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Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation

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Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation

This decision establishes cooperation between the European Union and South Africa in the area of science, technology, research and development. It aims to promote scientific and/or technological progress in the European Union and South Africa and also to foster social and economic development in South Africa.


Council Decision No 97/763/EC of 10 November 1997 concluding the Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Republic of South Africa.


The European Union (EU) and South Africa have concluded an Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation which complements the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). Science and technology are crucial for economic and social development and this agreement thus contributes to South Africa's development.

Principles and areas of cooperation

Cooperation takes place in areas of mutual interest and for mutual benefit. One particular aspect is the activities connected with the EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development and similar RTD activities in South Africa. When the Agreement was concluded in 1997, the Fourth Framework Programme was under way. The Agreement was regularly extended through mutual agreement between the parties and cooperation is now being pursued under the Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research (2007-2013). Cooperation also comprehends effective protection of intellectual property and the equitable sharing of intellectual property rights.

Modes of cooperation

Cooperation is taking place through various activities involving a number of actors, and includes:

  • reciprocal participation of research entities, i.e. research centres, companies, universities, (for example, South African bodies are participating directly in the activities of the EU Framework Programme);
  • shared use of research facilities;
  • visits and exchanges of researchers, engineers and technicians;
  • exchange of information on practices, laws, etc.;
  • scientific networks and the training of researchers.

It should be pointed out that there is a specific programme under the EU Framework Programme in the field of cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries and international organisations. Should South Africa take part in this programme, it would be considered a developing country.

The Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee is responsible for administering the Agreement. Its functions include, inter alia, making recommendations concerning cooperation activities, reviewing the effective functioning of the Agreement and providing an annual report on the state of progress and effectiveness of cooperation between the two parties.

More specifically, a Joint Technology Management Plan (JTNP) is drawn up for each cooperation activity. This plan identifies the objectives of the research activities and the contributions of each party. It must also contain principles in respect of the ownership and use of information resulting from research activities (see below).


Funding is provided by each party according to availability of funds and each party's laws/plans. It is not necessary to transfer funds between parties, except in the case of participation in the programme relating to cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries and international organisations. Thus, there is no common fund or fixed budget for cooperation and funding is granted according to project.

Dissemination and use of information

8. Adequate protection of intellectual property is vital in this area. Each party is subject to the rights and obligations of the party responsible for the activity concerned and provisions relating to the utilisation and dissemination of results must be included in the JTNP. It is intended that the intellectual property rights of the results of activities undertaken under the Agreement should be shared equitably.

Termination and settlement of disputes

The Agreement may be terminated at any time by either party by giving six months' written notice. Any disputes must be settled between the parties by mutual agreement.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 97/763/EC [adoption: consultation CNS 92012]



OJ 313 of 15.11.1997

Last updated: 01.04.2008