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									             PROMOTING SOUTH AFRICAN S&T
            CAPACITIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

                          FROM POLICY TO REALITY




                             A SYNTHESIS REPORT




                                Pretoria, 25 February 2003




Promoting South African S&T Capacities        1          Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                          25 February 2003
                                         CONTENTS



Part I                Introduction                                                               3
                      ASSAf’s involvement in the project


Part II               ASSAf’s position on promoting South                                        4
                      African S&T capacities for the 21st century


                      1.0     An overview                                                        4

                      2.0     Building the next generation S&T                                   6
                              workforce

                      3.0     Mobilising research-based innovation for                           8
                              competitiveness

                      4.0     Introducing effective governance and                               9
                              management systems to optimize South
                              Africa‟s S&T capacities


Part III              Summary of key challenges and solutions                                  11
                      offered at the consultative forum


                      1.0     Building the next generation S&T                                 11
                              workforce

                      2.0     Mobilising research-based innovation for                         16
                              competitiveness

                      3.0     Proposing governance and management                              19
                              systems to optimize South Africa‟s S&T
                              capacities




Promoting South African S&T Capacities           2               Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                  25 February 2003
I.       INTRODUCTION: ASSAF’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROJECT

In April 2001, the international InterAcademy Council invited member academies to take
part in a global advisory project, “Promoting Worldwide Science and Technology
Capacities for the 21st Century”. In response, the Academy of Science of South Africa
(ASSAf) set up a „think tank‟ in August 2001, to probe locally in South Africa the issues
that were to be examined internationally by the participating science academies.
     South Africa, as a developing country but with first-world elements on a par with
industrialized nations, is a microcosm of the global science and technology (S&T)
situation in which, according to the IAC Prospectus, “90% of the world‟s population lives
in nations that contain only 5 percent of the scientists”. South Africa‟s equally skewed
distribution, therefore, offered useful case study material for the IAC Project as a whole.
(Two reports, summarizing ASSAf‟s contribution and dated 28 January 2002 and 20
January 2003, have been presented to the IAC.)
    The Academy of Science of South Africa therefore decided to launch a project,
“Promoting South African S&T capacities for the 21st century”. The aim was to address
the South African situation, and also to contribute to the international study. To this end,
the ASSAf project committee undertook a number of activities that included:

        conducting interviews with leaders in business, government, and higher
         education, and circulating a questionnaire to Academy members, as an initial
         opinion-gathering exercise to gauge perceptions of the success with which S&T
         policy in South Africa has translated into reality at the operational level;
        commissioning a summary of the available data and statistics on South Africa‟s
         S&T capacity, entitled “Promoting South African S&T Capacities for the 21st
         Century: From policy to reality – Background document for a consultative forum
         organized by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)”1;
        hosting a consultative forum, in September 2002, whose aim was to assess the
         available information and make appropriate recommendations. The 41
         participants represented the points of view of South African business and
         industry, government, the science councils, and higher education. Details of the
         forum‟s discussion are recorded in “Promoting South African S&T Capacities:
         From policy to reality. Proceedings of a Consultative Forum organized by the
         Academy of Science of South Africa.”2
    Part II of this Synthesis Report contains the position of ASSAf with regard to
promoting South Africa‟s S&T capacities for the 21st century, in the light of the project‟s
progress to date. Part III summarises the main analyses and suggestions emanating
from the consultative forum. (For details of material on which this Synthesis Report is
based, please refer to the Background Document and the Proceedings of the Forum.)


1
  Academy of Science of South Africa (2002). Promoting South African S&T Capacities for the 21 st
Century. Background document for a consultative forum organized by the Academy of Science of South
Africa (ASSAf): Pretoria 13-14 September 2002. Document compiled by J. Mouton, N. Boshoff, and T.
Bailey of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CENIS), University of Stellenbosch.
2
  Academy of Science of South Africa (2003). Promoting South African S&T Capacities for the 21 st
Century: From Policy to reality. Proceedings of a Consultative Forum organized by the Academy of
Science of South Africa: 13-14 September 2002.
Promoting South African S&T Capacities               3                Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                       25 February 2003
II.      ASSAf’s POSITION ON PROMOTING SOUTH AFRICAN S&T
         CAPACITIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY



1.0      An overview


Based on a series of interviews and a questionnaire, a background document with
relevant statistics, and discussions at a consultative forum with participants from
business, government, and higher education, ASSAf takes the following position on the
question of promoting South African science and technology (S&T) capacities for the 21st
century.

