Making sure it is possible with science, technology and innovation at the new Department of Science and Innovation

Making sure it is possible with science, technology and innovation at the new Department of Science and Innovation

With its name changed from the Department of Science and Technology to the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), there is greater emphasis on the Department driving the innovation agenda.  The DSI is currently running a branding campaign in line with its expanded mandate and its role in leading enhanced productivity, economic growth and societal development through science, technology and innovation (STI).

The DSI brand delivers by responding to the needs of other government departments and stakeholders across all spheres by supporting the generation and application of knowledge and innovation to solve socio-economic challenges, and by providing a policy and funding environment that enables the national system of innovation.  As an enabler of government, society and industry through policy, the DSI focuses on "making sure it's possible" by providing STI-based solutions to people's problems in the present and investing in STI for the future.


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It is important to understand that solutions resulting from research and development take time.  Many of the successes of the Department and its entities have been long in the making. Over the past two decades, the DSI has made huge investments in research and innovation that have enabled the country to respond effectively to COVID-19.  These investments were made not only in the health care sector, but also in many other sectors as part of the DSI's efforts to improve the lives of all South Africans in an innovative and inclusive way.

It is widely accepted that science, technology and innovation are key to unlocking people's potential and creating improved social conditions, a competitive economy, and a workforce positioned to take the country into the future. In 2019, the DSI produced a new White Paper on STI for the country, which laid out a core policy for driving positive socio-economic outcomes through STI initiatives in fields including energy, healthcare, education, climate change, food security and manufacturing.

The DSI has a leadership role in this drive, acting as an enabler of innovations and scientific discoveries that will provide solutions to address a broad spectrum of societal needs today and in the future.  The DSI will draw on the work it has been doing over the past two decades to guide this endeavour.  This work has not only been crucial for empowering the best minds in the country today, but also yielded numerous innovations and interventions that are now helping to modernise mature industries, drive evidence-based decision-making toward economic recovery and reconstruction, and improve the well-being of our society.

In October, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Nzimande, announced that the DSI would be rolling out a brand campaign showcasing the Department's work in various fields, including its contribution to the national response to COVID-19, in an effort to ensure that society is aware of the value of science in solving societal challenges.

"This will include work to address other diseases, as well as the contribution of science, technology and innovation in helping the economy recover from the pandemic, under the banner "making sure it's possible" and the hashtags #itspossible and #backedbyscience," the Minister said.

"I hope that, through this campaign, there will be a better appreciation of the impact of science, technology and innovation on our society, and a greater understanding that science saves lives."

The Department leads this and other work through its entities, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the National Research Foundation, the Technology Innovation Agency, the South African National Space Agency, the Human Sciences Research Council, the National Advisory Council on Innovation, the Academy of Science of South Africa, and the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.


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