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
 

Read more on:    hsrc  |  ska  |  science
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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

 
 

Who won? Let the News24 App notify you!

Not only can you stay up to date with the latest elections news, you can also get notification of results during the results phase with our easy-to-use app.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Somerset West - 15:38 PM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Somerset West (weekend holiday volumes)
  • Thursday Newlands - 15:36 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Woolsack Drive and Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop 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

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...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.