South Africa and Norway pump R60-million (NOK 40-mil) funding into oceans and blue economy focused research.

In a separate development, Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) is earmarked as home to Africa’s first Waste Academy.

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SEALED: (From Left) Dr Anthony Ribbink, Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST: South Africa)  and  Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen exchanging documents and shaking hands on an agreement that will see Norway funding  a first of its kind initiative to combat marine waste in Africa to be based in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape Province.

Pretoria: 22 March 2018

Continued high level research collaboration between South Africa and Norway will see the two countries pumping an additional R60.8-million in 2018 into research focused specifically on oceans and the blue economy in both countries.

This emerged a week ago during the release of a call to researchers, academics and students in both countries to file applications for funding under the programme, now in its fourth phase since about 16 years.

Known as SANOCEAN and based on an agreement ratified between the countries a month ago, the programme is focussed on three areas of research – the oceans/blue economy, climate change and the environment and sustainable energy.

DSC_3696.JPGIn a parallel development, Norway has committed other funding to development of a plastic waste scientific research and community empowerment initiative that will also involve the establishment of the first of its kind Africa Waste Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape, over the next five years.

This latter initiative, announced at the Norwegian embassy in Pretoria on Monday, is being undertaken through the Sustainable Seas Trust, a Port Elizabeth-based independent nongovernmental institution headed by Dr Anthony Ribbink as chief executive officer.

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Dr Anthony Ribbink. CEO Sustainable Seas Trust

The Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) was the host last year of the inaugural Africa Marine Waste Conference in Port Elizabeth – and the first of three held in country in 2017 – and among whose outcomes was the founding of the Africa Marine Waste Network (AMWN) involving close on 40 countries in the region.

This, according to the parties to the latest initiative, comes against the backdrop that marine waste studies worldwide have found that Africa is ‘the second-most littered continent on the planet, with predictions that by 2050, it will take the top spot.’

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Guests attending the announcement of the Norwegian government funding of a marine waste combatting initiative  for Africa at the Royal Norwegian embassy in Pretoria on Monday

On Monday in Pretoria, the Norwegian government announced that it would be providing initial funding totalling just over R1.2-million to the Africa plastic waste research and community development initiative.

DSC_3739.JPGNorwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen said: “This grant agreement is for a ‘Combating Marine Waste in Africa’ feasibility study, to be conducted by the Sustainable Seas Trust and the African Marine Waste Network on or before 31 October (2018).”

She said further detail on the joint venture with SST and AMWN would be shared in a month’s time during a gathering scheduled for Port Elizabeth.

(For a full interview with Dr Anthony Ribbink of SST and Dr Karl Klingsheim of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa, please click on the video below)

Meanwhile, a few days earlier, Norway and South Africa announced the SANOCEAN initiative, in terms of which ‘approximately  40 million Norwegian krune (NOK) will be available (NOK 30 mill. from Norway and ZAR 15 Mill. from South Africa) for oceans and blue economy research beginning this year.

In terms of the arrangement, no less than 50% of the total funding should go to the South African partner in each of the identified thematic areas of the project, and each of which is intended to stimulate increased research collaborations, and exchanges between Norway and South Africa.

The thematic areas include Ocean Space and the Blue Economy, Environment Climate System and impacts on society, Sustainable Energy, and Filing of research data.

The research project in terms of the agreement ratified on 09 February 2018, runs for six years from this year through to 2023

“The first year (2018) is earmarked for completing the grant agreement(s) with the implementing agencies, prepare and launch the one and only call for grants, assess incoming proposals and allocate grants.

“The next three to four years (2019 -2022) will be the grant implementing period and the final year (2023) for reporting and finalising the programme,” say the parties in a statement

“The new bilateral research co-operation programme aims to strengthen research in these areas in both countries. Ocean space and the blue economy is a strategic priority for both South Africa and Norway as reflected by the launching of Operation Phakisa, which aims to fast-track solutions on critical development issues in South Africa, and the recent White Paper on the place of the oceans in Norway’s foreign and development policy.