1.1    The Academy applauds the major improvements for the country‟s S&T that have
been introduced by the South African government since 1994. These include:
o     the establishment of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology
      (DACST), and, subsequently the Department of Science and Technology (DST),
      responsible for the country‟s S&T
o     the adoption of a National System of Innovation framework as national policy, with
      the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) acting as advisor to the Minister,
      the National Science and Technology Forum as an independent S&T stakeholder
      body, and the single National Research Foundation supporting research across the
      academic disciplines
o     major initiatives from various government sources affecting S&T, including:
       Government of South Africa, South Africa’s National Research and Development
          Strategy (2002)
       DACST: The Green and White Papers on Science and Technology, Preparing
          for the 21st Century (1996); the National Research and Technology Audit
          (1996/8); the System-Wide Review of the Science Councils and National
          Facilities (1998); the National Research and Technology Foresight Project
          (1999)
       Department of Education: The National Plan for Higher Education (2001); the
          National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in
          General and Further Education and Training (2001)
       Department of Labour: The Green Paper, The Skills Development Strategy for
          Economic and Employment Growth (1997)
       Departments of Education and Labour: Human Resource Development Strategy
          for South Africa: A nation at work for a better life for all (2001)
       Department of Trade and Industry: Accelerating Growth and Development: The
          contribution of the integrated manufacturing strategy (2002).

1.2     The Academy notes suggestions made at the consultative forum regarding its
role as an Academy functioning in the context of South Africa, and, more specifically, in
the project designed to promote the country‟s S&T capacities for the 21st century. In
particular, it recognises the need to be seen to:


Promoting South African S&T Capacities          4              Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                25 February 2003
         address the needs of South Africa as a developing country, and to be
          accountable to and establish relationships with a developing community
         be engaged in the country‟s effort to achieve national objectives
         focus on specific steps to promote S&T capacity that are achievable within the
          capacity available
         play an active advocacy role based on its independent intellectual capacity
         offer support and make recommendations that lead stakeholders to new actions,
          or that increase the momentum of existing actions, thereby making a measurable
          difference and promoting the emphasis on bringing policy to reality.

1.3     The Academy proposes that, in addressing the issue of S&T capacities for the
21st century, the focus should be on three interlinked aspects, that is, on:
          a. Building the next generation S&T workforce
          b. Mobilising research-based innovation for competitiveness
          c. Introducing effective governance and management systems to optimise
             South Africa‟s S&T capacities.

1.4       The Academy expresses concern at:

         the declining S&T work force capacity, exacerbated by the demographic
          imbalance and the net loss of S&T professionals to other countries
         the „innovation chasm‟, i.e. the fact that the generation of knowledge in South
          Africa does not link adequately to the research-based innovation for
          competitiveness required by South Africa‟s business sector
         the current structure of governance of S&T, which lacks the coherence required
          to optimise the benefits of government investment in S&T.

1.5     The Academy trusts that the major programmes and initiatives launched by
Government since 1994 will bear fruit in the long term. In addition, however, it wishes to
emphasise the view that selected actions and interventions for the short term are crucial
to address and remedy critical S&T capacity promotion problems that could jeopardise
longer-term improvement.
        The recommendations that follow suggest interventions that could help to make a
tangible difference in the short and medium term.




Promoting South African S&T Capacities          5              Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                25 February 2003
2.0      Building the next generation S&T workforce


The Academy recognises that the quality and quantity of human resources are the most
important elements of the country‟s S&T capacity. It is necessary to attract, develop,
deploy, and retain South Africa‟s S&T professionals.
        Attracting young beginners to pursue tertiary education in science and
mathematics requires the availability of challenging and rewarding careers for them
within the country. The Academy therefore emphasises the importance of the feeder
system in attracting young people into the fields of S&T, and providing the qualifications
required for the subsequent deployment of the suitably trained and educated S&T
professionals by the various performers and users of S&T in South Africa.

2.1      The Academy concludes that the education and training system in its entirety
holds the key to South Africa‟s ability to address the challenges of the 21st century and,
in particular, to provide the crucial next generation S&T workforce.
       Acknowledging the high priority that education receives in the national budget
and the government‟s major efforts to transform, upgrade, and rationalise the
components of the education system, the Academy nevertheless calls on government to
continue focusing on education as the key national priority and to amplify efforts to
improve the system. Human capacity must be recognised as an inherent component of
the development of the community.

2.2    Public awareness and appreciation of the importance of S&T in general, and of
South Africa‟s achievements in S&T in particular, is important in creating a culture
supportive of the pursuit by young people of careers in S&T.
         The Academy notes the various activities that exist to raise public awareness of
the importance of S&T and the rewarding career prospects available in South Africa. The
Academy also accepts its responsibility to inform the public about highlights of South
Africa‟s progress and achievements in S&T, and to present South African scientists and
engineers in action, through, for instance, the publication of a popular journal that brings
scientific news and information to the public. The medium of African languages also
needs to be explored.

