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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

Promoting STEM skills and economic development through radio astronomy

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is the world’s largest radio telescope. It is hosted by South Africa in collaboration with eight African partners and Australia. The Development for Africa through Radio Astronomy (DARA) project is using SKA as a catalyst to promote STEM education and economic...

Local funding partners

Each Newton Fund partnership is unique. UK and international partners work together to devise and deliver Newton Fund programmes.


Funding opportunities

Information about our schemes, funding guidance, what's on offer and our partner matching service.

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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

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Funding opportunities

Information about our schemes, funding guidance, what's on offer and our partner matching service.

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