The CSIR helps address the continent’s development challenges and supports higher education institutions and various research and technology organisations in photonics science and technology. The National Programmes portfolio hosts four programmes, namely the African Laser Centre, the Rental Pool Programme, the Collaborative Programme in Additive Manufacturing and the Photonics Initiative of South Africa (PISA).
The African National Laser Centre
The African Laser Centre (ALC) is a New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) flagship initiative and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through its Africa Multilateral Cooperation programme. The ALC was launched at the Ministerial NEPAD summit in Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2003. It is a virtual organisation, bringing together researchers from across Africa in the field of lasers and spectroscopy. The organisation was started as a fledgling programme within the CSIR National Laser Centre and is aimed at encouraging research collaborations between African researchers, and facilitating researcher and student exchanges between African institutes. The ALC supports research collaborations, scholarships and training.
Rental Pool Programme
The Rental Pool programme is an equipment support programme that supports research and development in laser and laser-based applications in the natural, engineering and health science fields. This programme’s mandate is to encourage research and collaborations between research groups at universities and science councils. The fund allows access to equipment for use at the host institution of applicants as well as access to equipment housed at CSIR facilities.
The Collaborative Programme in Additive Manufacturing
The Collaborative Program in Additive Manufacturing (CPAM) is the implementation programme for the South African Additive Manufacturing strategy, which was formally adopted by the Department of Science and Technology. This programme aims to increase the manufacturing readiness of additive manufacturing, which will lead to the adoption and utilisation of additive manufacturing as an accepted and viable manufacturing technology. The programme focuses on research, development and innovation support for additive manufacturing of titanium medical implants and aerospace components, polymer additive manufacturing and design for additive manufacturing.
The Photonics Initiative of South Africa
The Photonics Initiative of South Africa (PISA) aims to position South Africa as a globally competitive player in photonics.
The Department of Science and Technology tasked the CSIR with the implementation of the PISA programme. At present, PISA is funding a number of research and development projects, aligned with the strategic focus areas and the key themes articulated in the strategy. The strategic objectives of PISA are to:
- Develop human capital to grow the photonics research community;
- Ensure that the local photonics industry has sufficient human capital at all levels for its sustainability;
- Build world-renowned research groups of excellence in identified focus areas;
- Develop and transfer technologies that will contribute towards stimulating a vibrant photonics industry and address South Africa’s socio-economic challenges;
- Implement a coordinated national agenda to support the growth and development of photonics in South Africa; and
- Stimulate the creation of a photonics industry.