2.3    In keeping with the proposal to implement short-term interventions, the Academy
believes that the essence of S&T-related success in the country‟s primary and
secondary schools, and a key performance indicator, is the number of matriculants
passing grade 12 in mathematics at higher grade. The Academy therefore supports the
National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education and emphasises
the urgency of its full implementation and expansion. The Academy recommends that
consideration be given to:

        Monitoring progress and identifying impediments to be circumvented.
        The deployment of a corps of special teachers to support incumbent teachers
         and to provide enhancement courses at schools. Such a corps may be drawn
         from retirees and other sources.


Promoting South African S&T Capacities          6              Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                25 February 2003
        An incentive scheme for matriculants who pass higher grade mathematics, linked
         to bursaries for subsequent study programmes at South African technikons or
         universities.
        Optimising multi-media and wider electronic support for secondary school
         learning of science and mathematics.

2.4      With regard to the feeder system at higher education level, there are concerns
that:

      the education system does not deliver what business requires
      the demographically unrepresentative social composition of the academic
       workforce has not improved
     higher education institutions are not at present reproducing their own intellectual
       human resources
     the effectiveness of the system suffers from protracted instability and flux.
    The Academy recommends investigations into the widespread perception that
funding for universities and technikons, and the levels of remuneration on offer, are
inadequate.
    With regard to higher education, the following should be included among the aspects
to be investigated:
        o What bursaries and loan schemes are available for students entering tertiary
           education in the fields of science, engineering, and technology
        o What provision is or could be made available to offset the opportunity costs
           for black students entering postgraduate work in S&T
        o What provision to develop the post-doc cadre of S&T researchers is being or
           could be made
        o What third party role could the Academy play in restoring stability to the
           higher education system.

2.6    The quality of graduates from the higher education system is crucial. The
Academy notes the efforts by various bodies to attend to the maintenance of standards,
but wishes nevertheless to emphasise the importance of quality, and calls for greater
transparency and feedback in the process of quality control.

2.7    The feeder system on its own does not adequately attract young people to S&T
careers or to contribute to South Africa‟s S&T capacity. Rewarding and challenging
opportunities are necessary to encourage the next generation of local and global S&T
professionals to believe that work will be available for them in South Africa, and that the
country has world-class „winning‟ teams for them to join.




Promoting South African S&T Capacities          7               Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                 25 February 2003
3.0      Mobilising research-based innovation for competitiveness


The Academy realises that South Africa‟s future wealth and quality of life depend on its
global competitiveness, which has many tangible and intangible contributing factors.
Competitiveness is closely linked to innovation and its three dimensions: technological
invention, market penetration, and social and cultural fit.

3.1     A key reason for developing the S&T capacity of South Africa is to apply it
effectively to research-based innovation with a view to improving the country‟s
international competitiveness, policy formulations, and, in general, quality of life for all.
    The innovation chasm must therefore successfully be bridged. Success, apart from
bringing direct benefits to the economy and to society, also attracts greater numbers of
good quality scientists into the system, thus building S&T capacity.
    The various users and performers of R&D are discussed below.

3.2      There are signs that the private sector is insufficiently involved in R&D and
innovation to make South Africa a winning nation. Companies that do invest in R&D
increasingly commission research projects abroad. The Academy suggests that various
activities could be implemented simultaneously to reverse this trend.
     First, the Academy believes that the framework created by government through its
fiscal regime and incentives is crucial to the development of local companies‟ investment
in R&D and the innovation that results. The Academy recognises the fact that this issue
is raised in South Africa’s National Research and Development Strategy, but wishes to
emphasise that South Africa is lagging behind competitor countries in terms of its
incentive regime.
    The Academy recommends, as a matter of urgency, that international best practice
be investigated by the departments of Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, and
Finance, in order to create a situation in South Africa that encourages greater
investment in R&D and innovation by the private sector. High-level consultation between
business, relevant government departments, R&D institutions, and higher education
bodies need to be arranged in order to establish a new kind of partnership that will
expand national innovation.
    Second, the Academy recommends that existing programmes stimulating business
involvement in R&D be evaluated (e.g. THRIP and SPII), and that successful ones be
expanded. In particular, a funding programme should be established that enables
SMMEs to commission R&D at South African universities, technikons, or science
councils.
   Third, it is important for South Africa to be able to integrate its R&D capacity to
enable it to undertake major R&D projects on a competitive basis. The creation of an
appropriate and efficient brokering agency (operating, for example, along the lines of
AMIRA in Australia) should be considered. Such a broker would facilitate major R&D
commissions by providing project-specific links between business and the higher
education institutions and science councils with the capacity to fulfil them.

Promoting South African S&T Capacities            8               Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                   25 February 2003
3.3     The Academy welcomes the publication of South Africa’s National Research and
Development Strategy in 2002 and, in particular, its emphasis on major national R&D
projects to stimulate research that focuses on areas of national relevance and
excellence. Two issues that need to be clarified further are:

        the appropriate method and agency to fund and manage these projects, and
        the extent of consultation with business and society that is taking place to select
         appropriate projects.

