The basic sciences are the building blocks for applied science and technology — and training schools for the PhD-level researchers required for a knowledge-intense, innovation-driven economy. In recent years the Department of Science and Technology has invested significantly in a wide range of technology development initiatives, including biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, battery technologies and nanotechnology. Success in many of these initiatives has given rise to a concern that the department may be prioritising applied sciences over the basic ones, to the long-term detriment of science in SA. These fears are not consistent with the evidence. Between 2010-11 and 2018-19, the department’s budget increased by 88.7%, but that of the National Research Foundation — the department’s major conduit for investment in basic science and research — increased by 152%. The proportion of the department’s budget allocated to the foundation increased from 35% to 47% over this period. In prop...

Subscribe now to unlock this article.

Support BusinessLIVE’s award-winning journalism for R129 per month (digital access only).

There’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in SA. Our subscription packages now offer an ad-free experience for readers.

Cancel anytime.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.