“Norway and South Africa also recognise the threat of dangerous climate change and work towards achieving the decisions taken during the 2015 Paris agreement, calling for continued knowledge production on climate change, the environment and renewable energies.

“Research in all these fields should provide a renewed basis for cooperation, innovation, and the pursuit of profitable business opportunities for both countries,” say the parties to the SAOCEAN agreement.

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Dr Karl Klingsheim, Science & Technology Counsellor
Royal Norwegian Embassy, Pretoria

Meanwhile, according to Dr Karl Klingsheim, counsellor at the Norwegian embassy in South Africa, the two initiatives are part of a broader research investment funding by Norway jointly with various parties in which South African in particular can tap in.

He provided the list of research funds available as follows:

Research:

  • SANOCEAN (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/SANOCEAN/1254033164010/p1184150364108?visAktive=true
    The goal of the bilateral SANOCEAN research program (“South Africa – Norway Co-Operation on Ocean Research including blue economy, climate change, the environment and sustainable energy”) is enhanced knowledge-based policies and decisions for sustainable development in the areas of oceans and ocean space (blue economy), environment (with emphasis on oceans and pollution), climate change and sustainable energy in South Africa and Norway. Particular attention shall be paid on aspects leading to income generation and provide selling arguments to producers, service providers as well as young entrepreneurs. The research needs to be relevant to South African and Norwegian priorities. On a wider scale, the programme shall aim to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • MILJØFORSK (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/MILJOFORSK/1254008919542

The primary objective of the “Programme for Environmental Research for a Green Transition” (MILJØFORSK) is to strengthen the knowledge base for sustainable development and the transition to a green society. The MILJØFORSK programme is the Research Council’s primary environmental research initiative and encompasses the land-based environment, fresh water and air. The programme will generate new knowledge about biodiversity, cultural environments, ecosystem services, hazardous substances and pollution, among other topics. It will also study pressures on the environment and the relationships between social and natural drivers/responses and measures. In addition, the programme will generate more knowledge about key environmental challenges and provide the government administration, trade and industry, and society at large with a better foundation on which to take decisions to promote a green transition.

  • NORGLOBAL2 (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/NORGLOBAL2/1254025180071
    The primary objective of NORGLOBAL2 (“Norway – Global Partner”) is to produce research-based knowledge of high quality on poverty reduction and sustainable development informing development policies, development programmes, private sector investments and further research. As the world gathers around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), knowledge based on high quality research on international development can be crucial to ensure progress. NORGLOBAL-2 will have a challenge-based approach, where researchers are invited to develop projects that address challenges within broadly defined areas. To ensure research of high quality and relevance, this will usually require co-production of knowledge between researchers in the North and in the South, and the cooperation between several disciplines. Active collaboration is encouraged with researchers in collaborative countries for Norwegian Overseas Development Assistance.
  • KLIMAFORSK personal mobility grants (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/KLIMAFORSK/1254033598449?WT.mc_id=nyhetsbrev-ForskningsradetEngelsk
    The KLIMAFORSK programme is announcing funding for research stays abroad and visiting researcher stays in Norway that promote the scientific and strategic objectives of the programme. Applicants are encouraged to read the text of the call carefully and to comply with the requirements stipulated for the relevant application type and the call for proposals.
  • INT-BILAT (open-ended): forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/INTBILAT/1253997815241
    “International bilateral research cooperation” (INT-BILAT) offers travel support to expand industry-oriented R&D cooperation with Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and the US. Bilateral cooperation provides access to global knowledge production and helps to ensure that Norway benefits from the results of international research. Calls for proposals under this activity may address all or some of these countries. They may be directed towards certain target groups and may encompass travel support, fellowships and support for events.

