Policy Forum: State of innovation in South Africa

This high level, evidence-led virtual discussion on innovation and innovation measurement in South Africa on 28 August 2020 will feature key speakers from government, business, universities and civil society.

RSVP required at Eventbrite*

*Zoom link to be supplied on receipt of RSVP

Please note: This event will also be livestreamed on Facebook at the Department of Science and Innovation page.

Reading pack

Why this event, now?

The eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 has resulted in rapid pivoting across government, business and civil society, as actors adapt to the plethora of new threats, risks, and opportunities. As the outbreak deepens in South Africa, the role of innovation cannot be overstated in evidence-led planning for the country’s economic recovery. South Africa’s White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation, published in 2019, articulates a clear role of innovation in promoting sustainable and inclusive development in a changing world. It is therefore vital to interrogate the evidence we have 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.

This high-level policy forum will bring together high-level actors in a virtual setting to:

  • Launch the 2020 South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators report produced by the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI)
  • Present the latest reviews of the National Research and Development Strategy (NRDS) and the Ten Year Innovation Plan recently conducted by NACI
  • Share on new data sets produced by the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation, including the Business Innovation Survey, 2014-2016, the Agricultural Business Innovation Survey, 2016-2018, and the Baseline Survey of Innovation in the Informal Economy 2018
  • Reflect 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 explore using evidence how South Africa’s NSI is geared towards inclusive and sustainable development
  • In 2020, we invite thought leaders and decision-makers from business, government, higher education, industry and civil society to consider their experiences and challenges, to highlight critical issues for measurement and policy-making going forward.

Key questions

  • 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?

Event contacts

  • Rudzani Maila (rudzani.maila[at]dst.gov.za)
  • Gerard Ralphs (gralphs[at]hsrc.ac.za)

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