The National Research and Development Strategy identifies the need to create 'centres and networks of excellence' in science and technology, including in the social sciences, as a key component of the human capital and transformation dimensions of government policy. It is envisaged that such centres will stimulate sustained distinction in research while simultaneously generating highly qualified human resource capacity in order to impact meaningfully on key national and global areas of knowledge.

The seven centres that passed the stringent test are:

  • The Centre of Excellence in Biomedical TB Research
  • The Centre of Excellence in Invasion Biology
  • The Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials
  • The Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute
  • The Centre of Excellence in Catalysis
  • The Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology at FABI
  • The Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis

While recognising that the Department of Science and Technology may from time to time create additional centres of excellence, in order to meet its own specific strategic objectives, the National Research Foundation is the main implementer of this strategic initiative.