Department of Science and Technology
27 August 2019
The 2019 White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) seeks to adopt a whole-of-government/society approach to innovation.
The science and technology department highlighted this during a recent briefing in parliament on the White Paper on STI.
Cabinet approved the White Paper in March 2019.
In a statement issued at the time, the science and technology department described the new White Paper, which identifies the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a key focus area, as placing STI at the centre of South Africa’s development agenda.
Following its decision, Cabinet declared that “science and innovation often heralds a different way of doing things and allows us to deal with the longstanding challenges in a decisive and cost effective manner”.
Cabinet added that the proposals in the White Paper “seek to address policy coherence, development of human capabilities, knowledge expansion, innovation, performance and increased investment”.
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 department is busy with a process to develop a decadal plan for STI that will serve as an implementation plan for the White Paper for the next ten years.
Other objectives of the White Paper highlighted by the department during the briefing include:
• Instilling a culture of valuing STI, and integrating STI into government planning and budgeting at the highest levels.
• Creating an enabling and inclusive governance environment.
• Creating a more innovation-enabling environment.
• Increasing and transforming NSI human capabilities.
• Expanding and transforming the research system.
• Expanding and transforming the institutional landscape.
• Increasing funding and funding efficiencies
Important innovation proposals contained in the White Paper include coordinating government’s efforts at enabling innovation by means of an Innovation Compact across government, building partnerships with the private sector and civil society, increasing the innovation footprint across provinces and local governments, using innovation to improve government decision making and service delivery and boosting grassroots innovation to benefit communities.
The department also pointed out that the creation of the new science and innovation department will “facilitate the implementation of the 2019 White Paper on STI, thereby helping to increase the positive impacts of STI on society, the economy and the environment”.