3.4     The development of human resource capacity for S&T and its further deployment
in the service of research-based innovation cannot succeed fully without effective
governance and management structures and processes.



4.0 Introducing effective governance and management systems to
optimise South Africa’s S&T capacities


The governance and management processes in South Africa‟s S&T need to create
appropriate enabling environments to facilitate creativity at the laboratory level, and at
the same time to ensure relevance to industrial and societal needs.
        In addition, government spending on S&T needs to be aligned to the different
policy objectives of the different government departments, which poses a complex
problem for the process of integrating government‟s S&T expenditure. The absence of
integration, however, undermines the effectiveness of government‟s investment in
human resource development and research-based innovation.

4.1     A consolidated budget for the country‟s S&T investment is needed to focus
attention on optimising expenditure and returns, with a view to supporting socio-
economic growth objectives.

4.2     The Academy strongly endorses government‟s view of the national S&T
landscape as a National System of Innovation, and welcomes the recent reviews of the
NSI and NACI. In this regard the important role of NACI in advising government on the
total science budget and the performance of the system as a whole is emphasised. The
mandates of all the institutions in the NSI should be clearly differentiated and articulated.

4.3   Policy and strategy should be based on reliable data on the state of the national
S&T system. Key performance indicators should be developed for the NSI and its
components in order to achieve measurable targets and feed back on progress.

4.4    To support 4.3 above, an integrated data warehouse of S&T statistics needs to
be established, maintained, and kept functional by an appropriate body.

4.5    The Academy‟s consultative forum expressed concern that the funding regime for
science councils forces them to undertake short-term consulting projects in which they
often compete with the private sector. The Academy supports the suggestion that the
funding regime of the science councils be reviewed.
Promoting South African S&T Capacities           9              Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                 25 February 2003
4.6    There are indications that not all government departments are making adequate
use of R&D to improve their policy development and programmes. The Academy
recommends the appointment of an official (such as a „chief scientist‟) in relevant
government departments at management level. This „chief scientist‟ would formulate that
department‟s needs for the R&D to be considered, commission contracts to research
organisations including universities and technikons, and help to maintain a long-term
science-based approach within his or her department. (This approach is currently difficult
for departments to achieve, given pressing priorities for immediate delivery).

4.7     The higher education sector is an important performer of R&D, in addition to its
role in educating and training the next generation. The reward and management
systems should aim to achieve excellence in fundamental research as well as
effectiveness in strategic research that supports innovation. Methods to achieve both of
these aims, to the detriment of neither, need urgently to be investigated.

4.8    The Academy recommends that funding agencies revise their criteria so as to
enhance the „multiplier effect‟ of research groups that perform well, and to take into
account the nature of innovation. The different needs for „directedness‟ of R&D
management at each management level in the S&T hierarchy should be taken into
account, so as to achieve maximum creativity at the laboratory level while ensuring that
the country‟s research activity is adequately aligned with national priorities.

4.9     Potential private-public partnerships should be exploited more fully, to create and
support research programmes that develop the foundation for new generic technologies
on which specific innovations can later be based. The Academy recommends that
government be prepared to fund such programmes under the leadership of private
sector companies who would involve the science councils‟ and higher education‟s
research capacities.




Promoting South African S&T Capacities         10              Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                25 February 2003
III. SUMMARY OF KEY CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS OFFERED AT
THE CONSULTATIVE FORUM3


1.0       Building the next generation S&T workforce



Challenges                                                 Solutions




1.    Insufficient quantity and quality of S&T                  o   Expand corps of qualified maths and
qualifications delivered by feeder system, says                     science teachers to enhance teaching
business (p.4), because of:                                         capacity (e.g. by bringing qualified former
                                                                    S&T teachers back into the school system)
          Too few matriculants with higher grade               o   Expand and make more accessible the
           mathematics and science                                  educational tools of multi-media and e-
          Brain gain hampered by difficulties in                   learning (pp.12,48)
           obtaining visas / work permits for foreign           o   Improve schooling system (p.12) and help
           S&T professionals wanting to work in SA                  it to make S&T attractive for new
           (p.5)                                                    generations of S&T professionals (p.8)
          Insufficient and insufficiently qualified and        o   Create incentives to raise the numbers
           experienced maths and science teachers,                  doing matric maths and science at higher
           and frequently inadequate academic                       grade (pp.10,18) (e.g. to energise the „100
           background of school-leavers (pp.4,5,45)                 Schools‟ Programme: see also p.48)
          Graduates from higher education sector               o   Enrich higher education curriculum with
           insufficiently prepared for the business /               skills needed for careers in S&T (e.g.
           industry context of S&T careers outside                  project management, independent thinking,
           academe                                                  integration of data and information needed
                                                                    for a task) (pp.5,12,16)




