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Diplomacy scientific


The cooperation between Italy and South Africa in Science and Technology (S&T) is regulated by the bilateral cooperation agreement signed in Pretoria on the 15th of January 1998.

The strategic S&T areas of cooperation are:

Physics, Astrophysics and Radio-Astronomy
Information Communication Technology
Nanotechnology and New Advanced Materials
Medicine and Health
Green and Renewable Energy and Environment

In March 2015, the Italian Embassy in South Africa opened its S&T office. It is part of the S&T attaché network established by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation through its Unit for Bilateral and Multilateral Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

The role of S&T attachés is to showcase and capitalise on the sectors of excellence in scientific and technological research and support the advancement of Italian companies operating in advanced technology sectors. Particularly:

to support and to develop the definition of bilateral cooperation agreements and the application of the related executive protocols;
to promote the Italian S&T system;
to provide proper information on the South African science policy and system;
to support and promote the cooperation between Italian and South African universities and public research institutions
to liase with South African researchers and Italian researcher locally employed by South African institutions to support mobility, cooperation and joint research projects between the two countries.

These activities, whenever appropriate, must be promoted in cooperation with the local Italian Institute of Culture, the Italian Trade Agency, the local Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries and the Embassy’s trade office.

The S&T attachés, who operate in 20 countries, are usually selected among the scientists employed by the Italian public research institutes and universities.

The Italian S&T institutional framework

The Italian S&T system is formed by a considerable number of public entities whose management is ensured and regulated by a few ministries:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI)
Ministry of Education, University, and Research (MIUR)
Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities, and Tourism
Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Economic Development

The main public S&T research institutes and entities managed by the MIUR are:

National Council on Research (CNR)
Italian Space Agency (ASI)
National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN)
National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF)
National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV)
National Institute of Research in Metrology (INRIM)
National Institute of Oceanography and applied Geophysics (OGS)

Additional national institutes relevant to national and international S&T cooperation are:

National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA)
National Institute of Mathematics (INDAM)
National Institute of Health (ISS) – Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)
National Institute for Environmental Research and Protection (ISPRA)

Useful links:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Servizio Netvibes “Science Diplomacy”
Researchitaly – Italian research just a click away
The Italian S&T Information Network (RISET)
Innovitalia – Italian research across the world