What we do

In this section

Core business

The Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) delivers statistical research and analysis on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology.

Our core business is to build a national database of R&D and innovation data that is compliant with international practices for the preparation of indicators and reports.

Included in its list of major national surveys are the:

  • South African National Survey on Research and Experimental Development; and the
  • South African Business Innovation Survey.

CeSTII also works on a wide range of special projects with national and international partners, such as the first-ever South African Survey of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer at Publicly Funded Research Institutions: Inaugural Baseline Study 2008-2014, and the African Innovation Outlook II.

Learn more about CeSTII’s reports.

The big picture

The establishment and growth of the CeSTII since 2001 reflects the global movement of economies towards a more knowledge-intensive orientation.

Indeed, the ability of organisations and economies to innovate, and the means that promote this capability, are central to their competitiveness and sustainability.

Research and experimental development (R&D) and innovation activities therefore need to be measured and monitored, so that the dynamics and patterns in terms of human resources, expenditure and focus areas in relation to economic growth can be tracked.

The work of the CeSTII in the areas of R&D and innovation surveys is recognised at the highest levels of government in South Africa. This recognition is given substance in the memorandum of understanding between DST and Statistics South Africa for the provision of official science and technology statistics within the National Statistical System.

Key research themes

  1. Measuring R&D capacity in South Africa

    The SA R&D Survey serves as one of the tools to enhance the STI indicator system for evidence-based policy making, through the provision of comprehensive R&D performance statistics. CeSTII maintains an extensive database of historic unit-level survey responses and, to date, has a repository of 14 completed R&D surveys. A major gap and opportunity for CeSTII, in this key research theme, is to undertake more advanced statistical analysis and modelling of the data, and to design complementary in-depth research, to engage with specific South African economic development and policy issues.

  2. Measuring innovation capacity in South African firms

    Improving the quality and extending the focus of business innovation measurement in South Africa is a key research area for CeSTII. In addition, CeSTII adds value to the work on measuring innovation in South African firms by further analysing the datasets it has collected, with the intention of addressing critical policy issues, and contributing to the academic literature from a South African perspective.

  3. New indicator development

    CeSTII is in the process of consolidating a set of existing and new projects under the theme of new indicator development. In particular, CeSTII proposes to grow a new research agenda over the next five years building from the concept of innovation for inclusive development (IID). 

Contact CeSTII to learn more about our current projects.

Quality assurance

South Africa’s R&D surveys are considered Official Statistics as defined by the Statistics Act No. 6 of 1999. CeSTII has been identified as a key source of quality statistical research, with its adherence to the South African Statistical Quality Assessment Framework (SASQAF) (Stats SA, 2010). Data are also submitted annually to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook.