News & events


Strengthening the interactive capabilities of science councils in South Africa

12 May 2016
12:30 - 13:30

Date: 12 May 2016
Time: 12:15 for 12:30  – 13:30   
Venues in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town

Dr Glenda Kruss, Education and Skills Development programme, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

The current expectation in South Africa is that science councils will be responsive to multiple policy initiatives to promote inclusive socio-economic development and global competitiveness. Achieving these may be challenging, particularly in organisations with limited financial and human resources. The paper analyses how science councils attempt to balance demands from financial, intellectual and developmental drivers, shaped by their core disciplinary fields and historical trajectories.

It is based on comparative case studies of five science councils, conducted using documentary analysis, key informant interviews and a survey of scientists’ interactive activity. It demonstrates that all five succeeded in articulating new and ambitious institutional and strategic policies, which prioritised unique combinations of a generic three-fold mandate. However, most struggled to reorient scientists and give effect to these strategic mandates. The paper thus compares and summarises the differing interactive capabilities of these science councils, by examining the internal and external interface structures and incentive mechanisms created to support and promote interaction with other knowledge producers and users.

The analysis highlights misalignments at the macro-level. The impact of over-burdened policy expectations and funding constraints on leadership and individual scientists is a potential risk for the knowledge and technology generation capacity of the national system of innovation.

Strengthening interactive capabilities is thus important, if science councils are to be active agents maintaining their scientific autonomy, and not simply responding to or complying with shifting government policy directives or market demand.

This seminar may be attended in Pretoria, Cape Town or Durban.

Kindly RSVP by 8 May 2016

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Carmen August ,Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299 or e-mail:
Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail
Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012)