3
 Page numbers in this section refer to details in: Academy of Science of South Africa (2003), Promoting
South African S&T Capacities for the 21st Century: From Policy to reality. Proceedings of a Consultative
Forum organized by the Academy of Science of South Africa: 13-14 September 2002.
Promoting South African S&T Capacities                     11                 Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                               25 February 2003
2.      Insufficiently attractive career opportunities in        o   Create „leading teams‟ that graduates
S&T for suitably qualified graduates, and insufficient               would find prestigious and stimulating to
awareness of what career and business possibilities                  join (pp.4,20)
exist in S&T                                                     o   Encourage innovative projects that create
                                                                     interesting scientific challenges (p.4)
                                                                 o   Set up „facilitative‟ organization(s) to broker
                                                                     R&D project links between industry, higher
                                                                     education, and science councils and to
                                                                     mobilize partnerships so as to extend
                                                                     opportunities for R&D activities in SA
                                                                     (pp.5,11)
                                                                 o   Highlight, promote, and develop career
                                                                     opportunities in S&T (p.11)
                                                                 o   Government to create incentives for
                                                                     business R&D




3.      Demographics of S&T workforce (including                 o   Create a buffer of local and foreign S&T
academic) insufficiently representative of the                       professionals to replace those who are
country‟s racial composition: this is seen as a crisis               retiring (e.g. by developing post-doc
(p.5)                                                                opportunities) (pp.10,20,47)
                                                                 o   Attract S&T expertise from outside the
                                                                     country
4.      Ageing profile of academic workforce is seen             o   Create more attractive conditions of
as a looming crisis (p.5)                                            employment in S&T fields and academe
                                                                     (p.7)
                                                                 o   Create higher education/business joint
5.      The threat of HIV/AIDS to future SA S&T                      appointments (p.13)
capacity (p.6)                                                   o   Retain retirees as mentors (p.7)
                                                                 o   Exchange academic service after
                                                                     graduation in exchange for
                                                                     bursaries/scholarships (p.7)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities                      12                   Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                                  25 February 2003
6.   Specific challenges in SA‟s public higher               o   Develop initiatives to encourage „brain gain‟
education system that affect S&T capacity include:               (p.7), „brain circulation‟ (p.10), and „brain
                                                                 retention‟ (pp.10,11,16)
        Instability, flux, and turmoil that has             o   Research origin and development of current
         caused disruption and lowered productivity              situation and find solutions by comparing
         (pp.6,9)                                                with and learning from other countries
        Cultural prejudices (e.g. prejudices against        o   Mobilize partnerships between higher
         women, blacks, „coloureds‟, white males,                education and science councils to increase
         etc.) (pp.6,16)                                         the capacity to reproduce S&T researchers
        Levels of government funding and                        and professionals (p.7)
         remuneration of S&T professionals that are          o   Link S&T knowledge (e.g. in higher
         not competitive and too low to attract                  education sector) directly to business
         newcomers to academic careers in S&T                    opportunities (pp.14-15,17,21-22)
         (p.6)                                               o   Alleviate opportunity costs for first
        Opportunity costs for first generation black            generation black scholars through
         scholars that are too high to attract them              scholarships
         into academic S&T careers (p.8)                     o   Investigate wider options for additional
        An academic system that is not                          funding (pp.19-20)
         reproducing its own capacity
        Brain drain (e.g. via emigration) (pp.6,8)
        Loss of black researchers (e.g. to jobs in
         government and industry) (p.21)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities                  13                  Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                             25 February 2003
7.   Context of globalisation in which SA‟s S&T             o   Develop critical mass in S&T researcher
operates creates new vulnerability (e.g. greater                and non-academic workforce (p.12)
mobility of SA‟s researchers, outsourcing of R&D to         o   Create a vibrant, world-class „research hub‟
research groups outside SA (p.30))                              for solving local and regional S&T problems
                                                                (p.10)
                                                            o   Build on opportunities created by
                                                                globalisation (p.19)
                                                            o   Contextualise SA‟s S&T capacity
                                                                strategically in terms of SA‟s position in the
                                                                world economy and world competitiveness
                                                                (pp.17,19)
                                                            o   Strengthen SA‟s existing peaks while
                                                                developing the overall S&T base, and
                                                                centres of excellence that create critical
                                                                mass while work continues on long-term
                                                                strategies (p.17) (see national priorities
                                                                outlined in South Africa‟s Research and
                                                                Development Strategy of August 2002)




