The Programme is geared towards supporting the high-level policy prioritisation of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through the following:

  • Coordinating the development of strategic plans, annual performance plans and operational plans for the Department. 
  • Supporting the Department in ensuring good corporate governance in public entities by facilitating public entity board appointments and maintenance.
  • Coordinating departmental engagements with the public entities through the Communicators', Chairpersons', Chief Executive Officers' and Chief Financial Officers' Forums.
  • Developing and implementing a monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the performance of the Department and its public entities.
  • Coordinating in-year reporting and annual performance reviews for the Department and its public entities.
  • Developing and implementing frameworks for institutional reviews of public entities.
  • Ensuring effective communication between the Department and its key stakeholders, and creating awareness of the Department's key objectives and activities.


Strategic objectives

  • To coordinate the identification, formulation and implementation of strategic initiatives and ensure that the priorities of the DST and its entities are aligned to national priorities.
  • To develop and maintain good corporate governance systems for the Department and its entities.
  • To proactively position the Department positively both internally and externally to ensure informed employees and citizenry.



1. The Ministry and Office of the Director-General support the political and executive leadership in order to lead and coordinate the activities within the Department and its entities.  This is to achieve greater impact, cohesion and efficiency within the National System of Innovation (NSI), and to steer the system towards the development of a knowledge-intensive economy with higher productivity levels, coordinating the implementation of the National Research and Development Strategy (NRDS) and the Ten-Year Innovation Plan (TYIP) in line with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

2. Enterprise Risk Management ensures that a risk management culture is embedded in the Department by creating risk management awareness, and elevating risk management to a strategic level within the Department in order to improve the DST's risk maturity level.  The directorate's secondary roles are to make fraud prevention an integral part of strategy, operations and administration in the Department, and to ensure that the Department has an effective business continuity management programme to build organisational resilience and safeguard the interests of stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.

3. Policy, Planning, Governance, Monitoring and Evaluation supports the DST leadership in steering the NSI, through the following:

  • Coordinating high-level policy priority setting on behalf of the executive    leadership.
  • Coordinating the translation of policy priorities determined by the executive leadership into actionable plans with clear objectives, action plans, performance measurements, resource commitments and performance indicators.
  • Facilitating good corporate governance within the Department and its entities
  • Ensuring that monitoring and evaluation activities undertaken in the NSI answer policy questions of economy, effectiveness and efficiency, as well as reinforcingaccountability, transparency and innovation.
  • Coordinate the integration and implementation of the NRDS and TYIP to ensure that the Department delivers on its strategic objectives

4. Internal Audit Activity (IAA) performs internal appraisal activities to provide assurance on the Department's governance, risk management, and control processes to help the Department achieve its strategic, operational, financial and compliance objectives.  Internal auditing is also a catalyst for improving the Department's effectiveness and efficiency by providing insight and recommendations based on analyses and assessment of data and business processes.  The IAA supports the executive and political leadership in developing and maintaining processes, procedures and systems that enhance good corporate governance, strong internal controls and risk management, through the implementation of a flexible risk-based audit plan.

5. Science Communication is responsible for ensuring effective communication between the Department and its key stakeholders, and creating awareness of the Department's key objectives and activities.  The chief directorate raises the profile of the work done by the Programmes in line with the vision and mission of the Department.  It facilitates the preparation of information that the Minister and the Deputy Minister communicate externally. Its overall focus is to brand the Department and create awareness about the developments, benefits and opportunities within publicly funded science and technology initiatives across the country's science system.  In addition, this chief directorate ensures that information to the public is accessible.




The Programme enhances the growth and development priorities of government through targeted S&T-based interventions and the development of strategic innovation partnerships with other government departments, industry, research institutions and communities. Interventions include high-potential R&D-led industrial development programmes, technology support programmes for industry, introducing new approaches to government service delivery and planning, strengthening science-based policy development and decision-making, demonstrating technology-led opportunities for creating sustainable jobs and wealth creation, and strengthening the contribution of technology to sustainable human settlements.

