Following the political changes in the early 1990s, senior physicists in South Africa saw the advantages of collaborating with CERN, particularly for the training of young scientists. In 1992, CERN signed a Co-operation Agreement with the Foundation for Research Development (FRD) concerning the further development of scientific and technical cooperation in the research projects of CERN.
CERN has hosted doctoral students, summer students and high-school teachers from South Africa. Previous participation in fixed-target experiments and ISOLDE has evolved to include membership in ALICE and ATLAS.
The South African ALICE team is led by people trained at CERN, contributing successfully to software and simulation work on the ALICE dimuon spectrometer, and is deploying Grid technology in South Africa. The current Director of the National Acceleration Centre (iThemba) was formerly a student at CERN and now works on ALICE. The South African particle-physics community has recently secured from the government a significant increase in funding. A joint team from the Universities of Johannesburg and Witwatersrand joined ATLAS in July 2010.