SOUTH AFRICA: Call for research grant applications

A developmental initiative that includes universities in South Africa, India and Brazil and seeks to promote South-South cooperation, is calling for applications from South African researchers. Designed to support development of cooperation activities in science, technology and innovation, it aims to sustainably contribute to technological development.

The IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) cooperation includes research in agriculture, climate change, culture, defence, education, energy, health, information society, science and technology, social development, trade and investment, tourism and transport.

"What is interesting about this project is the building of lasting collaborations between the three countries," said Robert Robert Kriger, executive director for international relations and cooperation at the National Research Foundation, or NRF.

"We hope to sustainably contribute to the scientific and technological development of the participating countries through generation and appropriation of knowledge," he told University World News.

Kriger said the initiative expected to to fund 10 projects that run for three years. He said each project was funded for R80,000 (US$ ) annually. The NRF and Higher Education South Africa, the vice-chancellors' association, will administer the intiative.

The education ministers of IBSA, also known as the Trilateral Forum, signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in higher education in October 2007, with a view to creating conditions for cooperation between India, Brazil and South Africa's academic institutions, faculties and researchers.

The applicants for these grants must show the future potential of their research, and indicate how the project will be researched jointly with teams from the three countries how each team would be allocated an equal and necessary part of the work.

The initiative states in its application guidelines that researchers contributing to the national priorities of capacity building, equity and redress of historical inequalities would be particularly encouraged.

Also recommended is the active involvement students and researchers, particularly from historically disadvantaged socio-economic population groups, either as principal investigators or team members.

"In this regard networking activities should also be extended as far as possible to young researchers and future project leaders, so that the IBSA initiative as a whole will not begin and end with the current crop of experienced researchers," said the initiative.

* Applications must be made by 15 June.