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N°29 I quarterly I april 2013 CNRS Networks | Horizons 33 w European projects with South Africa, France ranks second, with CNRS participating in 13 of the FP7 projects. CNRS also has 11 structured programs in the country, including three International Research Networks (GDRI) on biodiversity, climate, and the environment. One of them, the “Atmospheric Research in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean,” involving the LSCE,1 is nearing completion. Targeting the effects of climate change, the project was carried out jointly with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), CNRS’s South African counterpart and its first partner organization in the country. CNRS is also a stakeholder in the International Centre for Education, Marine and Atmospheric Sciences over Africa (ICEMASA),2 a program launched in 1997 by the French Research Institute for Development (IRD). This joint venture between the two countries studies ocean-atmosphere exchanges and climate change scenarios in the Southern Ocean. Social and political changes, on the other hand, led to the creation in 1995 of the Johannesburgbased French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), involving CNRS and the French Research Ministry. Building on the region’s paleontological riches, the “All Homen” International Associated Laboratory (LIA)3 is the first project of its kind to focus on the evolution of fossil hominids during the Plio-Pleistocene (4.5 to 1 million years BC), at Bolt’s Farm (Cradle of Humankind). Launched in 2011, the four-year LIA incorporates five Paris-based CNRS researchers and seven from the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History in Pretoria. On the same site, a CNRS International Program for Scientific Cooperation (PICS) called INLOO (3D Information and eNgineering technologies for analysis of hOmo genus in SOuth Africa) brings together scientists from the LIRMM4 and the Institute for Human Evolution at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand. Initiated in 2011 for a period of three years, INLOO’s goal is to develop algorithms for the 3D evolutive analysis of fossil structures. A Nanotech Future Deeply rooted though it may be in the origins of humanity, South Africa has its eyes set firmly on the 21st century. Its commitment to developing novel technologies across a wide spectrum of disciplines bears witness to this strategy. So does its emphasis on nanotechnology, embodied by the creation in 2002 of the South African Nanotechnology Initiative, SANi. Aimed at promoting research and finding societal applications, it focuses on water, energy, health, chemical and bio-processing, mining and minerals, and advanced materials. CNRS contributes to this evolution through cooperation with the South- African National Research Foundation’s iThemba LABS for the study of nanostructured vanadium dioxide (VO2) coatings in photonics and optical applications. With their colleagues at iThemba, CNRS researchers are developing smart windows for solar heat modulation, or Au-VO2 ultrafast nanoplasmonics for use in optoelectronics and computation. Another team is studying platinumbased materials for applications in jewellery, electronics, and optics. These projects benefit from the annual budget of about $11 million (100 million rand) earmarked for nanotechnology research and SANi-related initiatives, which also include two national innovation nanocenters and five flagship projects covering areas such as carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles for medical and environmental purposes. In this field as in others, the country is pinning its hopes on its youth, with the National Nanoscience Postgraduate Training and Teaching Platform offering a Masters Degree in four of its main universities. In this context, the first Africa Chair in Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, geared towards solar energy and water-treatment applications, will be launched in May in Pretoria with the support of UNESCO, the University of South Africa, and iThemba LABS. Building on its commitment to cutting edge disciplines, the Rainbow Nation hopes to shape a bright scientific future for itself—and become a beacon for research in Africa and the world. 01. L aboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement (CNRS / CEA / UVSQ). 02. International Centre for Education, Marine and Atmospheric Sciences over Africa (IRD / CNRS / Université de Bretagne Occidentale). 03. Dynamique de l’évolution humaine: individus, populations, espèces (CNRS). 04. L aboratoire d’informatique, de robotique et de micro électronique de Montpellier (CNRS / Université Montpellier-II). Contact information: IRD and CNRS office, Pretoria. Yves Savidan > yves.savidan@ird.fr 03 04 © hr u & LIA n°1041 Homen/CNRS/DNMNH © B. Mor eno , soci été IMA Solutions 50.9 mi llion inh abitants (2012) 39,955 research ers (2008-09)1 $2.29 billion R&D budg et (2008-09)1 $480 mi llion allocated to the DST (2012)2 4th Non-European partner of the EU 's FP7 Pr ogr amm e3 33,671 public ations (2008)4 Source: 1. HS RC R&D Survey Report; 2. DST ; 3. CORDIS ; 4. Thomson-Reuters 03 Researchers from the All Homen LIA at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) study the evolution of fossil hominids during the Plio- Pleistocene era. 04 3D reconstruction of the archeological site where the remains of a 3 million year-old Australopithecus africanus were found. 01 Mauremys leprosa turtles are studied as part of a joint French- South African research program. 02 Downtown Pretoria. The film Spotlight on San Painting is available on the online version of the magazine. > www.cnrs.fr/ cnrsmagazine key fig ures


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