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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Low investment stifles competitiveness

Independent Online
June 27, 2011

Spending on research and development in South Africa has yet to reach the goal of 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) – but is not far behind at 0.92 percent, according to the National Survey on Research and Development for 2008/09.

The survey, compiled by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) with Stats SA and the Department of Science and Technology, released this week, shows the figures on research and development (R&D) spending and trends in government, tertiary education and the private sector.

According to the department, the report, when viewed with previous reports, will provide indicators on South Africa’s failings and successes in the fields of science, engineering and technology, and ultimately global competitiveness.

The survey notes an overall increase in R&D spending of 1.3 percent – up from R18.6 billion in 2007/08 to R21bn in 2008/09. However, in addition to falling short of the 1 percent goal in 2008/09, the country only had a nominal increase in full-time equivalent researchers – from 19 320 in 2007/08 to 19 384 in 2008/09.

“Engineering sciences was the research field with the highest proportion of R&D expenditure. R&D expenditure in this field increased from 22.5 percent of total R&D expenditure in 2007/08 to 24.4 percent in 2008/09.”
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