at the NRF in Pretoria, on 27 June 2024.

The event was attended by several high-level representatives from Government, research councils, and the higher education sector in South Africa and Canada, including Vice-Chancellors and DVCs in research and innovation, the private sector, and representatives from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

In his welcome address, NRF CEO, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, acknowledged Canada’s longstanding commitment and partnership with South Africa, highlighting the continued need for collaboration that encourages sustainable and impactful research and development. His Excellency Chris Cooter, the High Commissioner for Canada in South Africa, reflected on the progress and achievements made by SACCUN in the past year, noting the evident increased interest from Canadian education institutions and the private sector in working with institutions across the African continent.

The discussion follows the SACCUN Summit held in Canada in 2023, which was co-organised by the NRF and the CRCC Secretariat, to amplify collaboration in research and higher education between the two countries, and which was comprised of multilateral and bilateral meetings between research funding organisations, universities and Government departments and agencies with STI portfolios.

The gathering enabled representatives from the universities to report on their respective programmes and provided a platform for the parties to engage in strategic discussions on possible areas of collaboration and approaches to improve the programmes and the functioning of the network going forward.

Echoing Ambassador Cooter’s remarks on SACCUN, Dr Garth Williams, Director in the CRCC Secretariat, stated “It has really raised the profile of the South Africa-Canada scientific relationship country-to-country and across the research community. SACCUN creates great potential, both short term and long term”.

One of SACCUN’s primary objectives is to promote joint partnerships and networks among the South African and Canadian higher education and industry sectors. The network also facilitates the coherence of several research programmes between Canada and South Africa for greater impact.

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