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DST Human Capital Development Initiatives. P Matutu & T Auf der Heyde PPC briefing 10 September 2014. Presentation outline. HCD Landscape: Institutional context HCD Landscape: Policy framework HCD Systemic challenges DST HCD Interventions: Established researchers Emerging researchers

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DST Human Capital Development Initiatives

P Matutu & T Auf der Heyde

PPC briefing

10 September 2014


Presentation outline

  • HCD Landscape: Institutional context
  • HCD Landscape: Policy framework
  • HCD Systemic challenges
  • DST HCD Interventions:
    • Established researchers
    • Emerging researchers
    • Post-graduate students
  • Science promotion
  • Conclusion
human capital development hcd landscape institutional context
Human Capital Development (HCD) landscape: Institutional context
  • DBE: responsible for basic education (over R205 billion including provinces; 25,826 schools, 11,932,881m learners)
  • DHET: responsible for Higher Education (over R30 billion for universities; 25 universities; 972,000 students)
  • DST: responsible for research development and support, and innovation across the national system of innovation (R6.5 billion; 720,000 learners, 9,771 students)
hcd landscape national policy framework
HCD landscape:National policy framework
  • National Development Plan (NDP) ... by 2030
    • produce more than 100 doctoral graduates per million of the population (increase the number of Africans and women);
    • produce an additional 100,000 PhDs;
    • at least 75% of academics with doctoral degrees;
    • acknowledges the importance of hosting science expositions as a way of stimulating interest in science among young people.
  • Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF)
    • will implement the first five-year of the three phases of the NDP
    • the DST contributes to Outcome (5):a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path

HCD landscape:

DST policy framework

  • National Research and Development Strategy (2002):
    • Human Capital Development,
    • investment in S&T infrastructure,
    • knowledge generation,
    • strategic management of the public S&T system, and
    • "centres and networks" of excellence
  • Ten Year Innovation Plan
hcd systemic challenges
HCD systemic challenges
  • Supervisory capacity to improve postgraduate completion rates (38.6% of academic staff with PhDs).
  • Low bursary values resulting in low progression ratios (from Bachelors to Honours to Masters to PhD) and high demographic drop-off.
  • Poor demographic representation at established researcher levels.
  • Small science system (currently producing 34 PhDs per million population, GERD as percentage of GDP less than 1%).
hcd systemic challenges1
HCD systemic challenges
  • High attrition rates (e.g. 2001 PhD cohort):
    • 46% enrolled never completed degree
    • 29% dropped out in first two years
    • 36% drop-out in natural sciences, 53% in humanities
  • Low bursary values (e.g. 2013/14)
dst hcd interventions
DST HCD Interventions

Established researcher level

Next-generation level

Emerging researcher level

Science Promotion


hcd conceptual framework

HCD Conceptual


Next Generation






Postgraduate Bursaries

Workplace Readiness






HCD conceptual framework
Established researchers:Black male/female permanent instruction staff as a proportion of total (nationally)
established researchers flagship initiatives
Established researchers:Flagship initiatives
  • The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI)
  • The Centres of Excellence (CoE) Programme

Established researchers:


