Science needs more SA investment

2012-05-22 14:03
Cape Town - Science research in South Africa needs an urgent cash injection to increase capacity and deliver effective research, particularly for a developing country, an HSRC researcher at the Cesti programme has said.

The Cesti programme is tasked with the measurement of science and technology indicators through DST mandate and researchers primarily use the Gerd indicator (Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D) to determine the state of science research.

"Our main headline indicator is Gerd as a percentage of GDP which currently stands at the 2008/9 figure of 0.92. We're expected a new result very soon; I can't tell you the figure because it's not official as yet," Dr Neo Molotsha operations manager of the Centre for Science Technology Indicators (Cesti) programme at the HSRC told News24.

Developed countries like Finland, Sweden, Japan and South Korea have a Gerd of around 3%, while in a developing country like SA, the percentage is much lower.

"Our R&D intensity is very low. In the developed countries, they are basing themselves at around 3% of GDP," Molotsha said.

Investment

She said that the country's low figure wasn't acceptable for the country because it's a developing economy.

Science research is often more urgent in developing countries to help diffuse challenges that hamper development and progress on Millennium Development Goals.

Molotsha urged the government to dramatically increase the level of investment into science research from just 1%, saying that the country lacked the people to conduct science research.

"At these levels, no. Above 2% for developing countries, yes. Below 1% is unacceptable, we should be way above that, but we need personnel, we need researchers to be able to do that. I think that's where we are lacking."

One of the problems in science research is a relatively small number of students who graduate from school with mathematics and physical science as well as the percentage of those students who choose to study the science at university.

Although 70.2% students out of a total of 496 090 passed matric in 2011, only 24.3% obtained a university entrance.

"We have to start at the primary level. We have few matriculants doing maths and science; getting into university, but when they get there, they go to several fields - they go to management - and we have a small pool remaining as researchers, and that is the problem in this country," said Molotsha.

Skills

Science fields have become particularly important as the government pushes to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope in the Northern Cape province.

The massive €1.5bn project will demand a mass of engineering skills to build and maintain the estimated 3 000 instruments, and Molotsha said that a lack of local skills would lead to the government being forced to import critical skills from other countries.

"I would think they have plans in place for a project like that. And if they don't have enough researchers in place, then they will actually import so they can build capacity within the country."


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
 
- News24
Read more on:    hsrc  |  ska  |  science
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.