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Schools competition

The aim of the competitions (for primary and high schools)is to inspire curiosity among South African learners in the MeerKAT and the bid to host the SKA, as well as to attract learners to careers in science, engineering and information technology. All learners in grades 4 to 11 are eligible to enter the competitions in which, by answering five easy questions,they could win themselves prizes like  laptops, printers, digital cameras and organised tours of their nearest astronomy observatory.

RAA Awareness Campaigns


RAA African VLBI Network

RAA Human Capital Dev

RAA High Perfomance Computing CoC




SKA Promotion




The Government of Finland and the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) view the investments in research, development and innovation capacity as critical to the successful building of a sustainable information society in South Africa both in a national and regional context.

In order to achieve the overall goal of a sustainable information society, the South African government has identified three strategic objectives:

    * human capital development;

    * technology research; and

    * innovation enhancement.

The South African Government, through the Department of Science and Technology, has actively engaged with the Government of Finland, through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.   While this engagement includes already a number of areas, such as the capacity building in the field of Innovation Policy or provincial information society strategies, the focus of the  South Africa – Finland Knowledge Partnership Programme is in the enhancement of immediate service delivery process. Read more


Strategic objectives:


Focus areas

1. ICT and education

2. Health Informatics

3. ICT applications for social innovation and improved access

4. Entrepreneurship in the second economy and rural sector


Newsletter archive


SAFIPA 2011 end of programme conference archive


The SAFIPA publication, A Practical Approach to ICT for Development. Perspectives from the SAFIPA Programme


The SAFIPA publication that was compiled at the conclusion of the SAFIPA programme.  The book was officially launched at the SAFIPA 2011 Conference on 19 October 2011.


The publication can be downloaded as a pdf below, and includes hyperlinks to websites and definitions which can be clicked on, and accessed, should you be connected to the internet.


This publication is a must-read, as it reflects on the programme in its entirety and highlights impact as a result of the project. The publication also provides a wonderful birds’ eye-view of the projects that have been supported over the past three years. Congratulations to the SAFIPA team for putting this publication together.


The publication consists of introductions by the Ministry of Finland, the Department of Science and Technology, the CSIR Meraka Institute and the SAFIPA Project Management Office team. There are eight chapters in the book that include The SAFIPA Programme; Innovating educational development through ICTs; Innovative approaches to health informatics; ICT applications for social innovation and improved access; Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial support for the second economy and rural sector; Skills development – a catalyst in creating an Information Society; Building an Information Society through networking and dissemination; and Taking SAFIPA forward – lessons learned and future opportunities.


Images from the SAFIPA project events, training and workshops can be accessed at

The National Research and Technology Foresight Project

The National Research and Technology Foresight project was one of a number of initiatives being undertaken by the Department of Science and Technology's predecessor, the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, as part of its mission to review and reform South Africa's science and technology system. Interest in foresighting in South Africa has received special emphasis in the July 1993 Mission Report on science and technology policy sponsored by the International Development Research Centre of Canada. The intention to carry out such an exercise was announced by the Ministry of Arts, Culture Science and Technology in mid 1994, shortly after the establishment of the new Ministry.

The aim of the Foresight project was to help identify those sector specific technologies and technology trends that will best improve the quality of life of all South Africans over the next 10-20 years. The project encompassed technologies that impact on social issues and wealth creation through product or process development. In particular it seeked to:

  • identify those technologies and latent market opportunities that are most likely to generate benefits for South Africa;
  • develop consensus on future priorities amongst the different stakeholders in selected sectors (industrial, socio-economic or service);
  • co-ordinate the research effort between different players within selected sectors;
  • reach agreement on those actions that are needed in different sectors to take full advantage existing and future technologies.

Equally as important as these outcomes, was the foresight process itself, which brought together government departments, industry, science councils, higher education, organised labour, professional organisations and other stakeholders, who previously related to each other in a highly fragmented way.

The following sector specific reports were generated during the foresight exercise:

R&D Reports

The National Survey of Research and Experimental Development (R&D) has become a regular feature of South Africa’s science and technology landscape.

The Survey is conducted annually by the Human Sciences Research Council’s Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

This site and the attached, downloadable documents, cover the methodology employed and the results for the five sectors covered in the two Surveys. The 2001/02 Survey constituted the first official survey since that of 1997/98.

Following the Frascati Manual, the survey covered business enterprises, government, higher education institutions, not-for-profit institutions and science councils.

