Education, Research and Innovation

Science and Technology Office in South Africa

The Science and Technology Office at the Embassy of Switzerland is proudly implementing the mandate of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).

The primary objective of the mandate is a vibrant collaboration between Switzerland and South Africa. The collaboration is achieved through connecting, facilitating and supporting Swiss and South African researchers, start-ups and academia.

Today, Switzerland and South Africa are proudly collaborating on cutting edge research projects having a societal impact. 

The Office is headed by Jacquelene Friedenthal (Science and Technology Counsellor at the Embassy) attached to the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation.

Cooperation in Education, Research and Innovation

The Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, signed in 2007 formally established the Swiss-South Africa Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP).

Since then, the SSAJRP has supported 61 joint research projects implemented by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) in clean and green technology, sustainable systems, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, big data with a focus on astronomy, social sciences and humanities. Further elevating the bilateral research cooperation, the SNSF and the NRF signed a Lead Agency Agreement in 2020. The Lead Agency process is part of the project funding scheme and is aimed at researchers in Switzerland and South Africa who wish to conduct a cross-border research project.

Joint research collaboration is also encouraged outside of the formalized research projects in the framework of mobility such as professional visits of Swiss and South African researchers.  

Researchers and academic students from South Africa can also apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).

The Swiss South African Business Development Programme (SSABDP) is the second flagship of the Swiss South African Joint Research Programe. The SSABDP brings together young entrepreneurs from Switzerland and South Africa with the aim of nurturing an innovative spirit and of creating business networks across continents. The visiting startups are called “Swiss/South African Venture Leaders”.