Ministerial Review Report on the Science, Technology and Innovation Landscape published
The purpose of the review was to review the Science, Technology and Innovation landscape in South Africa with a view to assessing the degree of efficiency of resources and readiness for future challenges in the global context. Phase One involved the scrutiny of policy frameworks developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) before and after the external ‘country’ review of the National System of Innovation (NSI) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2007. Phase Two focused on the development of recommendations for the NSI in the future.
In total over 40 recommendations, backed up with substantive evidence and argument, are provided in the Review Report. . ASSAf supports the key recommendation for the establishment of a centralised, compact National Council on Research and Innovation (NCRI), chaired by the Deputy President and deputy chaired by the Minister of Science and Technology. Such a body would carry substantial authority and be in an improved position for coordination and oversight. ASSAf also supports the recommendation for the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) to be transformed into the Office for Research and Innovation Policy (ORIP). The intention for the ORIP to exercise a monitoring and evaluation function for the entire NSI gives clear direction and avoids the overlaps that currently exist between entities in the NSI. ASSAf is committed to working closely with the ORIP if/when this recommendation is implemented.
Particularly pleasing from an ASSAf perspective was the recommendation that the role of ASSAf should be strengthened and broadened to provide independent, evidence-based advice on key issues relevant to the NSI. Mention was made of ASSAf’s efforts to establish a national open access platform (SciELO-South Africa) for peer-reviewed, international-quality South African scholarly journals, and this was recognised as a key driver of human capital development in the country and by implication a driver of innovation. Allied to this is the reference to the equally important ASSAf investigation into and recommendations for a bulk license for scholarly journals available through commercial publishers.
As secretariat of the Committee of Heads of Organisations of Research and Technology (COHORT), ASSAf concurs with the observation that more could be achieved through COHORT than is currently the case. Greater investment into COHORT would greatly invigorate the role of this potentially important co-ordinating body that should occupy a position equivalent to Higher Education South Africa in the higher education sector.
Click here for the full Ministerial Review Committee Report