The CSIR is committed to developing the skills needed to drive scientific excellence, authority and transformation in the South African science community. Through our innovative approach towards human capital development (HCD) we are building a responsive and agile organisation – and with it, a world-class scientific profile for our country. This is in line with the skills revolution required to increase the current number of 31 000 researchers to 98 000 in the next five to 10 years.
* Improving the quality and quantity of science, engineering and technology (SET) skills is an international, national and organisational imperative. The CSIR’s HCD strategy not only strengthens its own science and technology (S&T) core, but will also establish a learning hub for African scientists and grow the expertise and reputation of researchers in South Africa.
* Inadequate human resources and limited learning opportunities have led to an ageing S&T sector in which qualified young talent is not retained or properly nurtured. By developing leadership, excellence and a solid reputation for transformation, the CSIR will boost its agility within the National System of Innovation (NSI) and a key role player in the national context.
Development opportunities and programmes
The CSIR has several development programmes to ensure that rich, ongoing learning opportunities are an integral part of day-to-day work practices. The capacity developed within the CSIR will contribute to the development of a national pool of SET expertise. Providing career development opportunities for science researchers and creating a vibrant research culture are thus of paramount importance. These include:
This programme provides financial support for tertiary students with a view to permanent employment at the CSIR upon completion of the bursary programme. Undergraduate and postgraduate studies are included, as well as mentoring and vacation work at the CSIR. This programme aims to build scientific research capacity and provide a pool of professional researchers from which the CSIR can recruit permanent staff.
The internship programme provides full-time employment at the CSIR for new graduates, allowing them to grow core research and professional skills under the guidance of more experienced professionals. This programme aims to make graduates more employable while also opening the door to permanent employment at the CSIR.
This programme provides funding for selected graduates to obtain qualifications based on the research work done at the CSIR, as part of their employment. By combining theory and practical work, the programme enables the CSIR to boost research output and capacity, while allowing individuals to improve their qualifications.
Research professionals development programme
This entails a series of structured learning initiatives for CSIR-employed researchers, ranging from conferences, mentoring and exchange programmes through to formal studies, sabbaticals and leadership training. It specifically aims to promote the number of previously disadvantaged SET employees to the higher end of the career ladder.
This programme provides SET staff with the opportunity to exchange places with a researcher in another organisation, locally or abroad. It facilitates the exchange of ideas and knowledge and builds relationships between research teams and facilities, keeping the CSIR research fraternity abreast of cutting-edge skills.
This gives providesresearchers the opportunity to take up to six months as paid leave to further their research or explore new knowledge that will enrich the existing SET knowledge base. It rewards high-level, dedicated researchers, encourages professional growth and helps to retain them within the organisation.
This programme provides funding for graduates to conduct research or work with recognised experts in their field. It enables postdoctoral fellows to broaden their knowledge while strengthening the organisation’s pool of higher-end specialist skills. It aims to narrow the gap between academic and professional research work, and to instil long-term commitment and loyalty to the CSIR as ‘the preferred’ organisation for SET professionals.