South Africa

This month, the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) released the first edition of the “Research Infrastructure Roadmap,” a report analyzing and evaluating the country’s need for a national research infrastructure (RI), done as a collaborative effort between South Africa and the EU. The report is to be re-evaluated every three years and focuses on the need for RIs in six scientific sectors: humans and society; health; biological and food security; earth and environment; materials and manufacturing; energy; and physical sciences and engineering. RIs are defined as consisting of facilities, instruments, collaborative networks and databanks, and are classified as being single-sited global facilities; globally distributed RIs, in which a global network is established for collaborative research; and national facilities of global interest, in which international researchers come to work in the South Africa-based facility. The report provides strategic recommendations to develop a long-term framework for 13 RIs in five sectors. Among the RI proposals is the health, biological and food security sector for a platform for “omics” R&D, biobanks and an R&D center for nuclear medicine. A facility for the materials and manufacturing sector, a biogeochemistry platform for the earth and environment sector, and a solar R&D center for the energy sector are also among the proposed RIs. Though the DST has a budget to develop these RIs, additional funds will need to be obtained from government, public and private sectors to fully cover the costs.

Source: DST

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