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Decadal Plan for STI Under the Spotlight

May 21, 2021

Department of Science and Innovation

The Decadal Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is a roadmap for driving STI policy and programmes over the next ten years with specific areas of focus and development.

The science and innovation minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, declared this during the science and innovation department’s 2021/22 Budget Vote Speech in parliament.

Cabinet approved the Decadal Plan in March 2021 for implementation.

In a statement, cabinet pointed out that the Decadal Plan will serve as a government master plan incorporating other departments such as the departments of agriculture, land reform and rural development; mineral resources and energy; health and trade, industry and competition.

The Plan serves as an implementation plan for the 2019 White Paper on STI.

Cabinet approved the White Paper in 2019.

Other developments highlighted by the minister include:

• historically disadvantaged universities and individuals to receive targeted development support and funding in order to ensure a transformed, inclusive, responsive and coherent National System of Innovation;
• new postgraduate funding policy that provides for full-cost support for financially disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and exceptional academic achievers to be implemented;
• DSI to invest R25 million more to ensure the completion of the sequencing of 10 000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes in South Africa and Africa;
• R69,4 million invested in COVID-19 research and innovation covering 21 projects including the first plant-based manufacturing of antibodies for COVID-19 study that seeks to utilise various plant-based expression platforms to facilitate the rapid development of vaccine candidates, therapeutic antibodies and diagnostic reagents against SARS-CoV-2;
• Council for Scientific and Industrial Research entered into an agreement with Kentucky Biological Products on the potential manufacturing of the antigen of their vaccine;
• DSI to continue participating in the development of a number of sectoral master plans that will be implemented over the strategic planning period, including agriculture, the oceans economy, energy, mining and health;
• DSI to implement common flagship programmes in support of priority economic sectors as reflected in the reimagined/revitalised national industrial strategy in partnership with other national, provincial and local government departments;
• Indigenous-Knowledge-Based Bioinnovation Institute Framework to be finalised -aims to ensure the alignment of various players in the innovation system in order to create a seamless process, from concept generation and applied research to product development and commercialization; and
• DSI to continue managing a portfolio of projects with potential for creating new industries or rejuvenating existing industries – current projects include mining extraction research, development and innovation programme, the bioeconomy, hydrogen fuel cells, and the fourth phase of the Fluorochemicals Expansion Initiative.