Developing a New Generation of Researchers in SA and Japan
Both Dr. Phil Mjwara, Director General, Department of Science and Technology South Africa (DST) and Mr. Toshiyuki Nakamura, Resident representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (seated) agreed that developing the next generation of researchers both in Japan and South Africa was the key outcome of the bilateral cooperation on science and technology between the two countries.
The three-year technical cooperation project entitled “Prediction of Climate Variations and its Application in the Southern African Region” stems from a partnership between JICA and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) referred to as the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS). The Project focuses on the predictability of the Southern African climate on seasonal-to-interannual time scales to provide timely and skilful operational forecast outputs.
Representing the South African Government, DST agreed to allocate funding to the Applied Centre for Climate and Earth System Science (ACCESS) to enable South Africa to participate in the Project. ACCESS represents a consortium composed of the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Agricultural Research Council – Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC – ISCW), the University of Cape Town (UCT), and the University of Pretoria (UP). Japanese counterparts include the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the University of Tokyo. ACCESS combines efforts from all project stakeholders to deliver a range of outputs aligned to the Global Change Grand Challenge (GCGC) pioneered by DST. Collective efforts are directed at opportunities and challenges emanating from a varying and changing environment referred to as Earth Systems Science.
Some of the significant project outcomes include the design and adoption of a theme on climate dynamics and variability, with the establishment of a national task team to ensure quality of information engulfed in this theme, the establishment of the National Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum (NASCOF) hosted by SAWS, the production of several research publications during the project period, and various sharing-and-learning platforms across South Africa and even Japan. The Project fused the expertise of South African and Japanese scientists and researchers and has resulted in the consideration of potential projects in related areas.
Through the Project, various equipment and material such as high-performance computers and automatic weather stations were donated to project stakeholders. It is believed that this equipment and material would further contribute to project outcomes in future.