Conceptual framework
Frascati Surveys have been carried out internationally for more than 40 years, but common understanding to what properly constitutes R&D remains somewhat problematic.
The Frascati Manual definition of R&D is as follows: "Research and Experimental Development (R&D) is creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock knowledge to devise new applications."
As much care as possible is taken to develop a common understanding with the respondents of what properly constitutes R&D.
The Frascati Manual is extensive and complex, and considerable effort was invested in developing a User Guide, and supporting the sector participants in completing the questionnaires as fully and accurately as possible The Frascati Manual, however, provides a set of guidelines, not prescriptions.
It is noted that the survey time series was both interrupted (no data in 1999/2000) and subject to methodological variation, since it was executed by different agencies between 1991 and 2001.
This Survey confronted the dual role of conducting the Survey in parallel with capacity building.

Measurement design
The work of the Surveys entails the development of appropriate sector sampling methodologies (covered in the Survey Management and Results System database). The sampling methodology and measurement design were reviewed and approved by the DST Reference Committee.
Breaking down of R&D performers into five sectors represents a deliberate choice. In many OECD countries it is common practice to combine some of the five sectors. It was decided to avoid confusion by surveying the sectors separately as has been previous practice in South Africa
More information on the various sampling frames for the five sectors and survey instruments can be obtained by downloading the 2001/02 Report.

Disclaimer: Survey data may be freely used, subject to the acknowledgment of its source. Any interpretation or further analysis is the responsibility of the third party.





IP & TT survey

South African National Survey of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Reports

South African National Survey of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, is a survey to track overall activity in Intellectual Property (IP) management and Technology Transfer (TT) at publicly funded research institutions in South Africa. The survey is an important addition to a portfolio of instruments that are used in assessing the performance of the South African National System of Innovation (NSI). The report highlights a descriptive stories about the socio-economic outcomes that were a result of the development and application of technologies. The survey was conducted in partnership between the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

This site and the attached, downloadable documents, cover the methodology employed and the results for the institutions covered in the surveys.

Conceptual/Legal framework
The Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act of 2008 (IPR Act) was introduced to incentivise actors in the research-to-innovation value chain to improve their approaches towards identifying and managing intellectual property (IP) for eventual commercial and social use, as well as their interface with the private sector and international partners on these aspects.

Measurement design
The survey helps to define, in practical terms, specific indicators that government and its stakeholders, including the broader community of technology transfer practitioners, can use to measure the capacity, outputs and targeted outcomes and ultimately impacts of publicly funded R&D. A selection of international benchmarks that are used in this report help us better understand the domestic context of Technology Transfer (TT) capabilities and how it is evolving. The survey has value for practitioners to benchmark their activities and outputs, for institutions to measure their progress in terms of added impact from their research endeavours, and for policy makers to calibrate the performance of their policy interventions.


Scientific and Technological Activities (STA) Survey

The survey on public funding for Scientific and Technological Activities (STAs) gives insight into the level and pattern of public investment in the science and technology sector as well as the trends in actual and budgeted expenditure over the medium term.

The survey is conducted annually by the Department of Science and Innovation as part of monitoring the performance of the National System of Innovation (NSI) and policy implications into science and technology as required in terms of the 2019 White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

STA: “comprise systematic activities which are closely concerned with the generation, advancement, dissemination and application of scientific and technical knowledge in all fields of science and technology.  These include such activities as scientific and technological innovation (STI) which includes research and development (R&D), scientific and technical education and training (STET), and scientific and technological services (STS).


 STA infographic

Business Innovation Survey

Innovation survey Reports

Innovation surveys ‘objective is to measure innovation output and various aspects of innovation activities performed by business enterprises. Innovation is widely recognized as being important to economic growth and progress, particularly as innovation by business enterprises is vital in ensuring their future accomplishment and competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global market. The South African Business Innovation Survey is undertaken by the Human Sciences Research Council’s Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation

This site and the attached, downloadable documents, cover the methodology employed and the results for the business sector covered in the surveys.

Conceptual framework
Oslo Manual (Proposed Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Technological and Industrial Innovation Data) was developed in 1992 for Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) countries and European Commission and it was revised until 2018.The South African Business Innovation Survey is based on the guidelines of the OECD Oslo Manual and more specifically the methodological recommendations for round five of the Community Innovation Survey for European Union (EU) countries as provided by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Commission. Using these guidelines enabled the production of indicators that were both relevant for South Africa and internationally comparable.

