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Decadal Plan for White Paper on STI on Track

February 6, 2020

Department of Science and Innovation

The science and innovation department is in the process of finalising a decadal plan for the implementation of the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation.

The department revealed this in a statement on the work of the Data Science for Impact and Decision Enhancement (DSIDE) programme.

Cabinet approved the White Paper last year.

Some of the issues contained in the White Paper include raising the profile of STI in South Africa, strengthening partnerships between business, government, academia and civil society, growing the human resource base of the national system of innovation and boosting investment in STI.

The DSIDE programme, funded by the department and hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is an “investment in research and development aimed at enabling South Africa to take full advantage of all the potential economic benefits that this advanced technology can offer”.

According to the department, data science “employs techniques and theories drawn from many fields in the broad areas of mathematics, statistics and computer science, among others, extracting knowledge and insights from data in various forms”.

The DSIDE programme provides approximately 275 students with the opportunity to be mentored by experienced members of the data science community over a twelve-week period during their vacations.

Projects showcased include a data-science solution using biometrics to protect children against identity theft and human trafficking, data-science solutions for language translation, municipal debt management and pothole detection on the country’s roads.

The department’s Deputy Director: Information Communication Technology, Zamokwakhe Dlamini, pointed out that the CSIR currently has over 33 data science prototypes with potential for commercialisation.