8.   Mandates of NSI institutions are insufficiently        o   Review the mandates of the institutions in
differentiated and articulated (pp.9,21,36)                     the NSI to ensure sufficient differentiation
                                                                (pp.9,10,36)
                                                            o   Return a sense of mission to the S&T
                                                                system (pp.11,15)
                                                            o   Pay further attention to the governance
                                                                structure for human resources development
                                                                strategies (p.13)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities                 14                  Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                            25 February 2003
9.    S&T and education are hampered by the                o   Raise public profile of science (pp.14,47),
context of low levels of appreciation of science by            of SA‟s best S&T, and of the important
the general public (pp.1,15,17,18)                             place of science in society (pp.15,17);
                                                               explore ways to include the medium of
                                                               African languages (p.14
10.    SA‟s S&T not seen as attractive enough to           o   SA‟s scientists to communicate to the public
encourage those entering and S&T career to see                 the relevance of science and the science
themselves as entering an „innovative/winning‟ team            that they themselves do
                                                           o   Situate SA‟s S&T publicly in the context of
                                                               SA‟s socio-economic goals
                                                           o   Captains of industry to communicate S&T-
                                                               driven business opportunities
                                                           o   Create projects (pp.9-10,16,18,21-22,34)
                                                               to galvanise and capture the imagination of
                                                               the entire society and attract more school-
                                                               leavers into S&T careers (p.13), involving
                                                               schoolgoers, parents, communities, and
                                                               higher education: large-scale long-term
                                                               national projects (e.g. in line with national
                                                               objectives outlined in South Africa‟s R&D
                                                               Strategy) to run side by side with small-
                                                               scale, short-term projects in key target
                                                               areas with measurable, visible targets and
                                                               results (pp.9-10) (e.g. a project to increase
                                                               number of matriculants doing higher grade
                                                               mathematics (p.11); a project to increase
                                                               the number of black matriculants with
                                                               maths and science passes at higher grade
                                                               from 3 500 to 10 000 (p.8))




Promoting South African S&T Capacities                15                  Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                           25 February 2003
2.0       Mobilising research-based innovation for competitiveness




Challenges                                   Solutions




1.    Insufficient commitment to long-          o   Creation by the state of a fiscal and incentive regime
term R&D and technological innovation               that encourages companies to increase investment in
by most SA companies (pp.25-26) and                 R&D (pp.25,30,47)
under-production of patents and new
businesses (p.37)




2.    Loss of talent, inability to attract      o   Expand and diversify SA‟s resource-based economy
sufficient talent from abroad (p.5), and            through innovation (p.26)and „lateral migration‟ (p.29)
inflexible attitude of authorities              o   Build on current strengths (pp.26,65-66)
concerning work permits for foreigners          o   Create a „nursery‟ in our areas of competitive
(pp.25,30)                                          advantage (p.28) for new technology clusters (p.27)
                                                o   Improve competitiveness by creating an enabling
                                                    climate for beneficiation (p.28) and innovation, and by
                                                    actively developing the capacities of our industries to
                                                    innovate (noting also that [a] competitiveness has a
                                                    social dimension and embraces „quality of life‟ (p.59),
                                                    not only innovation or economics, and [b] innovation
                                                    = invention + market exploitation) (pp.31-32,37)
                                                o   Access the diaspora and exploit it as a resource base
                                                    (p.33)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities                 16                 Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                           25 February 2003
3.   The „innovation chasm‟ (i.e. the gap   o   Improve the state‟s fiscal incentive regime to make it
between the knowledge generators and            more attractive for business R&D (pp.25,30,41)
the market) (p.30) in business and          o   Create a „nursery‟ for new technology clusters that are
across the „value chain‟ (pp.33,39-40)          potentially adaptable to other sectors (pp.27,36)
                                            o   Identify areas of competitive advantage through which
                                                SA can harness and develop S&T capabilities embodied
                                                in locally produced resource technologies (pp.27,28-
                                                29)
                                            o   Generate understanding of the importance of
                                                competitiveness at national and organizational levels
                                                (pp.30-32)
                                            o   Generate understanding of the competitiveness /
                                                innovation link (pp.31-32) and the importance of S&T
                                                across the „value chain‟ (pp.33,39)
                                            o   Generate understanding within research funding
                                                agencies of the invention component in the context of
                                                innovation, and recognition of the time lag between
                                                research and innovation (pp.31-32)
                                            o   Develop culture of innovation (including SA-specific
                                                innovation) in higher education (pp.33,34,35,37-38,39)
                                            o   Develop and adjust the reward system and culture in
                                                higher education research (including Intellectual
                                                Property Rights developments (pp.47,59)) to make
                                                them more conducive to innovation (e.g. institute
                                                scholarships for innovation) (pp.34,39,41-42)
                                            o   Develop closer interaction among relevant government
                                                departments to enable them to work in tandem to
                                                maximize the benefits of the resources available (e.g.
                                                interaction between the DST and DoE (pp.35,59,64);
                                                collaboration between the DTI and DST to create
                                                mechanism whereby SMMEs can access R&D capacity
                                                in SA‟s higher education institutions and science
                                                councils