Strategic objectives

  • To identify, grow and sustain niche high-potential STI capabilities for sustainable development and the greening of society and the economy.
  • To identify, grow and sustain niche high-potential STI capabilities that improve the competitiveness of existing and emerging economic sectors and that facilitate the development of new targeted industries with growth potential in aerospace, advanced manufacturing, chemicals, mining, advanced metals, and information and communication technologies (ICT).
  • To enhance understanding and analysis that support improvements in the functioning and performance of the NSI.
  • To strengthen provincial and rural innovation and production systems through analysis and catalytic interventions.
  • To introduce and manage interventions and incentive programmes that increase the level of private sector investment in RDI.
  • To develop and maintain systems for the effective deployment of public funding for S&T and research for social and economic benefits.


1. Technology Localisation, Beneficiation and Advanced Manufacturing  advances 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 medium to long-term knowledge-generation capabilities in 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 benefits include the development of advanced industries, improved government service delivery, improved productivity and competitiveness, and technology transfer and support to small and medium  enterprises, as well as manufacturing firms in the supply chains of large-scale public infrastructure development programmes.

2. Sector Innovation and Green Economy provides policy, strategy and direction-setting support for R&D-led growth in strategic sectors of the economy, and enhances S&T capacity to support a transition to a green economy 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 inpriority economic sectors and provincial and local governments.    

3. Innovation for Inclusive Development supports experimentation on technology and science-based innovations for tackling poverty, including the creation of sustainable job and wealth opportunities, building sustainable human settlements, and enhancing the delivery of basic services. It focuses on mature technologies that do not yet have widespread application, but are seen as having the potential to achieve government's broad development objectives. The focus is on supporting the widespread adoption and use of promising technology and science-based innovation by supporting the generation of practical knowledge and insights, producing suitable policy evidence, introducing decision-support tools, and the building of capacity.

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, as well as 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 national S&T expenditure tables, and the implementation of section 11D of the Income Tax Act, 1962, to promote private-sector R&D investment.








The Programme aims to strategically develop, promote and manage international relationships, opportunities and S&T agreements that strengthen the national system of innovation (NSI) and enable an exsite2016 of knowledge, capacity and resources between South Africa and its regional and international partners. The Programme also supports South African foreign policy through science diplomacy.


Strategic objectives

  • To secure science, technology and innovation (STI) funds to stimulate knowledge production, technology transfer, enhanced innovation and STI human capital development in pursuit of STI-based socio-economic development in South Africa.
  • To increase international exposure to regional, continental and global knowledge and STI networks that will result in knowledge production, technology transfer and enhanced innovation in support of the NSI.
  • To contribute towards the shaping of the regional, continental and global STI discourse, decision making and policy formulation using science diplomacy to ensure that the interests of South Africa are represented.
  • To support STI capacity in Africa to create conditions for the development of a knowledge-based economy in Africa.
  • To increase participation by South Africans in international human capital development opportunities to strengthen the South African NSI.



1. International Resources works to increase the flow of international resources into the country by creating conditions for access to international STI skills and global projects.

2. Multilateral Cooperation and Africa advances and facilitates South Africa's participation in strategic African bilateral agreements and multilateral organisations, so as to strengthen the NSI and to achieve shared economic and social development in the region and on the continent.

3. Overseas Bilateral Cooperation promotes and facilitates collaborative activities and leverages resources in support of the NSI from countries outside Africa, with a specific focus on developing a knowledge-driven economy.



The Programme aims to provide an enabling environment for research and knowledge production that promotes strategic development of basic sciences and priority science areas, through science promotion, human capital development, the provision of research infrastructure and relevant research support, in pursuit of South Africa's transition to a knowledge economy.


Strategic objectives

  • To contribute to the development of representative, high-level human capital able to pursue locally relevant and globally competitive research and innovation activities.
  • To ensure availability of and access to internationally comparable research and innovation infrastructure in order to generate new knowledge and train new researchers.
  • To support and promote research that develops basic sciences through the production of new knowledge and relevant training opportunities.
  • To strategically develop priority science areas in which South Africa enjoys a competitive advantage, by promoting internationally competitive research and training activities and outputs.
  • To promote public engagement in STI.