Measurement design
Innovation surveys reflects interesting and significant data for public policy and are designed to measure the extent of innovation in the business sector of a country and, among other measures, to estimate expenditure on various innovation activities. South Africa’s Business Innovation Survey examine the innovation activities in enterprises from small to very large, and across a range of industries. Business Innovation Survey provide a national picture about what innovations are taking place, how they occur at firm-level, and what can be done to enhance innovation capacity.


The Department of Science Technology (DST) is supporting a number of exciting projects that intend to use science and technology to reduce poverty through job creation, the development of small and medium enterprises, economic growth and improved quality of life.


For this reason, the Department’s Innovation for Poverty Alleviation Programme, which the Department launched on 17 September 2010, is supporting the following projects with nearly €30 million in untargeted budget support from the European Union over four years:

  • Aquaculture – establishment of abalone hatcheries
  • Beneficiation of waste streams from primary processing operations: development of BIOMIN as a soil ameliorant; and Chemcity.
  • Beneficiation of farmed produce into finished products – development of herbal products
  • Community Wireless Mesh Network
  • Demonstration agronomy – establishment of an African ginger nursery
  • Demonstration agronomy – indigenous leafy vegetables
  • Demonstration agronomy – new essential oil species
  • Demonstration agronomy – Damask rose (Rosa damascene)
  • Expansion of demonstration grow-outs to commercial scale in Pella, Onseepkans and KwaNobuhle.

Innovation for Poverty Alleviation Programme

The Innovation for Poverty Alleviation Programme is a partnership between the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the European Union’s (EU) Sector Budget Support Programme (SBS). (;sid=13271&tid=20046). The SBS supports the use of science and technology (S&T) and innovation to develop small and medium enterprises in rural areas to contribute to improved quality of life.  The focus of the Innovation for Poverty Alleviation Programme is on:

  • the creation of jobs through science, technology and innovation interventions
  • the establishment of sustainable livelihoods through small-scale science and technology-based agro-processing and aquaculture industries in line with that sector’s bioeconomy objectives
  • enhancing human settlements through appropriate technologies for such things as access to clean water, information and communication technologies and renewable energy
  • supporting small and medium enterprises with demonstration technology
  • improved access to online government services and science and technology knowledge through the application of information communication technologies
  • developing and improving global environmental science and responses
  • strengthening the science sector in South Africa.

The European Commission

The European Commission ( is the European Union's ( executive body. It proposes and enforces legislation and represents and upholds the interests of Europe as a whole.

Sector Budget Support

The European Commission defines budget support as the transfer of financial resources of an external financing agency to the national treasury of a partner country. These financial resources form part of the partner country’s global resources, and are consequently used in accordance with its public financial management system.  Sector budget support takes the form of a transfer to the national treasury in support of a sector programme. This kind of support seeks to accelerate progress towards the partner country’s sectoral goals.

The sector approach assists collaboration between government, development partners and essential stakeholders mainly with the aim of improving both government and national ownership of public sector policy and decisions about the allocation of resources. This means coherence between policy, spending and results. It also reduces transaction costs.

The first project to benefit from the SBS-funded Innovation for Poverty Alleviation Programme is the Community Wireless Mesh Network (WMN) project. This large-scale technology demonstrator project has progressed significantly since its inception. By the start of 2011, R40 million had been allocated to the WMN project.

Other SBS beneficiaries include agro-processing projects to the value of R38 million.  Select appropriately from the list below for more information concerning a particular project.

Presentations available from this website are provided in Portable Document Format (.PDF) only.  Should you wish an alternative format, please contact the webmaster in this regard using the feedback facility.

Department: Science & TechnologyThe DSI strives toward introducing measures that put science and technology to work to make an impact on growth and development in a sustainable manner in areas that matter to all the people of South Africa.

This includes focused interventions, networking and acting as a catalyst for site2016 in terms of both productive components of our economy, making it competitive in a globally competitive liberalised environment, and also in respect of the huge development backlog existing among the poorest components of our society. The goal of realising this vision is underpinned by development and resourcing strategies for the formation of science, engineering and technology, human capital, democratisation of state and society, promotion of an information society and ensuring environmental sustainability in development programmes. Read more on the DSI's Vision, Mission and Corporate Values

How does the DSI facilitate the flow of scientific knowledge into South Africa? How does the DSI deal with new frontiers in science and technology, such as biotechnology? Read the answers to these questions in the DSI's programmes section. You can also familiarise yourself with the DSI's structures by using our interactive organogram.


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