Foreword by Prof Cheryl de la Rey (NACI Chairperson)
On behalf of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) I am delighted to present the annual report on the 2015 South African Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Indicators. This publication is part of our contribution to building the monitoring, evaluation and learning capability necessary for assessing the health of the National System of Innovation (NSI).
Compared to previous publications, the 2015 South African STI Indicators report focuses more on international comparisons against which South Africa can benchmark its progress in innovation. Comparisons are made with countries such as Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and the BRIC group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
This benchmarking exercise aims to stimulate debate and identify issues that need to be addressed for South Africa to be a knowledge-driven economy. Other new aspects in this 2015 publication include indicators of South African universities’ performance in knowledge generation, inter-sectoral research collaboration and co-authorships and research prioritisation.
It is important to note that although there have been improvements, South Africa still experiences STI data related challenges. In an attempt to address some of these challenges, NACI identified a number of interventions or initiatives such as the development of an Innovation Scorecard for South Africa and the development of a National Science, Technology and Innovation Information Portal.
The reader is reminded that the earlier version of the booklet published in 2014 is still a useful reference in certain instances because it included a significant amount of data which is not necessarily repeated in this current version.
Without delving into the details, the 2015 STI indicators publication indicates overall progress in some areas and a lack of progress in other areas. For instance, the science, engineering and technology research capacity development pipeline and research and development investment as a proportion of the Gross Development Product (GDP) remain serious challenges.
I sincerely hope that NSI stakeholders (including policy makers, the private sector and nongovernment organisations), the public and the international community will find this 2015 STI indicators publication informative, clear and useful.