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The changing role of public research institutes in South Africa: A report to the NRF

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Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

Person/s author/s:

Tele, Azinga; Haupt, Genevieve; Nyoka, Bongani; Kruss, Glenda; Ranchod, Rushil; Diwu, Christopher


research report



The research reported on here will contribute one complementary component to a multifaceted research agenda focused on problematising the developmental role of universities and public research institutes in the national system of innovation in South Africa, and comparatively, in African contexts. A set of interlocking projects has been designed to map the nature of organisations and scientists' interaction with external partners - whether firms, government agencies or based in civil society - to study existing ways in which knowledge is transferred, disseminated and utilised. The organisational conditions in distinct types of university or public research institute that support and promote such interaction in the specific policy and contextual settings of each country is a key focus. The research agenda has two strategic goals: 1. To promote policy dialogue towards an integrated vision of higher education and public research institute contribution to economic and social development, through interaction with and to the benefit of, the private sector, the public sector and social organizations 2. To develop conceptual frameworks and empirical methodologies to investigate innovation and interaction between knowledge producers and users, particularly communities and social partners, in sub-Saharan African contexts.

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