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STI Decadal Plan Under the Spotlight

June 10, 2022

Department of Science and Innovation

The Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Decadal Plan is designed to support institutions and develop research capacity and high-end skills.

The science and innovation department highlighted this in a briefing in parliament on the Plan, resources for STI and coordination of the public STI budget.

Cabinet approved the Plan in March 2021 for implementation.

In a statement, cabinet pointed out that the 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.

In the briefing, the department also pointed out that the 2019 White Paper signaled a shift of focus from building the National System of Innovation (NSI) to deriving maximum impact from the NSI to help address SA’s challenges, while continuing to invest in building the NSI.

The department added that the social sciences will be “mainstreamed in all of the programmes and projects – to address the complexity of the challenges facing SA and the world”.

The Plan will also have a deliberate focus on just transitions such as in health, education and energy.

For example, the move to renewable energy must also take into account the energy needs of poor rural households and not only the needs of industry and middle-class consumers.

As regards the STI budget coordination process, the department described it as a mechanism to improve allocation of funds for STI.

The funds cut across all spheres of government to assist departments to implement their STI programmes and to improve the productivity and competitiveness of key sectors of the South African economy and to contributing to higher GDP growth rates overall.

“National funding to be used for RDI plans to support societal grand challenges, Provincial department funding to be used for supporting growth and development strategies, local department funding to be used for supporting innovation for local economic development priority.”