What does the Department of Science and Technology (DST) do?
Scientific discoveries and the associated development of new technologies are key long-term drivers of economic growth and development. Innovation, technology mastery and the diffusion of knowledge and new products and services into markets are key elements in this growth and result in sustainable improvements in the quality of life of all South Africans.
The White Paper on Science and Technology (1996) created the policy framework for the then Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (DACST) to establish key enabling policies and strategies to inform the strategic development of science and technology in South Africa.
In 2002 Cabinet approved the National Research and Development Strategy as the basis for the National System of Innovation (NSI). The National R&D Strategy requires performance and responses in three key areas: 1) enhanced innovation; 2) providing science, engineering and technology (SET) human resources and transformation; and, 3) creating an effective government S&T system.
It is in this context that the DST has been established as a separate department to ensure that there is greater coordination, integration as well as better management of all government funded science and technology institutions and to provide a holistic overview of public expenditure on science and technology.
Does the DST offer bursaries?
No, however, the National Research Foundation (NRF), which is one of DST's key science councils, is offering bursaries, through the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP). For more information please visit:
Where can I get funding for my research project and/or invention?
While the DST does not offer this type of funding directly to applicants, there are a number of funding mechanisms available to research and inventions. For more information please see the following contact details of a number of fund managers. For more information please visit:
What are some of the careers available for me to pursue in science and technology related fields?
The Science and Youth Programme offers more information to youth in particular about science related issues and careers. More information on science careers is also available on:
1. What is the National Youth Service?
The NYS is a government initiative that aims to develop South Africa's young people by engaging them in public service. The programme places volunteers between 18 and 35 in areas of need for no more than two years, allowing them to acquire skills and experience while making a contribution to society.
The government sees the NYS as a tool to strengthen service delivery, promote nation-building, foster social cohesion and provide young people with the skills they need to participate in economic activities. For more information go to
2. How does the DST contribute to the NYS?
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has designed an NYS programme to support the implementation of its Youth into Science Strategy. This strategy is aimed at identifying young people with talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and nurturing this talent. Go to www.dst.gov.za/publications-policies/strategies-reports for more information on the Youth into Science Strategy.
The implementing agency for the DST's NYS programme is the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF). It places unemployed science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates who volunteer their services at various institutions (mostly science centres and expos, but also institutions like the South African Mathematics Foundation), for a maximum of two years.
3. How is the NYS different from learnerships and internship?
Like learnerships and internships, the NYS offers young people the chance of structured learning and personal development, preparing them for opportunities to further their studies, obtain formal employment or venture into self-employment.
However, it is different from learnships and internships because it emphasises community service and civic duty, with volunteers rendering service to communities for a small stipend rather than a salary.
4. Who benefits from the DST NYS programme?
5. Are there any other institutions involved in the programme?
The programme is a collaboration between the DST and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund. The following institutions host volunteers:
6. What do I need to qualify for placement?
To qualify for consideration in the programme you need to be unemployed and have a national diploma or a degree (from a BSc to a PhD) in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
7. Will I be remunerated while I am working for the NYS?
No, but you will get a small monthly stipend to cover your expenses.
8. Can I volunteer if I'm still a student?
At the moment the DST NYS is open only to unemployed graduates, because volunteers are expected to be on duty during normal working hours. However, the programme may be opened to students at a later stage if institutions are able to host them, as participating in the NYS would give students workplace skills and experience that would help them to be employed immediately after graduation.
9. Can I be hosted in provinces other than my province?
Applicants are requested to indicate the provinces of their choice when they apply.
10. Where can I apply?
If you are interested in volunteering you can respond to the calls for volunteers published in the newspapers from time to time, or send your CV to be kept on the NSTF database for future consideration. Send it to –
The National Science and Technology Forum
PO Box 9823
Fax: +27 12 841 3025
Email:For more information, please contact : Ms Mokgadi Madiga Deputy Director : Science Promotion +27 12 843 6866 or fax: +27 86 681 0061. or eMail:
Does the DST offer funding to emerging SMMEs?
Support to SMME's is channeled through the Technology Stations Programme, which is funded by the DST, and is aimed at assisting emerging SMMEs through product Research and Development. There are seven technology stations in South Africa including: Peninsula, Vaal triangle, Port Elizabeth, North West, Free State, Mangosuthu, and Pretoria. For more information:
What is the Tshumisano Programme?
Tshumisano is a Venda word meaning co-operation or partnership. The Tshumisano programme is an initiative of the DST, which fosters Technology Stations to provide access to the expertise of Technikons.
The DST has identified technological innovation and related skills upgrading as being of vital importance to the competitiveness of South African SMMEs. South Africa's Technikons possess considerable potential and can play a critical role in stimulating innovation and improving competitiveness.
In line with this, the Technology Stations Programme (TSP) was developed by the DST to strengthen and accelerate the interaction between Technikons and these enterprises. Technology Stations plays a major role in identifying the specific needs in selected sectors and provide adequate technology solutions based on the Technikons' expertise.
Does the DST interact with schools?
There are a number of DST projects and activities which involve schools. Chief among these is the annual National Science Week. During National Science Week learners, teachers and parents can get more information on science and technology through interactive programmes, science shows and career exhibitions held at major centres and science centres throughout the country.For more information, please contact:
Director: Science Promotion
Tel : +2712 843 6879
Where can I get information brochures relating to science and technology issues?
Contact Ms Zama Mthethwa
+27 12 843 6781