                                                                                                (contd.)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities             17                 Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                       25 February 2003
                                         o   Foster stronger interaction and relationships among
                                             stakeholders across the whole value chain
                                             (pp.35,40,47) and within the context of the NSI
                                             (pp.33,36,40,41)
                                         o   Review and revise the activities of the science councils
                                             to improve their reputation as SA‟s genuine „innovation
                                             assets‟ (pp.40,48,63) (e.g. rather than businesses in
                                             competition with the private sector)
                                         o   Investigate and design a developmental model for
                                             interaction between business and higher education in
                                             the context of SA (i.e. one that does not necessarily
                                             blindly copy models designed for developed countries)
                                             (pp.41-42)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities          18                 Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                    25 February 2003
3.0       Proposing governance and management systems to optimize
          South Africa’s S&T capacities



Challenges                               Solutions




1.    Insufficient focus (p.45) for        o   Create and market SA‟s S&T „brand‟ – i.e. through an “SA
disparate S&T activities in SA (p.46)          Inc.” approach (pp.45,58,59-60,65)and creation by the
(pp.25-26) and insufficient „branding‟         state of a fiscal and incentive regime that encourages
or marketing of SA‟s strengths                 companies to invest in R&D (pp.25,30,47)
(p.45), despite the country‟s genuine
productivity improvements,
resources, and policies (pp.45-46)
that provide the solid base on which
to build its S&T system (p.44)




2.    Over-reliance for direction on       o   Government to integrate S&T expenditure across
central government (p.45), which               government departments (see SA‟s National R&D Strategy)
itself has low capacity and widely             (pp.46,47)
diverse priorities (p.46)                  o   Appoint a chief scientist in each government department
                                               (as relevant), to be responsible for the formulation of the
3.    Insufficient focus / integration         R&D / S&T needs of that department (p.61) and, as a
in:                                            group, for what is done in the S&T system as a whole
          Government‟s S&T                    (p.62)
           (pp.46,62)                      o   Integrate the system of contracting processes in
          Civil society, which has a          government departments (p.61)
           proliferation of SET            o   Ensure that the NSI is adopted as a key national imperative
           institutions (not all of            across the sectors (p.47)
           which add value)                o   Establish Key Performance Indicators for the NSI, to set
           (pp.46,63)                          targets and monitor performance (p.47)
          SA‟s S&T community,
           which is too small and too                                                               (contd.)

           fragmented (p.64)


Promoting South African S&T Capacities                  19                 Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                            25 February 2003
                                         o   Review the different elements of the NSI (pp.45-48) (e.g.
                                             differentiate the various mandates (p.47); work on greater
                                             articulation; build more innovation into academia (p.46);
                                             find ways to encourage business to chase innovation rather
                                             than just money (p.45)
                                         o   Set up ways to measure the S&T system effectively, as a
                                             basis for further NSI planning (pp.47,48)
                                         o   Expand NACI‟s role as the key national body to advise DoE
                                             on higher education R&D (p.47)
                                         o   Promote use of available venture capital (p.48)
                                         o   Establish integrated R&D focus areas that are aligned to
                                             the country‟s competitiveness (p.47) and encourage
                                             business-driven foresight (p.48)
                                         o   Encourage higher education institutions to commercialise
                                             Intellectual Property Rights for projects developed with
                                             government funds (p.47) and adjust funding formulae to
                                             ensure expanded innovation in higher education institutions
                                             and greater S&T student numbers (p.47)
                                         o   Review the science councils to correct the imbalance
                                             between their contract work and their strategic
                                             government-funded research (NB: At present the councils
                                             operate as research contractors to government and others)
                                             (pp.47,48,60,62,63)
                                         o   Rationalise the fragmented civil society component of SET
                                             to create fewer but louder voices (p.48)
                                         o   Unite and rationalize fragmented proliferation of
                                             governance organs in SA‟s S&T (p.64)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities              20                 Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                        25 February 2003
4.    SA‟s National R&D Strategy         o   Encourage institutional leadership in S&T organizations that
(2002) establishes a basis for S&T           highlights the management of knowledge-based innovation
governance to achieve the outcomes           (p.49)
of wealth creation and enhanced          o   Create governance structures that specifically add value or
quality of life for all, in an               reduce risk (p.49)
environmentally sustainable way          o   Fulfil the operational objectives of the governance basis of
(p.48)                                       SA‟s National R&D Strategy (p.50), i.e.:


                                                 Innovation (mastering technological change in SA‟s
                                                  economy and society) a „nursery‟ for new technology
                                                  clusters adaptable to other sectors (pp.27,36)
                                                 Human capital and transformation (increasing
                                                  investment in SA‟s science base)
                                                 Alignment and delivery (strengthening government‟s
                                                  S&T system)


                                         o   Align government‟s R&D and innovation activities by means
                                             of (pp.51-52):


