News & events


The influence of absorptive capacity of non-R&D intensive firms on innovation in South African manufacturing and services firms

05 November 2019
12:30 - 14:00

Download the presentation below:

Date: 5 November 2019           
Time: 12h30 – 14h00 
Venues Video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal Livestream by Vidyo

Presenters: Dr Yasser Buchana, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators and Dr Moses Sithole, Research Director, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators

Chair: Dr Nazeem Mustapha, Chief Research Specialist, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators

Non-R&D intensive firms are firms that lack substantial investments in research and experimental development (R&D). The majority of firms in South Africa are in low-tech sectors, and do not use internal R&D as an innovation strategy: While more than 60% of firms report successful innovation outcomes, a large majority of these firms only invest less than 3% of their total sales back into intramural R&D. In developing countries, it is well-established that non-R&D intensive firms have played vital roles in sector value chains, contributing to economic growth and development.

Also well-established is that R&D intensive firms tend to possess significant stock of cumulative knowledge resulting from their R&D investments and, as a result, are more likely to have a higher absorptive capacity, benefitting their innovation capabilities. The ability to absorb, assimilate and replicate new knowledge acquired from external sources—also known as absorptive capacity—has become essential for firms to innovate. How firms acquire and assimilate external sources of knowledge to innovate is therefore a key empirical question.

This seminar reports on an econometric study using South African innovation data from CIS-type surveys to explore how absorptive capacity enables non-R&D intensive firms to produce successful innovation outcomes. In a context of declining expenditure on R&D in the business sector, this seminar will also surface policy questions for discussion with the target audience of economists, science and innovation policy stakeholders, and private sector actors, including industry associations.

Kindly RSVP by 4 November 2019

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference Room, 1st  floor HSRC Library, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria.
Contact Arlene Grossberg  | T: (012) 302 2811  | E:
Cape Town: HSRC Video Conference Room, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.
Contact Shouneez Khan| T: (021) 466 7948 | E:
Durban: HSRC Video Conference Room, The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001.
Contact Ridhwaan Khan  | T: (031) 242 5400  | C: 083 788 2786  | E: 

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 the DST