Draft white paper on science, technology and innovation unveiled

September 26th, 2018, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: Energize, Articles: PositionIT, Featured: PositionIT

Twenty years after the adoption of the first White Paper on Science and Technology (DST) in 1996, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) began developing a new draft White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), which was approved by Cabinet in September 2018. The new document will ensure a growing role for STI in building a more prosperous and inclusive society. It focuses on using STI to accelerate inclusive economic growth, make the economy more competitive and improve people’s everyday lives. It sets the high-level, long-term policy direction for the next five to 15 years.

To enable South Africa’s effective participation in this new world order, which is bringing increasing automation and digitalisation, the DST has developed a new policy document.

The new draft policy focuses on two main goals, namely, to ensure that South Africa benefits from STI for economic growth, social development and transformation, and to respond to the risks and opportunities brought by rapid global technological advancement and other global changes. It has considered a number of megatrends spanning the geopolitical, economic, social, technological and environmental spheres. These megatrends include a growing population, increased consumption driven by an expanding middle class in emerging economies, the rise of China and India, and the impact on the natural environment.

The new draft policy focuses on:

  • Raising the profile of STI in South Africa by instilling an innovation culture in South African society and integrating STI into cross-cutting government planning at the highest levels.
  • Strengthening partnerships between business, government, academia and civil society, creating a more enabling environment for STI.
  • Innovation for social benefit and for fundamental economic transformation.
  • Expanding and transforming the human resource base of the national system of innovation.
  • Increasing investment, both public and private, in STI.

This draft is open for public consultation, with comments closing on 19 October 2018. After public comments have been integrated, the DST intends to have a summit on 9 November 2018 to engage various stakeholders on the White Paper before taking the final document to Cabinet for approval.

It will be implemented through regularly updated decadal plans, which will be based on performance evaluation and foresight, as well as collaborative planning with relevant business sectors and government departments. The decadal plans will detail the deliverables, partnerships and funding required, as well as the indicators that will be used to measure progress. To this end, the National Advisory Council on Innovation is currently undertaking a foresight exercise for South Africa.

Contact Veronica Mohapeloa, DST, veronica.mohapeloa@dst.gov.za

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