 

Higher education:

  • INTPART (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/INTPART/1254007331831
    The objective of the INTPART programme (“International partnerships for excellent education, research and innovation”) is to develop world-class research and education in Norway through long term international cooperation. The programme will create a framework for expanding cooperation between research groups considered to be at the international forefront today or that are believed to have the potential to become world leaders in their fields in the future. The programme will help to increase the extent and enhance the quality and relevance of scientific cooperation with selected countries, in particular by establishing strong ties between higher education and research cooperation. It will also pave the way for cooperation with the business and public sectors, when relevant. The programme will ensure that its portfolio covers all eight countries: Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa and the USA, and encompasses both new and established partnerships. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
  • UTFORSK (deadline 25 September): https://www.siu.no/eng/Programme-information/Cooperation-outside-the-EU/utforsk
    The UTFORSK programme aims to enhance long-term cooperation in higher education between Norway and Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia and South Africa. It support academic partnerships based on the mutual, strategic interests of the institutions and aims to enhance the quality of international cooperation in education by encouraging integration with research cooperation and involvement of non-academic partners. The objectives are to establish and strengthen educational partnerships between institutions in Norway and the partner countries through: development and implementation of joint educational activities; increased mobility of students, including internships/work placements; increased integration of higher education and research; and increased involvement of non-academic partners. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
  • InternAbroad (deadline 25 September): https://www.siu.no/eng/Programme-information/Cooperation-outside-the-EU/internabroad
    The objective of InternAbroad is to increase the number of students from Norway who do a credit-yielding internship or work placement abroad, where they get practical experience in a job, enhance intercultural competencies and language skills, and acquaint themselves with work environments and business cultures in a foreign country. As a result, students will benefit from a more relevant education, and companies and organisations will benefit from access to a pool of talented students who may become future employees. The internships may be undertaken in any form of business or organisation, whether it is small or large, private or public, for-profit or non-profit. The internships must take place in one or more of the partner countries: Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Canada or USA. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
  • ErasmusPlus (open ended): http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about_en
    Erasmus+ will support transnational partnerships among Education, Training, and Youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of Education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe. It will also support national efforts to modernise Education, Training, and Youth systems. In the field of Sport, there will be support for grassroots projects and cross-border challenges such as combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism. Erasmus+ brings together seven existing EU programmes in the fields of Education, Training, and Youth; it will for the first time provide support for Sport. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the Education link to another EC website, Training link to another EC website, Youth link to another EC website, and Sport link to another EC website sectors and is easier to access than its predecessors, with simplified funding rules.

 

EU research:

Please see “Roadmap for EU – South Africa S&T cooperation”: http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/policy/za_roadmap_2017.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none

 

The PES2020 scheme (“Project Establishment Support directed towards H2020”) is one of several funding instruments employed by the Norwegian Research Council to strengthen Norwegian participation under H2020 and improve returns in the form of greater project funding from H2020. The EU funding arena is highly competitive, and it takes knowledge, time and resources to prepare good project proposals. The PES2020 scheme is designed to relieve some of the cost burden for Norwegian applicants related to the preparation of project proposals. The scheme is also designed to raise the overall competence of Norwegian applicants with regard to participation under H2020, as well as to: enhance the quality of the proposals submitted; increase the number of proposals involving Norwegian participants; and encourage participation of new applicants in EU projects.

A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: RISE supports mobility and exchange of research and innovation staff, incl. managerial, technical and administrative staff between institutions in different sectors or with research institutions in countries outside of Europe. The RISE scheme promotes international and cross-sector collaboration through exchanging research and innovation staff, and sharing knowledge and ideas from research to market (and vice-versa). The scheme fosters a shared culture of research and innovation that welcomes and rewards creativity and entrepreneurship and helps to turn creative ideas into innovative products, services or processes.

A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: Individual Fellowships (IF) are awarded to the best researchers at postdoctoral level, of any nationality, for 12-24 months employment in EU Member States or Associated Countries. Fellowships take form of European or Global Fellowships. Global Fellowships have a mandatory 12 month return period. The goal of the Individual Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility. Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to researchers of any nationality to acquire and transfer new knowledge and to work on research and innovation in Europe (EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries) and beyond. The scheme particularly supports the return and (re)integration of European researchers from outside Europe and those who have previously worked here, as well as researchers displaced by conflict outside the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. It also promotes the career restart of individual researchers who show great potential.

