BELSPO: Belgian - South-African research and technology cooperation



In line with the Science and Technology Agreement that was signed in January 2017 between South Africa and Belgium, the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) decided to launch the third call for supporting joint networking research activities between South African and Belgian researchers. Applications for this call should be submitted by a date not later than 23 September.

Networking activities should start in February or March 2023 and can last for a maximum of 3 years. The maximum budget per proposal to be granted to the Belgian partner is €30.000. 

Applications should be submitted only in the following domains:
• Cultural heritage
• Marine sciences
• Microbiological biobanks research and biotechnology
• Natural heritage
• Space

The purpose of this call is to support the networking research activities and mobility of researchers (and their postgraduate students) between the two countries. Research activities as such will not be supported by this call; they are supposed to be financed by other funding sources.

The present call's funds can be used for:
• Networking events (i.e. joint workshops, seminars, conferences, symposia, lecturer presentations, meetings, regional conferences, etc.).
• International travel of researchers, including accommodation, subsistence and local travel.
• Short-term exchanges of the partnering researchers’ postgraduate students.
• Other networking activities motivated by the partnering researchers.
• Preparation of joint proposals to submit in other Research and Innovation funding frames

The funding of the bilateral networking activities is based on the principle of reciprocity. Each country supports the costs of activities carried out on its own territory whereas the international travel costs are borne by the respective sending country. E.g. the organisation of a workshop in Belgium will be covered by Belgium/BELSPO but the international travel costs of the South- African researchers who will attend will be borne by South Africa/NRF.


Egligibility criteria:

- Commercial institutions and private education institutions are not eligible to apply under this Programme.
- An application must designate two Principal Investigators, one in South Africa and one in Belgium, who will bear the main responsibility for the project activities. That will include the technical and administrative coordination of the network as well as scientific and financial reporting (see also point 10 hereafter).
- Additional research partners based in South-Africa and/or Belgium can also participate in the joint projects and form part of the networking team provided there is strong motivation for value add. Each PI is allowed to submit only one proposal meaning that a researcher cannot serve as a PI or networking partner on more than one proposal.
- Former South-African - Belgian beneficiaries are welcomed to participate in this call however a clear motivation should be provided should the submitted proposal build on the former project, while deepening or broadening the network.

South Africa:
This call is open to working researchers residing in South Africa and affiliated with a recognised higher education or research institution such as a university, university of technology or science council. The South African applicant must be in possession of a PhD. Proposals submitted by a PI based at a Historically Advantaged Institution without a research partner from a Historically Disadvantaged Institution (HDI) will be ineligible and will not be submitted for review. The research partner from an HDI in this case can serve as a co-applicant in the proposal. Please note that
co-applicants are also required to be in possession of a PhD. Only the following eight universities will be recognised as HDIs in line with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) November 2021 Ministerial Statement on university funding: University of Limpopo (UL), University of Fort Hare (UFH), University of Venda (Univen), Walter Sisulu University (WSU), University of the Western Cape (UWC), University of Zululand (UniZulu), Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), and Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU).

This call is open to the scientific community of both countries: universities, university colleges, public scientific institutions and non-profit research centres may apply. BELSPO encourages in particular cooperation with research teams from the Belgian federal scientific institutions; Information on the federal scientific institutions can be found in annex I of the Information document


Applications must be submitted in both countries. The South African PI should submit their consortia proposals to the NRF, and the Belgian coordinator should submit their proposals to BELSPO, in accordance with the regulations of each funding organization. 

More information on what these proposals should look like, can be found in the call document.

More information?

More information can be found in the information document



Contact Hasselt University?


Tel. +3211268995

Back to the Calls - international overview