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10 October 2022

HSRC to host a policy dialogue on R&D and innovation in South African SOEs

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Monday 10 October 2022 – The Human Sciences Research Council’s Centre for Science Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) invites members of the media to a policy dialogue on Research and Development (R&D), and innovation in South African State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). The hybrid seminar will be held at the HSRC Virtual Conference Centres in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town on Tuesday, 11 October 2022 at 10h00.

Titled ‘R&D and innovation in South African SOEs: Trends, case studies and indicators’, the roundtable will look at academic literature and interrogate evidence from in-depth case study research with three SOEs (SANEDI, ATNS and SAFCOL) conducted by the HSRC’s CeSTII in the financial year 2019/20.

According to CeSTII’s Divisional Executive, Dr Glenda Kruss, researchers have identified five dimensions key to effective R&D and innovation ‘gearing’ by these SOEs. They include human capabilities, technological capabilities, networks, research infrastructure, and governance.

“Based on this research, we will propose R&D and innovation indicators to monitor change over time. These indicators can guide national policy discussions on the future contribution of SOEs in South Africa. SOEs are vital national assets with a mandate to contribute to sustainable economic growth and South Africa’s broad developmental goals,” says Dr Kruss.

In March 2019, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) published the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation. This recognised the need to revitalise SOEs to play a meaningful role in South Africa’s science, technology, innovation and economic development.

Dr Kruss indicates that, as key institutions for human capital development and international and national knowledge sharing, the White Paper was also aimed at positioning SOEs as innovation-driven for the knowledge economy.

“But to what extent and how are South African SOEs geared to perform R&D and innovation? How can progress towards a revitalised role be measured? What new indicators can contribute to public management and governance of SOE R&D and innovation? This dialogue seeks to address these questions,” says Dr Kruss.

The hybrid policy dialogue event will bring together researchers, SOE executives, senior officials, and other interested role-players for reflective discussion on the key indicators of R&D and innovation performance and capabilities in SOEs.

Documents informing this dialogue are listed below:

South African R&D Survey, 2019/20

R&D Statistical Survey Report, 2019/20

R&D Survey Main Report, 2019/20

R&D and Innovation Capabilities in State-Owned Enterprises:

CeSTII Working Paper 2a (February 2022): Gearing for R&D and Innovation in South African State-Owned Enterprises: Findings from Case Studies of ATNS, SANEDI and SAFCOL.

CeSTII Working Paper 2b (February 2022): R&D and Innovation Capabilities in South African State-Owned Enterprises: The Case of the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI).

CeSTII Working Paper 2c (February 2022): R&D and Innovation Capabilities in South African State-Owned Enterprises: The Case of Air Traffic & Navigation Services SOC Ltd.

CeSTII Working Paper 2d (February 2022): R&D and Innovation Capabilities in South African State-Owned Enterprises: The Case of South African Forestry Company SOC Ltd (SAFCOL).

HSRC Policy Brief (March 2018): The Future of Stateowned Enterprises in South Africa: Why R&D Matters

Details of the event:

Date:                 11 October 2022

Time:                10h00 to 12h30

Venue:              HSRC Virtual Conference Centres, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town


For media enquiries:

Dr Lucky Ditaunyane, Cell: +27 83 227 6074 Email: Nematandani, Cell: +27 82 765 9191 Email:

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Notes to the Editor

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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