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STI Decadal Plan Under the Spotlight

February 4, 2022

Department of Science and Innovation

The science and innovation department plans to deepen the work of integrating Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) into long-term government planning and budgeting.

The department highlighted this during a briefing to the portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology on progress with the STI Decadal Plan 2021-2031.

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

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

Cabinet approved the White Paper in 2019.

During the briefing, the department pointed out that a major milestone was reached when national treasury agreed to the principle of STI budget coordination to ensure that public funding for STI is distributed on the basis of expert analysis across departmental boundaries.

The department also indicated that work is underway with its entities to discuss and plan the implementation of the Decadal Plan priorities and align Annual Performance Plans to the Decadal Plan.

The department emphasized that a high-level well-attended workshop was held with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to discuss its alignment to the Decadal Plan.

The CSIR’s commitment to such a shift was reflected in subsequent planning documents.

The department also informed the committee that the draft framework for the Innovation Compact has been developed.

According to the department, the inaugural meeting of the Science and Innovation Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) took place on 25 November 2021.

The IMC highlighted, inter alia, the need to sharpen focus on supporting the commercialisation of South Africa’s Intellectual Property to support industrialization; developing local capabilities and drawing up a skills development and training Master Plan.

Next steps to be undertaken by the IMC include updating the terms of reference; putting in place the Technical Committee and work programme; finalizing the Innovation Compact and confirming priority projects with government partners; initiating work on the STI Presidential Plenary and holding follow-up meetings with industry, social partners and NEDLAC to ensure their continued commitment to the priorities and discussing potential contributions from them.