A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: MSCA COFUND offers co-funding for regional, national or international fellowship programmes on doctoral and postdoctoral level, where transnational mobility is part of the action. The COFUND scheme aims to stimulate regional, national or international programmes to foster excellence in researchers’ training, mobility and career development, spreading the best practices of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. This will be achieved by co-funding new or existing regional, national, and international programmes to open up to, and provide for, international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary research training, as well as transnational and cross-sectoral mobility of researchers at all stages of their career.

For companies:

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Volvo Ocean Race a major contributor to South Africa’s oceans economy: V&A Waterfront

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WINNER: MAPFIRE, the first of seven of the yachts participating in this Volvo Ocean Race to arrive at port of Cape Town on Friday, 24 November 2017

Cape Town: 27 November 2017

The start of the global Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) South Africa leg at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town at the weekend is among highly significant water based international events that are a major contributor to development of the country’s oceans economy, event hosts; the V&A Waterfront has said.

Addressing local and international guests during the official opening of the event a few hours ahead of the arrival of the first of seven yachts participating in this year’s (2107/18) South Africa leg of the VoR across the world, V&A Waterfront CEO Mr David Green said on Friday that the event would contribute no less than R500-million to Cape Town’s economy during the two weeks stopover, from 24 November to 10 December 2017.

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The entry point to Quay Five – the venue of the South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town; from 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017

But crucially, the bi-annual event, he said; was a major contributor to marine tourism not only of the Western Cape but the entire country, generating opportunities for investment and expansion of businesses as well creation of much needed jobs throughout the country’s tourism sector value chain.

Local and international guests at the function included senior government officials as well as United Nations officials attending  the Cape Town Ocean Summit as well as the UN, UNESCO and International Ocean Institute ‘ocean sustainability’ conferences scheduled over five days from Monday to Friday (27 Nov to Dec 01) parallel the VoR.

Mr Green described the city of Cape Town as the ‘Number 1’ city in Africa for business tourism and its events and conferencing subsectors were a vital cog to the city’s economic growth strategy to develop and sustain a reputation as an investment and business destination.

DSC_2623According to Mr Green, the V&A Waterfront along with the city of Cape Town, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and several other notable entities are regular sponsors of the VoR based on an understanding of the catalyst role the biannual event has on current and future business investments in the country.

He said consistent with this understanding the V&A Waterfront had on its part, continued its own business investment along the Cape Town harbor , the latest being a new multi-million rand worth ‘silo district’ that has attracted more than 70 000 visitors since completion recently.

The VoR he said, with a multi-million television audience worldwide, in addition to the more than 1.5-million people that throng the stop-over areas such as the V&A Watefront, provided an opportunity for South Africa to showcase worldwide its expertise and leading role in a whole range of areas inclusive of its depth and breadth of scientific research into ocean trends in the Southern Oceans to Antarctica, its already globally recognized boat manufacturing capabilities as well as a growing corps of well trained seafarers and vessels crew.

“Far from it being a wealthy people’s sport, the Volvo Ocean Race is a catalyst and major contributor to development of our oceans economy,” said Mr Green.

For his full remarks click below

On hand to also welcome local and international guests was Cape Town City Councillor, Mr Eddie Andrews and for whose remarks, please click below:

The pair were led in the welcome speeches by Worldsport managing director, Mr Bruce Parker-Forsyth, a long time partner and host sponsor of the VoR. For his remarks click below.

After arriving a few hours apart from about 4pm on Friday, led by the Mapfire team, the VoR 2017/18 yachts have been undergoing thorough mechanical and cleaning services at the Cape Town harbour.

The MAPFIRE team (below in red) were the winners of the South Africa leg of the VoR.

Also below, is the crew of the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, and whose yacht came third overall in the Cape Town’s VoR second leg. They were handed their trophy (for 11 points overall) by SAMSA’s Corporate Affairs senior manager, Ms Nthabiseng Tema.

