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Innovation Fund in the Pipeline

March 13, 2020

Department of Science and Innovation

The science and innovation department will work with national treasury this year on setting up an Innovation Fund.

In a statement, the department pointed out that the envisaged fund is designed to strengthen and support innovation in South Africa.

The statement focuses on comments made by the higher education, science and technology minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, during the recent annual Black Business Council Summit.

The plan is for the fund to contribute to increasing investment in research, development and innovation over the next decade.

The fund flows from the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation approved by cabinet last year.

The department holds the view that the White Paper sets down the long-term policy direction to boost economic development and inclusive growth.

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 minister also declared that the “provision of high-quality skills and innovation are inseparable partners in the development of a modern economy”.

He added that a decadal plan for science, technology and innovation to support the country’s economic growth and development objectives will be developed in 2020.

“This would build on important work that has been done in the bioeconomy, for instance, contributing to health and agriculture, and in renewable energy.”

The department also announced that the first steps towards the establishment of a new university of science and innovation, highlighted by president Ramaphosa during the 2020 State of the Nation Address, to be located in the industrial heartland of Ekurhuleni, will be revealed in the coming weeks.

“This university will support existing industries, help in the development of new industries, and bring our country to the forefront of cutting-edge technologies.”