Aug 01, 2012
Limited discretionary budget a concern for CSIRBack
Engineering|Africa|Industrial|Africa|South Africa|Product|Service|Sibusiso Sibisi
© Reuse this
“Our discretionary income from the public purse is now quite small, and in recent years has not grown much above inflation levels,” pointed out CSIR CEO Dr Sibusiso Sibisi to Engineering News Online. “It would be welcome if our discretionary component were to grow at a level above inflation.
“It allows us to do high-risk research, to maintain our existing capabilities and to develop new capabilities that will be required to address future challenges,” he explained.
“At the moment, we run the risk, as the discretionary budget declines, of becoming just a contract researcher, and not doing any proactive research that is required to address current and future challenges.
“We need the discretionary budget to continue to increase, so that we can continue to do the work that is not short term,” Sibisi stressed.
“The CSIR risks becoming a technology house focusing solely on service delivery. This [service delivery] is important, but the long term is also important. There is no other way to finance this [long-term research] except through the discretionary budget.”
Another concern is the need to be able to develop long-term budgets. “It’s not just how much money we have, but the predictability about it. Some things are long term, like the development of new drugs,” he highlighted. “We must be able to do ten-year planning, not three-year medium-term budgets.”
“While in South Africa we do have reasonable predictability, we need longer-term predictability, especially in the biosciences where the realisation of the potential cutting edge technologies requires committed long-term investment,” he elucidated. “We need to give ourselves at least ten years to develop a product and fund it for those ten years. We’d review it periodically, of course, and ask hard questions on how it was going. But we’re not quite there, yet.”
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Science and Technology News
Article contains comments
Updated 3 hours ago Western Cape entrepreneurs had just four days before applications closed to secure cash injections of at least R10-million by pitching their business ideas to major funding bodies at the Western Cape Funding Fair – the province’s own “Dragon’s Den”. The deadline for...
Updated 4 hours ago National carrier South African Airways (SAA) is deploying a locally developed satellite payment system, which is also able to track the aircraft anywhere in the world, across its fleet of airliners. The system, developed by satellite authentication company SatAuth,...
Updated 4 hours ago Financial services provider Stanlib aims to channel the bulk of a R1.2-billion infrastructure equity fund into some of the infrastructure projects under way in South Africa, with a particular focus on renewable energy. Stanlib on Tuesday said the fund, which would...
Recent Research Reports
This Week's Magazine
Three-dimensional (3D) printers being sold in South Africa by electronics distributor Rectron currently print in two types of plastic, but have a clear upgrade path over the next five years to eventually print in wood, ceramics and metal-alloy materials, says Rectron...
The world’s two dominant commercial aircraft manufacturers, Airbus of Europe and Boeing of the US, both recently announced that they had made record aircraft deliveries in 2014. Boeing set a global record for the industry with 723 commercial aircraft delivered, while...
The Western Cape is shifting further into the renewable-energy space with the official opening of a factory specialising in solar inverters, a key component of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The investment in the manufacturing facility in Cape Town aims to boost the...
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) last month welcomed Cabinet’s establishment of a technical team war room to undertake various interventions to improve electricity supply security over the short- and medium-term, but added that the private sector also had a...
Despite a rapid rise in mobile connections and the economic and social benefits of such connectivity, more than half of the world ended 2014 unconnected. For this reason, industry commentators believe the biggest impact of mobile technology is still to come –...