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  • R&D Survey 2016/17 

R&D Survey 2016/17

The South African National Survey on Research and Experimental Development is a flagship annual project for CeSTII, which it performs on behalf of the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

Each year the survey reports the latest available data on R&D expenditure and performance across five sectors: higher education, science councils, government, business, and not-for-profit organisations.

Headline results 2016/17

Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) increased from 0.80% in 2015/16 to 0.82 in 2016/17.

The business sector remained the largest performer of R&D in 2016/17 (41.4% of GERD), followed by the higher education sector (32.7% of GERD), then science councils (17.2% of GERD), government (5.9% of GERD) and not-for-profit organisations (2.9% of GERD).

In Rand terms, expenditure on R&D by sector in 2016/17 was recorded as: business (R14.781 billion), higher education (R11.659 billion), science councils (R6.136 billion), government (R2.099 billion) and not-for-profit organisations (R1.018 billion).

Government provided the most funding for R&D in South Africa in 2016/17, notably R16.428 billion in 2016/17, representing 46.0% of total R&D funding.

The business sector contributed R14.046 billion to R&D in South Africa, or 39.4% of total R&D funding.

Foreign sources of R&D funding comprised R4.171 billion of total R&D funding or 11.7%.

Expenditure on applied research increased slightly to 47.8% of GERD in 2016/17 from 47.5% of GERD in 2015/16.Expenditure on basic research also increased from 24.5% in GERD in 2015/16 to 26.7% in 2016/17 and expenditure on experimental development decreased from 27.1% in 2015/16 to 25.5% in 2016/17.

In terms of R&D personnel, the total headcount grew by 6.8%, from 74 931 in 2015/16 to 80 029 in 2016/17.