To enhance the growth and development priorities of government through targeted science and technology-based innovation interventions and the development of strategic partnerships with other government departments, industry, research institutions and communities. 

Strategic objectives

  1. To identify, grow and sustain niche high-potential science, technology and innovation capabilities:
    • To improve the competitiveness of existing industries with growth potential in aerospace, advanced manufacturing, chemicals, advanced metals, mining, ICTs and sector innovation funds.
    • To facilitate the development of research and development-led new targeted industries.
  2. To identify, grow and sustain niche high-potential science, technology and innovation capabilities for sustainable development and the greening of society and the economy.
  3. Through knowledge, evidence and learning, to inform and influence how science and technology can be used to achieve inclusive development.
  4. To enhance understanding and analysis that support improvements in the functioning and performance of the national system of innovation.
  5. To strengthen provincial and rural innovation and production systems through analysis and catalytic interventions.
  6. To introduce and manage interventions and incentive programmes that increase the level of private sector investment in scientific or technological research and development.


  1. Technology Localisation, Beneficiation and Advanced Manufacturing funds technology and innovation development programmes to advance strategic medium and long-term sustainable economic growth and sector development priorities, as well as government service delivery through the following value-adding functions:
    • Investing in the medium and long-term knowledge-generation capabilities of the NSI in targeted innovation areas.
    • In partnership with other government departments and economic actors, spearheading focused efforts that exploit knowledge capabilities for economic benefit. Economic benefit includes the development of advanced technologies and industries, improved government service delivery, improved productivity and competitiveness, and technology transfer and support to SMEs and manufacturing firms in the supply chains of large-scale public procurement programmes.
  2. Sector Innovation and Green Economy provides policy, strategy and direction-setting support for the R&D-led growth of strategic sectors of the economy and to enhance S&T capacity to support a transition to a green economy. The chief directorate does this through the following:
    • Facilitating the implementation of high-impact S&T interventions.
    • Identifying and initiating S&T programmes that support the growth of the environmental technologies and services sector in South Africa.
    • Facilitating policy and strategy development on R&D interventions that support the growth of the ICT sector (excluding the ICT retail sector).
    • Providing innovation policy and planning support to economic actors in priority economic sectors and provincial and local governments.
  3. Innovation for Inclusive Development supports the experimentation of S&T-based innovations for tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality through the creation of sustainable job and wealth opportunities, building sustainable human settlements, and enhancing the delivery of basic services. The component focuses on supporting the widespread adoption and use of promising S&T-based innovation by supporting the demonstration of promising innovative technologies that do not yet have widespread application, but are seen as having the potential to achieve government’s broad development objectives. In its interventions, the component prioritises the generation of practical knowledge and insights to support evidence-based policy and decision making, introducing decision-support tools to enhance service delivery, and building capacity in relevant state institutions and communities.
  4. Science and Technology Investment leads and supports the development of indicators and instruments for measuring and monitoring investments in S&T and the performance of the NSI, and ways of strengthening the NSI and innovation policy. This includes an annual R&D survey, innovation measurement, the development of S&T indicators, the development of databases and information systems such as the Research Information Management System and the national S&T expenditure tables, and the implementation of section 11D of the Income Tax Act, 1962, to promote private-sector R&D investment.


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