The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the Swiss Embassy in South Africa and the University of Basel and other social partners confirmed their commitment to the ideals of the Swiss-South African Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP) under the auspices of the Swiss-South African Social Sciences and Humanities Collaboration during a social science symposium. The symposium is being hosted by the Ambassador of Switzerland, Christian Meuwly, at the Africa Museum in Johannesburg, today.
Prof. Olive Shisana, CEO of the HSRC, said the organisation has always enjoyed a very vibrant relationship with the Swiss, more specifically in the area of the Social Sciences and Humanities.
“We have jointly embarked on activities to support young researchers and common areas of research that we deem as priorities, resulting in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Basel, signed on 5 September 2013.”
The signing of the MoU formed part of a high-level meeting between the former Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom and Minister of and Swiss Federal Councillor, Johann Schneider-Ammann. Through the agreement the two institutions intend to consider ways to:
- Share agendas, knowledge and ideas, and plan joint activities in areas of common interest;
- Utilise and leverage resources and facilities to mutual advantage and benefit;
- Maximise impact through working in partnership;
- Enhance the networks in science & technology and social sciences with the science and technology foreign representation in South Africa;
- Promote the Swiss social sciences landscape among foreign representatives active in South Africa and the South Africa National System of Science and Innovation in view of future trilateral collaboration;
- Initiate discussions with potential African countries for Switzerland considering collaboration in the social sciences with, for example Mozambique, Ghana, Zambia, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon; and
- Initiate interaction with regional representation in science and technology, e.g. SADC and African Union.
Ambassador Christian Meuwly added that the purpose of the event is to showcase the Swiss commitment to the social sciences and humanities. “Focusing on a networking and linkages event on social sciences and humanities will aim to strengthen research across international networks and disciplines in pursuit of shared goals, for example in health, demographic change and wellbeing; in smart, green and integrated transport; in climate action and resource efficiency; in Europe (Africa) in a changing world; and leadership in enabling and industrial technology,” he said
The partnership also expects broader collaboration in the area of social sciences, cooperating with foreign representatives on the African continent.
As part of the collaboration between the HSRC and the University of Basel a book was published recently that focused on care in Switzerland and South Africa, entitled Care in Context: Transnational gender perspectives.
For more information, please contact: Mr Julian Jacobs on 082 454 4902
Issued by the Human Sciences Research Council and the Swiss Embassy in South Africa