Department of Science and Innovation
1 August 2019
The science and innovation department will place an increasing emphasis on the concept of public sector innovation for societal benefit.
The department’s director-general, Dr Phil Mjwara, announced this at the annual National Advisory Council on Innovation symposium held in Pretoria at the end of last week.
In a statement, the department confirmed that the symposium was held under the theme “Policy coherence in a rapidly changing innovation landscape”.
The latest iteration of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Indicators Report was released at the symposium.
“The report provides an analysis of the state of STI in South Africa and includes indicators that are critical in the monitoring and evaluation of the national system of innovation and its contribution to achieving the country’s set national objectives.”
According to Dr Mjwara, the department was focused on working with other government departments to drive public sector innovation.
In terms of the STI report, scientific publications in South Africa increased by 7% per million inhabitants between 2008 and 2017.
South Africa also recorded the highest world share of scientific publications in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
However, aggregate levels of gross private sector investment in R&D has declined in recent years.
In terms of STI human capital development, South Africa lags behind other upper middle-income countries in the deployment, development and know-how of human capital.
“The percentage of South African researchers employed in the business sector declined from 47,2% in 2008 to 36,1% in 2016, with a concerning projected further decline reaching 29,3% by 2019.”
Another notable finding is that South Africa has lost its competitive advantage in terms of medium-technology exports as compared to the average of upper middle-income countries.
The full report can be viewed at: https://www.dst.gov.za/images/2019/SA_STI_Indicators_Report___2019_FINAL_REPORT.pdf