The leading centre for measurement of R&D and innovation in South Africa
The Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) is a statistical and policy research unit conducting R&D and innovation surveys on behalf of South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation. CeSTII produces national indicators and analyses to inform policymaking and provide a basis for international comparisons.
Established in 2001, CeSTII is the custodian of a rich database of longitudinal trend data from regular business innovation surveys and the annual South African R&D Survey. CeSTII also contributes actively to Africa’s STI indicator measurement community, and finds new ways to interrogate data to help address developmental challenges and inform South Africa's priority economic sectors.
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 (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.
To support businesses, we need to understand their circumstances. A core CeSTII research priority is to improve the quality and extend the focus of business innovation measurement in South Africa. The national business innovation surveys are rolled out in three-year cycles, covering firms in the formal manufacturing, mining, services and commercial agricultural sectors. They are conducted on behalf of the South African Department of Science and Innovation to measure the extent of innovative activity in the industry, agriculture and service sectors of the economy. These surveys are based on the guidelines of the OECD/Eurostat Oslo Manual and the core EU Community Innovation Survey. Using an international methodology allows the results of the South African surveys to be usefully compared with those of other countries.
To promote innovation for sustainable and inclusive development, national science, technology and innovation (STI) measures and indicators must be more appropriate and reflective of developmental challenges in southern Africa.
CeSTII supports the development of new indicator frameworks, including measuring innovation in the informal sector. This work informs collaboration with the HSRC’s Africa Institute of South Africa, the National Advisory Council on Innovation and partnerships in Africa to support capacity building.
Indicator frameworks support the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 and the Sustainable Development Goals.