The big picture

Why we measure R&D

Countries that invest in R&D grow their economies, create jobs and have better human development outcomes. The HSRC, in collaboration with the DSI and Stats SA, has been measuring R&D investment in the public, private and research sectors for more than 20 years, informing policy development to support innovation and competitiveness.

The South African National Survey on Research and Experimental Development Inputs (the R&D Survey) is a CeSTII flagship, undertaken annually for the South African Department of Science and Innovation. Each year the R&D Survey reports the latest available data on R&D expenditure and performance across five sectors: higher education, science councils, government, business, and not-for-profit organisations. The survey’s statistics inform science policy development and are used to set government R&D priorities and funding levels, and for monitoring and benchmarking against other countries.

This long-term research helps us understand R&D in the country and map changes over time .

R&D Survey reports

2001/02 to present

Testing on clone.

Global methods, local context

How we measure R&D

The definition of R&D is adopted from the OECD, which defines research as creative work and original investigation undertaken on a systematic basis to gain new knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society (Frascati Manual, 2015). Development is defined as the application of research findings or other scientific knowledge for the creation of new or significantly improved products or processes (Frascati Manual, 2015). Additional information about the definition of R&D used in the survey is available on request from CeSTII. The OECD’s Frascati Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development is available on the OECD website.

Quality assurance

South Africa’s R&D surveys are currently considered national statistics as defined by the Statistics Act No. 6 of 1999. CeSTII has been identified as a key source of quality statistical research, with its adherence to the South African Statistical Quality Assessment Framework (SASQAF) (Stats SA, 2010). Data are also submitted annually to the OECD and UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Updates and errata

2018 to present

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