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26 August 2020

Minister Blade Nzimande to open policy forum on state of innovation in South Africa

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Tuesday 25 August 2020 – Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Blade Nzimande will this week deliver the keynote address at a policy forum on the state of innovation in South Africa. The virtual event will take place on Friday, 28 August 2020 from 09h00 to 13h00.

In the aftermath of South Africa’s COVID-19 epidemic, innovation will be a critical component of evidence-based planning for the country’s economic recovery.
Jointly organised by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACi) and the HSRC’s Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII), the forum will feature high level presentations and a panel discussion on key aspects of the country’s innovation performance.

The convenors are aiming to use the opportunity for wide reflection on the role of indicators in monitoring the state of the National System of Innovation (NSI), by drawing in key perspectives from business, government, civil society and universities, and by using evidence to explore how South Africa’s NSI is geared towards inclusive and sustainable development.

Presentations will include the launch of the 2020 South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators report produced by the NACI, and recent reviews of the National Research and Development Strategy (NRDS) and the Ten Year Innovation Plan.

 “The Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators is mandated to provide STI indicators, and this event provides an important opportunity for reflection on the nature and use of existing and new indicators, as the country pivots to respond to COVID-19 realities and challenges,” says CeSTII Executive Head, Dr Glenda Kruss.

The centre’s work on the Business Innovation Survey, 2014-2016, baseline Agricultural Business Innovation Survey, 2016-2018, and baseline Survey of Innovation in the Informal Economy 2018 will be showcased for this purpose.

South Africa’s White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation, published in 2019, articulates a clear role for innovation in promoting sustainable and inclusive development in a changing world.

It is therefore vital to interrogate the available evidence on innovation, in order to inform the optimal policy mixes, which are fast-changing in relation to the urgencies presented by national and global, but also sectoral, COVID-19 responses.

Key questions to be addressed include:

•    What role can and should innovation play in South Africa’s recovery post-COVID?
•    What adaptations to current policy mixes should be explored, based on new evidence?
•    Do we have the right kinds of innovation measures appropriate to the South African context?
•    What have we learned about innovation from the experience of pivoting to the changes brought by COVID, across business, civil society, universities and government?

RSVP is required: Zoom link will be supplied on receipt of RSVP

Livestream on Facebook at the Department of Science and Innovation page

Details of the Webinar
Date:        28 August 2020
Time:        09h00 to 13h00
Zoom Link:    RSVP Zoom link will be supplied on receipt of RSVP

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact Adziliwi Nematandani, 0827659191, email:

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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