Producing knowledge to raise rural living standards: how universities connect with resource-poor municipalities in South Africa
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This article explores the extent to which South African universities partake in science and innovations designed to uplift raise the living standards of poor rural residents. It concentrates on how well universities have fulfilled their knowledge-production for societal benefit missions in practice, through a comparison of the performance of universities across three relevant initiatives. It contributes to the existing research by show casing how user-oriented innovation value chains operate and the crucial roles of stakeholders along such chains to optimise benefits for people in resource-poor rural municipalities. Our findings suggest that the science-for-society value chain is non-linear, rather than a straight line as presumed by much of the existing research. As the government department leading South Africa's innovation policy, the Department of Science and Technology has been instrumental in fostering a user-oriented mission among knowledge producers.