SANPAD funds high-quality research projects that are jointly realised by South African and Dutch researchers.

The programme has four specific objectives:

  • to encourage and fund high-quality research;
  • to produce research outputs that are useful for development;
  • to foster collaboration between Dutch and South African researchers and between institutions within South Africa;
  • to develop research capacity and a conducive research climate in South Africa with a particular focus on researchers from historically disadvantaged communities.



SANPAD entered its third phase in 2009. In this phase the following initiatives contribute to the general objectives of the programme:

  • Research projects focused on poverty reduction

The 40 projects funded in Phase 3 fall within one of the following themes:

  1. New approaches to Economic Development
  2. Social and Human Development
  3. Natural Resources and their Governance
  4. Politics, Governance, State and Society
  5. Identities, Cultures and Societies
  6. Science and Technology for Social Development


  • Pre-doctoral Research Capacity Initiative (RCI)

Each year an advanced RCI programme of 1 to 2 weeks duration is held for registered PhD candidates in South Africa. The programme is given by teams of South African and Dutch senior researchers.

  • Research Support Activities (RSA)

Various research support activities, including thematic conferences, are realised to promote equity and excellence in research and research capacity building. This advances the development of a knowledge society in South Africa and the selected SADC Member States (Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia).

  • International research output

Increased international research output is facilitated through collaboration with international partners.

  • Knowledge dissemination and utilisation

The dissemination of research outcomes to the various stakeholder groups (government, policy makers, civil society and the research community) and the utilisation of this knowledge in South Africa and the SADC Member States is strongly encouraged through various efforts.

  • Outreach activities

Regional cooperation in research and knowledge development is realised through a mutually beneficial research partnership and capacity building programme in selected SADC Member States within a multilateral cooperation between the Netherlands, South Africa and SADC.

A Guest Lecture programme and Staff and Student Exchange programmes encourage and facilitate academic and research partnerships as well as capacity building.

The Cooperating for Science Database provides an overview of all Dutch/South African partnerships in academic research. Partnerships between Dutch researchers and researchers from other SADC Member States (Zambia, Mozambique en Tanzania) are being added to the database.

Funding request

No more proposals can be submitted. The final call for proposals was issued in 2010.


The programme is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Royal Netherlands Embassy in South Africa, Pretoria. The budget for Phase 3 is approximately 12 million euros. Almost 10 million euros of this funding is used in South Africa.


The programme was set up in 1997 and runs until 2013.