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South Africa is a Newton Fund partner country, launched in 2014.

South Africa has one of Africa’s biggest and most developed economies. The country has an advanced economy in sectors such as mining, transport, energy, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.

Science, technology and innovation has been fundamental to social, economic and environmental progress since 1994, as identified in the country’s National Development Plan. This has led to a stronger knowledge and innovation-based economy. It has also increased the participation of previously disadvantaged groups (black people and women) in research and development.

Despite this progress, the country is still faced with several challenges, including high levels of poverty and inequality, which the country’s national development plan seeks to address. South Africa’s 2019 White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation sets out the increased role for science, through the country’s national system of innovation (NSI), to address these challenges. The White Paper emphasises the core themes of inclusivity, transformation, and partnerships.

Against this backdrop, the South African Government is proud to be an equal Newton Fund partner, promoting science and innovation for development in South Africa, the UK and the region. 

Main image: The UK-South Africa Newton Fund science and innovation partnership supports the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) initiative, which has developed MeerKAT radio telescopes across the Karoo of the Northern Cape Province in South Africa [Image supplied by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory].

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Priorities for South Africa

These are mutually identified priorities between the UK and South Africa. Priorities may not cover everything we currently fund and may evolve over time to ensure they continue to meet our shared objectives.
Food security
Global change and the circular economy, including weather and climate
Health research
Higher education
Oceans economy
Radio astronomy and big data science
Renewable energy

UK-South Africa Newton Fund Health Research

UK-South Africa TB Diagnostics studyPlay

Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading cause of death in South Africa, killing over 60,000 people in 2020. New technologies have the potential to speed up diagnosis and treatment, cut TB transmission and improve patient care. But these life-saving innovations have not yet been implemented effectively in the places that need them most. Under South Africa’s National Priority Programmes, a team of researchers have been working together to evaluate and advance several new technologies that will help the country deliver accurate, affordable, and accessible TB diagnostic services and patient care.

Find out more about the study - https://bit.ly/3VIs247

UK-South Africa Newton Health Research UK-South Africa TB Diagnostics study 20 October 2022 HealthNewton FundSouth Africa
UK-South Africa CONNECT studyPlay

Lack of population-specific data and testing criteria means it is still unclear what effect medication is having on the neuropsychiatric health of South African HIV patients. A Newton Fund collaboration with scientists from South Africa’s University of Cape Town and the University of Liverpool in the UK are working together to fill this knowledge gap. Researchers examined patients at the Gugulethu Community Health Centre in Cape Town to assess the impact of HIV and ARV drugs on their cognitive function and mental health.

Find out more about the CONNECT study - https://bit.ly/3ehZm0W 

UK-South Africa Newton Health Research UK-South Africa CONNECT study 10 October 2022 HealthNewton FundSouth Africa
UK-South Africa IMHOTEP studyPlay

The African Cardiomyopathy and Myocarditis Registry Programme, referred to as the IMHOTEP study, is filling the knowledge gap of genetic origins of cardiomyopathy (a common form of heart disease).

The Newton funded international collaboration has brought together researchers from across Africa, the UK, and other countries around the world to investigate the clinical characteristics, genetic causes, prevalence, management and outcome of cardiomyopathy and myocarditis in children and adults. 

Find out more about the project - New genetic discoveries to fight heart disease and premature deaths in sub-Saharan Africa | Global Challenges Research Fund & Newton Fund (newton-gcrf.org)

UK-South Africa Newton Health Research UK-South Africa IMHOTEP study 29 September 2022 HealthNewton FundSouth Africa
UK-South Africa H3D projectPlay

Infectious diseases are responsible for nearly 70% of deaths in Africa each year. Globally, drug-resistant infections are on the rise, making the search for new and effective medicines increasingly urgent. In 2010 Professor Kelly Chibale founded the Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Scientists working at the H3D Centre are developing new drugs to treat an array of infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and corona viruses.

Find out more about the study - http://bit.ly/3U0mfot 

UK-South Africa Newton Health Research UK-South Africa H3D project 24 November 2022 HealthNewton FundSouth Africa
UK-South Africa ADD Hub studyPlay

Drug-resistant infections caused by the misuse of antibiotic treatments killed over 1.2 million people worldwide in 2019. A major challenge to combating drug-resistant infections is a lack of new drugs being developed. To address this issue, scientists from South Africa’s Rhodes University and the University of Plymouth in the UK have set up an Antimicrobial Drug Discovery Hub.

Find out more about the study - http://bit.ly/3u93eG9 

UK-South Africa Newton Health Research UK-South Africa ADD Hub study 22 November 2022 HealthNewton FundSouth Africa
Good Development, Lessons Earned - Susie Kitchens and Paul MonksPlay

Susie Kitchens, Deputy Director of Global Research and Innovation at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Professor Paul Monks, BEIS Chief Scientific Advisor, talk about their lessons earned over the span of their careers and work at BEIS.

You can read Susie's lessons in full here - https://www.newton-gcrf.org/impact/da...

You can read Paul's lessons in full here - https://www.newton-gcrf.org/impact/le...

See the full campaign - https://bit.ly/lessonsearned

Boitumelo Nkatlo showcasing his innovation

Making contaminated mine water safe for local communities

South Africa is facing a water shortage crisis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) has warned that significantly less rain will fall across South Africa (particularly the south-western region) over the next century. Temperatures are on the rise due to climate change, which means...

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Newton Fund South Africa Evaluation

Contact the South Africa team

If you are interested in learning more about Newton Fund South Africa partnership, please get in touch with our local team.

Amelia Marutle

Country Manager

Katekani Chabalala

Newton Fund Officer


South Africa has one of the continent's biggest and most developed economies. Up until 1994 it was ruled by a white minority government, which enforced a separation of races with its policy called apartheid. The apartheid government eventually negotiated itself out of power after decades of international isolation, armed opposition and mass protests. The democratically elected leadership encouraged reconciliation and set about redressing social imbalances, but the economy has struggled. Progress towards poverty reduction has slowed in recent years, with the $1.90 per day poverty rate increasing from 16.8% to 18.8% between 2011 and 2015. [BBC and World Bank]

Main image: Fieldwork. Credit: M-Africa and i-sense

0 million (total population)
0 % GDP (research and development expenditure 2010-17)
0 % women in local government seats in 2018

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Newton Fund and GCRF are drawing to a close. The International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF) is a new UK Government fund supporting research and innovation on the major themes of our time: Planet, Health, Tech, Talent. To stay on the Newton-GCRF website click Continue, if you would like to find out more about ISPF click Read more.