A key activity of the Swiss South African Joint Research Programme is to facilitate, host and promote mobility between academia and science councils from South Africa to Switzerland and vice versa. During the last 10 years the Swiss Embassy – sometimes with the participation of the DST, as well as the Swiss and South African implementing agencies – has seen a number of delegations to and from Switzerland. Swiss and South African officials and academics often undertake exploratory visits to either countries to ascertain the opportunity and appetite for collaboration in new domains.
Three of numerous examples are the 2017 University of Western Cape visit to Switzerland, 2019 Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences Fact-finding Mission to South Africa and the 2019 Science and Innovation Mission to Switzerland.
University of Western Cape Fact-finding Mission to Switzerland in 2017
The University of Western Cape (UWC) visit to Switzerland from2-5 October 2017 was the first official university delegation under the Swiss-SA Government-to-Government Agreement. The week was filled with discussions and considerations of collaboration opportunities. Highlights of the discussions included:
- Fribourg University of Applied Sciences and Arts at the School of Management created a vision for research collaborations in areas related to Fintech as well as entrepreneurship
- Discussions at ETH Zurich took place with the Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology where they emphasized student and staff exchanges with the Department of Biotechnology at UWC
- The World Food System Centre presented its opportunities for scholarships and project funding to the Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UWC
- The Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences suggested a student exchange programme with a common interest in novel delivery systems for cytotoxic marine natural products
- The Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology Department expressed interest to explore collaboration in forensic genetics, with UWC also expressing interest to gain technical skills in using virtual and augmented reality in forensic analysis
Following this visit to Switzerland, UWC entered into an MoU with Lucerne University and also signed an agreement to do the Global Entrepreneurial Spirit Students’ Survey (GUESSS2018).