                                                 A 3-year R&D government plan
                                                 Line departments developing sector-specific R&D
                                                  plans
                                                 Standard reporting framework for S&T institutions
                                                 Risk management, foresight capacity, and Science
                                                  Vote integration in DST (pp.51,59)


                                         o   Improve business performance through private-sector
                                             interventions from government (p.52) through


                                                 Fiscal incentives in line with global changes
                                                 Support for stronger provincial initiatives
                                                 Enabling environment for venture capital
                                                 Removal of Home Affairs blockages for employment of
                                                  the people that SA needs




Promoting South African S&T Capacities                21                Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                         25 February 2003
5.   Insufficient building of S&T        o   Understand and accept a high-level model of the main
capacity in SA‟s higher education            determinants of success and failure for effective S&T
institutions                                 capacity building (p.53) as a point of departure for
                                             designing improved governance and management
                                             mechanisms for „growing‟ our S&T capacity by creating
                                             enabling „multiplier‟ effects within the system (p.53) and
                                             thereby attending to the entire nation‟s needs
                                         o   Understand that the role of governance and management
                                             is to add value in systems that depend on human creativity
                                             (e.g. innovation, S&T research); to provide enabling
                                             mechanisms and resources; and to integrate deliverables
                                             from S&T creativity with deliverables from elsewhere in
                                             society (p.53)
                                         o   Recognise the difference between approaches that hobble
                                             and disable the productive coalfaces in the system and
                                             waste available resources, and approaches that enable
                                             those coalfaces and maximize the benefits of the available
                                             resources (p.53)
                                         o   Create governance and management structures that are
                                             enabling and integrating, and abolish those that are
                                             disabling and wasteful, so as to move SA‟s S&T capacity
                                             from one that is „left behind‟ to one that in increasingly
                                             „right ahead‟ (p.53)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities              22                  Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                         25 February 2003
6.   SA‟s research system shows          o   Support well-functioning academic departments / units,
signs of decline rather than                 which have the greatest potential „multiplier‟ effect to
the expansion that is                        combat the decline and increase capacity (p.55)
required (p.55) i.e.:                    o   Funding agencies to revise criteria in order to promote such
                                             „engines‟ of capacity building
        Declining productivity          o   Funding agencies and others responsible for governance
        Ageing scientists                   and management to apply diagnostic measures through
        Loss of cutting-edge                which to identify well-functioning academic departments,
         science                             so as to achieve the greatest „multiplier‟ effects (pp.55-56)
                                         o   Governance and management systems to stimulate quality
                                             in all categories of research (p.57)
                                         o   Find the balance between the disabling and wasteful
                                             effects of over-steering and micromanaging (p.62), and the
                                             targeted „silver bullet‟ incentive approach that can add
                                             focus where it is needed (p.59)
                                         o   Study deficiencies in the current governance structures
                                             (p.58) and in the management of the S&T system, and in
                                             the nature and mandate of differing higher education
                                             institutions (p.63) especially in their capacity building
                                             activities




Promoting South African S&T Capacities               23                  Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                          25 February 2003
7.   There is insufficient statistical or   o   Develop quantitative and qualitative diagnostic measures
qualitative data to measure the                 for „higher education at its best‟ (which has a „multiplier‟
productivity of SA‟s S&T research, or           capacity-building effect and builds productive capacity),
to quantify, understand fully, and              and „higher education at its worst‟ (which wastes resources
improve the dynamic behaviour and               and reduces S&T capacity and productivity) (p.54)
performance at the S&T coalface             o   Develop and maintain an efficient, co-ordinated S&T data
(pp.54-56)                                      warehouse for sufficient and reliable information to develop
                                                SA‟s S&T system, to develop the system that SA in fact
                                                needs (p.64), and to enable the system to work at its best
                                                (pp.56,57)
                                            o   Hold those people who are responsible for governance and
                                                management accountable for S&T productivity in their
                                                institutions, as they are the ones who create either the
                                                enabling or the wasteful / disabling environment in which
                                                their S&T specialists are expected to function productively
                                                and creatively (p.58)
                                            o   Funding agencies to revise criteria in order to promote such
                                                „engines‟ of capacity building
                                            o   Funding agencies and others responsible for governance
                                                and management need to apply diagnostic measures
                                                through which to identify well-functioning academic
                                                departments, so as to achieve the greatest „multiplier‟
                                                effects (pp.55-56)
                                            o   Governance and management systems need to stimulate
                                                quality in all categories of research (p.57)
                                            o   Find the balance between the disabling and wasteful
                                                effects of over-steering and micromanaging (p.62), and the
                                                targeted „silver bullet‟ incentive approach that can add
                                                focus where it is needed (p.59)




Promoting South African S&T Capacities                  24                  Academy of Science of South Africa
Synthesis Report                                                                             25 February 2003

								
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