The value of a 'fixed' mandate for the knowledge commons: a history of the HSRC's role in R&D and innovation measurement (1966-2018)

SOURCE: Society, research and power: a history of the Human Sciences Research Council from 1929-2019
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2021
TITLE AUTHOR(S): G.Kruss, G.Ralphs
SOURCE EDITOR(S): C.Soudien, S.Swartz, G.Houston
KEYWORDS: HISTORY, HUMAN SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL, INNOVATION, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (R&D)
DEPARTMENT: Center for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CESTII)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11940
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/15976
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/15976

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Abstract

This chapter traces the history of the HSRC's experience in one specific knowledge field 'science, technology and innovation (STI) measurement to illuminate these tensions. The measurement of STI expenditure and performance in a knowledge- driven economy has become a critical task for government to assess its economic growth and development trajectory (Hall & Jaffe 2018). The task typically falls to national statistical agencies, line ministries, or specific purpose organisations (Kahn 2019: interview). In South Africa before 2000, the STI measurement system reflected the lack of coherence in the national system of innovation. Surveys were conducted by a range of research groups, with varying institutional locations and methodological orientations, with no steady public funding source to ensure that a longitudinal data series was maintained. Since 2001, when the HSRC was mandated to work with government to build the national capacity for STI measurement, it has contributed substantially to knowledge generation for wider scientific and policy use.