The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
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The CSIR in South Africa performs multidisciplinary research and technological innovation with the aim of contributing to industrial development and the quality of life of people of this country -- and increasingly on the wider continent. We employ people who are experts in their fields and passionate about creating a better future through science.
Who are we?
Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945, the CSIR is one of the leading science and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. The CSIR’s main site is in Pretoria, while it is represented in other provinces of South
Africa through regional offices.
Core focus on science
The CSIR transfers the knowledge generated through research activities by means of technology and skilled people. The generation and application of knowledge reside at the core of the CSIR. This takes place in domains such as biosciences; the built environment; defence, peace, safety and security; materials science and manufacturing; and natural resources and the environment.
Emerging research areas:
These are areas of science, explored by the CSIR, that could be unique to local circumstances or successful internationally and need to be established for local competitiveness. Examples include nanotechnology, synthetic biology and mobile autonomous intelligent systems.
National research centres:
The CSIR houses specialist facilities of strategic importance for African science. These include information and communications technologies; laser technology; and space-related technology.
Activities include intellectual property (IP) management, technology transfer (for commercial gain as well as for social good), knowledge dissemination and impact assessment.
Consulting and analytical services:
The CSIR has a group of facilities that manages standard technology-based services. The experts in this group utilise the value of CSIR knowledge application activities by providing specialised consulting, analysis and testing services to address the needs of clients. Services include forensic fire investigations, food and beverage analysis, environmental testing, engineering forensics, wire rope testing, mechanical testing, fires and explosion tests, sports technology and analysis, and project management.
Supporting national imperatives
South Africa’s national imperatives and global challenges provide the macrostrategic framework within which the CSIR conducts its research. In an effort to contribute to placing our continent on a path of sustainable growth and development, the organisation supports and actively participates in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
The CSIR contributes to the national programme of development by:
- Building and transforming human capital
- Strengthening the S&T base
- Performing relevant knowledge-generating research and transferring technology and skilled human capital.
How do we operate?
The CSIR receives an annual grant from Parliament, through the Department of Science and Technology (DST), which accounts for close to 40% of its total income. The remainder is generated from research contracts with government departments at national, provincial and municipal levels, the private sector and research funding agencies in South Africa and abroad. Additional income is derived from royalties, licences and dividends from IP management and commercial companies created by the CSIR. The parliamentary grant is focused on the knowledge base and facilities in the CSIR to ensure these stay at the leading edge of technological development. It is invested in developing new areas of expertise, undertaking ‘pre-competitive’ research too risky for the private sector to fund and for training young researchers. The CSIR’s shareholder is the South African Parliament, held in proxy by the Minister of Science and Technology.
The CSIR has clients in both the private sector (micro, small, medium and large enterprises; formal and informal), as well as in the public sector (national, provincial and local government). The organisation also deals with public enterprises and institutions,
national safety and security establishments, and development structures. Regionally and abroad, the CSIR fosters partnerships and a network of clients and partner organisations as part of a global sphere of influence on matters of technology. The CSIR liaises
closely with tertiary education institutions. With a strong emphasis on relevant and developmental work, it also has strong roots
in various communities, and collaborates with a wide range of donors and funding agencies.