Initiative launched to encourage South African top researchers to join ERC teams in Europe

A new initiative has been launched to provide South African early-mid career researchers with research opportunities in Europe. The agreement has been signed by European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and the South African Minister for Science and Technology Naledi Pandor.

The ERC/DST initiative - the sixth in a string of similar agreements with non-European counterparts - is open to active holders of South African National Research Foundation (NRF) grants. They can undertake research visits (e.g. for joint experiments), becoming part of teams led by ERC grant holders in Europe.

This contract takes the form of an 'Implementing Arrangement' under the umbrella of the Science & Technology Agreement between the EU and the Republic of South Africa. South African researchers who will come to Europe on scientific visits will continue to receive remuneration from the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The objective of the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) is to promote and support research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary facilities in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all the people.

Set up by the European Union in 2007, the European Research Council (ERC) is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run five-year-projects based in Europe. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. To date, the ERC has funded some 5,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers. On average, ERC grantees employ around six team members during their ERC project. An estimate shows that some 18% of these team members are nationals from countries outside Europe. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council, and, since January 2014, the ERC President is Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The ERC has a budget of over €13 billion and is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.

Learn more: Opening ERC teams to the world

Source: European Commission