  • Intended to expand and renew the SA scientific research base.
  • Address historical racial, gender and age imbalances.
  • Align with socio-economic development priorities.
  • Increase number of world class researchers in SA.
    • Awarded chairs 149.
    • Next call for at least 20 chairs:
    • Black or female candidates will be prioritised, and international candidates
    • Two or three will be co-funded with industry.
established researchers sarchi funded students
Established researchers:SARChI-funded students
  • In 2013, research chairs supervised a total of 1612 students
    • 662 funded through SARChI
    • 950 funded through external funds.
established researchers coes
Established researchers: CoEs
  • Physical or virtual centres of research which enable collaboration across disciplines and institutions;
  • Student training environments;
  • Conducting locally and internationally relevant competitive research; and
  • CoEs
    • Established CoEs = 14
established researchers conclusion
Established researchers: Conclusion
  • The DST interventions (CoEs and SARChI) are yielding results in terms of the expansion of the supervisory capacity of the science system,
  • A number of organisations are sponsoring chairs outside the DST/NRF system and universities are adding full professors trying to emulate the SARChI example,
  • The initiatives are gradually succeeding in improving the race and gender inequity among the students supervised, and
  • Additional investments in these initiatives would be essential to further expand the system while concomitantly improving student representation.
emerging researchers initiatives
Emerging researchers: Initiatives
  • DST/NRF interventions (2014/15)
    • Postdoc programme (+/- R100m)
    • Thuthuka programme (+/- R50m)
    • Competitive funding for unrated researchers (+/- R22m)
    • Research career advancement fellowship programme
emerging researchers conclusions
Emerging researchers: conclusions
  • While significant investments were made in this category by the DST, it has not led to significant growth in numbers of supported researchers, but in the growth of average grant.
  • In terms of equity, consistent growths have been in the proportion of white women, while proportional representation for blacks and black women fluctuates.
  • Careful implementation of these programmes is necessary to improve black (particularly black women) participation.
post graduate students conclusions
Post-graduate students: Conclusions
  • Over the past five years government has supported at least 34,030 postgraduate students (5,131 in 2009/10 to 9,771 in 2013/14), with more than doubling of the financial investments from R194.77 million to R541.18 million, during this period.
  • In terms of black representation significant improvements have been made over the past 6 years.
  • In terms of women the targeted proportional representation is close to being reached at masters and doctoral levels.
science promotion school level interventions 2014 to 2019
Science promotion:school level interventions (2014 to 2019)
  • In February 2014, the DST adopted the “Framework for the DST’s activities in support of basic education” (2014-2019).
  • The Framework supports basic education through:
    • Promotion of public engagement with science
    • Enhancing effective teaching and learning environment through technology and educational research
  • The science engagement programme comprises an established portfolio of activities, which in many ways:
    • complement the objective of the National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education; and
    • generally contribute to teaching and learning of mathematics and science.
science promotion national science week
Science promotion:National Science Week
  • Contributing to increased learners’ participation in mathematics and science
    • Activities like the annual National Science Week (NSW), science festivals and science centre-based science awareness exhibits stimulate learners’ interest in mathematics and science, which enhances the DBE’s intentions to increase learners’ participation in these learning areas.
    • Up to 70% of about 700,000 participants in the NSW and festivals were learners, mainly in the FET band.
    • Up to 65% of the 1.6 million visitors to science centres in 2013 were learners (GET and FET combined).
science promotion science centres
Science promotion:Science Centres
  • Science centre-based support
    • In addition to pure science awareness exhibits, science centres have hands-on exhibits that are linked to curriculum concepts across grades.
    • Of the 33 science centres supported by the DST:
      • 27% have fully equipped science laboratories, assisting learners from under-resourced schools with experiments.
      • 42% have mobile laboratories, conducting scheduled school visits to assist with experiments.
      • 12% collaborated with their provincial departments of Education in the delivery of teacher in-service training in the 2013 academic year.
      • Up to 90% annually conduct supplementary tuition and/or exam preparatory sessions in Mathematics and Physical Science.
olympiads and competitions
Olympiads and competitions
  • STEMI Olympiads and competitions
    • STEMI Olympiads and related competitions create an opportunity for learners to apply and refine knowledge gained from formal classroom learning and teaching.
    • The DST supports 8 STEMI Olympiads and related competitions, which collectively contributed to 28% of the just above 1 million people who participated in the DST-supported science engagement programme in the 2013/14 financial year.
  • SET career awareness
    • DST campaign on SET careers include profiling mathematics and science teaching.
      • 10,000 copies of SET career booklet to be distributed in the 2014/15 financial year.
      • First SET career workshop on the SET career booklet involving about 60 subject advisers of Limpopo happening during the NSW 2014 in Limpopo.
  • More resources are required to grow the established researcher initiatives and increase the values of average grants.
  • More funds will be invested in the post-graduate category, but tighter monitoring of demographics and completion rates will be essential.
  • Graduated PhDs need to be tracked to establish level of retention in system.
  • Strategy documents, legislation, and more funds will be required to improve science promotion initiatives.



Thank you