The mechanical and cleaning services are at V&A Waterfront yacht zone.

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The specially set up Volvo Ocean Race yard west of the V&A Waterfront where spare parts and other paraphernalia for the racing yachts are located.

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South Africa-Norway inaugural maritime sector ‘Science Week’ yet another cog in the oceans economy wheel

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Pretoria: 12 October 2016

South Africa’s multi-billions rand worth maritime economic sector presents business opportunities far fewer investors globally are willing to ignore, the least among these being Norwegians, who through both their government and independent institutions, are firming their bilateral relations with the country.

This becomes evident yet again last this month when the Scandinavian country – with long experience in oceans economy and globally respected expertise on matters marine and maritime – joins the South African government in staging a week-long “Science Week” beginning on October 31 in Pretoria and winding down in Cape Town five days later.

Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway
File Photo: Earlier this year, delegates to a two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway

Themed: “South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016”, the event – a first of its kind driven by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Centre of International Cooperation in Education, and supported in South Africa by a host of Government departments and institutions led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) – is billed as aimed at creating opportunity for further sharing more intensively, information on the many opportunities presented by South Africa’s oceans economy.

In a statement recently, according to ‘Team Norway’ – a Norwegian group comprising the Research Council of Norway, Norwegian Centre for International Co-operation in Education, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria – the event “aims to explore opportunities for cooperation in education, research and new business development.”

The group states that the event is a result of and seeks to cement already well established relations between Norway and South Africa dating back to the ‘pre-freedom years when Norway actively supported opposition to the apartheid regime.

DSC_0148“The 1990s initiated an era of co-operation in higher education and research (and) since 2002, bilateral research programmes have provided support for 86 projects, of which 19 are still active,” it says, adding that annual high consultations between the two countries focus on areas of common economic and political interest, including the SANCOOP programme for research on climate change, environmental and renewable energy.

In addition, focus of the annual bilateral meetings between South Africa and Norway at Ministerial level have increasingly focused on areas for co-operation on South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.

The latter co-operation has since culminated in among others, the Norwegians in 2016 entering into a partnership with the Port Elizabeth-based Nelson Mandela University where they ploughed some R50-million over five years in a new academic centre to fight against illegal fishing in South Africa.

During 2016, the Norwegians were also part of a gathering of some of the country’s maritime economic sector role-players in Port Elizabeth working on a strategy for an anticipated rollout of a South African national maritime cluster.

Later this month, they will again be joining South Africans to look at and share experiences related to the country’s opportunities and challenges with regards the ocean space over the next 10 years.

Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth are (Left) Norway's ambassador to South Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU
FILE PHOTO: Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth recently are (Left) Norway’s ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU

The discussion in plenary sessions will focus on among key issues; an ‘overview and strategic context to the blue economy’ dealing specifically with global trends and national strategies related to benefits of expanding bilateral cooperation in education, research, innovation and business development.

Also in focus will be South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) and how the Norwegians could contribute in its further development and advancement.

Related will be focus on global success stories and new funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers and related.

Over 200 guests are already confirmed as attending the Science Week in Pretoria and Cape Town, among these being dozens of academics, specialists and innovators in the global oceans space from several universities, research institutions and  business sectors in South Africa, France, and a few others countries.

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South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor

Also key participants from South Africa are Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor; National Research Foundation executive director, Dr Aldo Stroebel; The Innovation Hub CEO, Mr McLean Sibanda; South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi and others.

From Norway the delegation is expected to include Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Tone Skogen; Research Council of Norway director-general, Mr Arvid Hallén, Innovation Norway director of Regions and Financing, Mr Per Niederbach; SINTEF executive Dr Karl Almås, and several others.

The South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016 begins at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria on October 31 and wraps up in Cape Town on Friday, November 4, 2016 with excursions of the Western Cape by various interest groups that may involve focused seminars, workshops and network opportunities.

For more information on the event, and an online platform to register for attendance, please Click Here.

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