1. Human Capital and Science Promotion formulates and implements policies and strategies that address the availability of human capital for STI, and that provide fundamental support for research activities. The chief directorate provides strategic direction and support to institutions mandated with human capital development and increased knowledge production, as well as interfacing with relevant stakeholders in this regard. In addition, the chief directorate is responsible for science awareness and promotion, including activities targeting the youth.

2. Basic Sciences and Infrastructure facilitates the strategic implementation of research and innovation equipment and infrastructure to promote knowledge production in areas of national priority and to sustain R&D-led innovation. The chief directorate also promotes the development and strengthening of basic or foundational sciences, such as physics, chemistry, biological and life sciences, geographic and geological sciences, and human and social sciences.

3. Science Missions promotes the development of research, the production of scientific knowledge, and human capital development in science areas in which South Africa enjoys a geographic advantage. These areas include the dynamics of climate site2016 and its impact on Earth systems, Antarctic and marine research, palaeosciences, and indigenous knowledge systems.

4. Astronomy supports the development of astronomical sciences around a multi-wavelength research strategy, and provides strategic guidance and support to relevant astronomy institutions in the implementation of DST astronomy programmes. Of particular relevance are the Southern African Large Telescope, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network and the MeerKAT and Square Kilometre Array projects.



The Programme aims to enable research and development (R&D) in strategic and emerging focus areas (space science, energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, photonics, indigenous knowledge systems, intellectual property management, technology transfer and technology commercialisation) in order to promote the realisation of commercial products, processes and services from R&D outputs through the implementation of enabling policy instruments.


Strategic objectives

  • To lead, inform and influence policy development in areas of strategic science and technology (S&T) innovation focus.
  • To oversee, monitor and regulate key policy instruments, including institutional arrangements and support interventions in strategic and emerging areas.
  • To coordinate and support research and high-end skills development in strategic and emerging areas.
  • To support, promote and advocate for the development and translation of scientific R&D outputs into commercial products, processes and services that will contribute to economic growth and a better quality of life.



1. Bio-innovation focuses on supporting and strengthening bioeconomy-related R&D in the country. It drives innovation across the value chain, finding applications in, among other areas, the creation of new and improved therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics (including animal drugs and vaccines, new pest-resistant crops, pesticides, and a more efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing industry. Its work includes support for indigenous knowledge-based research, development and innovation (RDI) activities.

2. Hydrogen and Energy provides policy leadership in RDI initiatives in the energy sector that are of a cross-cutting nature and have long-term impacts. It plays a key role in developing a sustainable and globally competitive South African energy knowledge base and industry, especially in relation to the emerging global hydrogen economy, by informing and co-shaping the national energy policy in coordination with the Department of Energy and other key stakeholders.

3. Space Science and Technology focuses on creating an environment conducive to the implementation of the National Space Strategy and the South African Earth Observation Strategy under the overarching guidelines of the National Space Policy, an instrument of the Department of Trade and Industry.

4. Innovation Priorities and Instruments supports and strengthens the innovation policy package (and related programmatic interventions) with the aim of creating and sustaining an enabling environment for innovation, technology development, and the commercialisation of publicly funded R&D. Within this context, the Emerging Research Areas Directorate focuses specifically on the development of nanotechnology, photonics, synthetic biology and robotics through the roll-out of approved strategies and implementation plans.

5. The National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) is a specialised service delivery unit of the Department. It aims to ensure that recipients of funding from government funding agencies assess, record and report on the benefit to society of intellectual property emanating from publicly financed R&D. Recipients must identify commercialisation opportunities for intellectual property emanating from publicly financed R&D in order to protect it from appropriation and ensure that it is available to the people of South Africa.



Switchboard: +27 12 843 6300
DST Building (Building No. 53)
(CSIR South Gate Entrance)  
Meiring Naudé Road,
Private Bag X894
South Africa

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