South African science and tech gets ready to Czech itself

  • Delegates from the Czech Republic visited South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) this week on grounds of expanding collaboration between the two nations.
  • The two countries are in discussions on how to share tech and information on cybersecurity, nanotechnology, food security and more.
  • According to Czech Minister Jiří Kozák, discussions were also held on Russia’s war on Ukraine and the conflict in Palestine.

South Africa is on the verge of a larger collaboration for “science diplomacy” with the Czech Republic after a meeting with the Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and representatives of the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Wednesday.

Minister Jiří Kozák toured the CSIR, specifically the National Centre for Nanostructured Materials and the Cybersecurity Operations Centre, to explore potential areas of collaboration between the two nations.

These areas include food security, academies of science, hydrogen nanotechnology, cybersecurity, tech transfer, aerospace technologies and a possible partnership in the upcoming Square Kilometre Array mega-science project, according to a statement issued by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

Kozák and CSIR boss Dr Thulani Dlamini both claimed that further discussions would take place on these topics, but as of right now the visit by the Czech delegation seems to be to test the waters for future collaboration.

An X post by the Czech Minister revealed more of what the discussions encompassed at the CSIR.

“Economic and scientific cooperation dominated the political consultations with my South African counterpart. But we also dealt with security topics, including Russian aggression in Ukraine and the situation in Gaza after the terrorist attack by Hamas,” wrote Kozák. The Czech Republic is a member of NATO. The current Czech administration is in support of the Israeli government.

Both of these facts provide a massive contrast to the South African government’s official stance on Russia and the war in Palestine. It seems for South Africa, the focus was on leveraging technology and science for the benefit of both nations.

“The partnership between South Africa and the Czech Republic transcends traditional diplomatic channels, embracing a forward-looking approach that harnesses the transformative power of science and technology for the betterment of society,” explained Daan du Toit, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Resources at the South African Department of Science and Innovation.

The Czech Republic has established a department of science diplomacy – when countries provide each other with advice based on scientific evidence to support decision-making – as, according to Kozák, international collaboration in research and innovation is a focus for the Czech Republic at the moment.

DIRCO now expects to two nations to sign an agreement for the creation of long-term science and technology collaborations. South African delegations are also expected to journey to the Czech Republic in November this year to further the agreements and discussions on tech and science made during this particular visit.


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