SA, Korea in biotech partnership

13 November 2006

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has partnered with Korean state institution KRIBB to form the South Africa-Korea Biotechnology Research Centre, to be based at the CSIR in Pretoria.

The centre will promote collaborative research projects and training within a joint biotechnology research centre.

CSIR CEO Sibusiso Sibisi and KRIBB president Sang ki Rhee signed a memorandum of understanding in Pretoria on 3 November, establishing the partnership for an initial five-year period.

According to the CSIR, the Korean organisation will provide the starting capital needed to establish a joint biotechnology research laboratory and facilities, while the CSIR will provide basic infrastructure, laboratory space and the necessary facilities.

“The collaboration will in due course receive public and private funding,” the CSIR said in a statement.

CSIR biosciences executive director Gatsha Mazithulela said the partnership reflected the strength of the CSIR’s biosciences research. “The challenge is maintain and grow our capabilities to keep up with the fast-changing biotechnology environment,” Mazithulela said.

Also speaking at the signing ceremony, Rhee said he was confident that the agreement would enhance the development and prosperity of South Africa and Korea.

“As KRIBB, we will also do our best to facilitate this cooperation so that researchers will be encouraged to achieve excellency in research and lead advancement in the biotechnology field,” Rhee said.

KRIBB’s key areas of research and development are bio-pharmaceuticals, bio-nanotechnology, bio-materials and bio-informatics.

SouthAfrica.info reporter

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