SA R&D expenditure dropped to 0.76% of GDP in 2010/11

The Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in December 2013 released the South African National R&D Survey for 2010/11.

Whilst the information is a bit outdated, it still makes for interesting reading. A few of the interesting trends to note:

GERD (Gross Expenditure on R&D) dropped to 0.76% of GDP in 2010/11 (from 0.87% in 2009/10), continuing the downward trend of the previous few years. Interesting to note that the major reason for this was significantly decreased expenditure by business on R&D, whilst government expenditure was sustained and actually increased slightly. The decrease in business expenditure seems to have been directly linked to the recession.
Similarly, there was a significant decrease in total researchers (from 59 494 to 55 531) from 2009/10 to 2010/11, likely due to the recession. The demographics of researchers have been shifting (data is given for 2006 to 2011) towards better representivity, but is happening relatively slowly (which could in part have been due to the recession and shrinking researcher base, which makes it difficult to transform demographics). Black researchers (excluding postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students) increased from 33.6% in 2006/07 to 41.5% in 2010/11.
One encouraging trend to note is the sustained increase in postgraduate student numbers, accompanied by changing demographics. This should translate into improved ability for CSIR and other R&D organisations to recruit quality students and researchers.
In 2010/11, more than 50% of R&D expenditure was incurred in the Gauteng Province (51.1%).
South Africa was/is doing relatively well compared to other countries in terms of gender equity, with female researchers at 41% of total researchers.
You can read more about the report here.

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