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Welcome to the National Commission for Research, Science and Technology.

Fostering Excellence through Knowledge and Innovation

"As we go forward, we will seek to be transactional in maintaining and strengthening the governance architecture, but we will also be transformational as we prepare the citizens for the new economy that requires the development of new parameters in education, innovation, and enterprise", - His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia

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Namibia's first Research and experimental Development survey 2015

29 Jan 2015

The R&D survey is an important initiative that the NCRST wishes to embark upon for 2015. Namibia has never produced STI indicators, a challenges faced by many other Africa Countries. In order to tackle this challenge, African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) adopted the Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) in 2005. As a result an initiative to develop science, technology and innovation indicators for African countries was launched in 2007 and Namibia joined this initiative in 2008.

 

By definition, Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. Basic criterion are presence of an appreciable element of novelty and the resolution of scientific and/or technological uncertainty.

 

What are R&D indicators and why it is important for Namibia?

 

R&D indicators are key measures of the level of research and experimental development activities of a country. These include employment and expenditure by private sector enterprises, government departments, government-owned trading entities, and universities and they represent quantitative means through which countries can observe and measure science and technology activities. Science and Technology indicators can accurately reflect status of S&T development and it roles and impact on social and economic development.

 

For Namibia to develop its economy and uplift the living standard of its citizens and be competitive in the global economy, we need to adjust our policies to the growing importance of STI. Our policies should be based on evidence of the current status of R&D activities in the country. We can use the current status to evaluate ourselves on how we are performing compared to other developing and developed. And that’s why it’s is important for Namibia to develop its own R&D measures /indicators that will:

 

1.      Inform policy makers of what policies and interventions to put in place in order to develop and grow our economy,

2.      Indicate how much effort have or are been made in R&D, both in human and capital resources,

3.      Inform and encourage organizations to improve their R&D management.

 

 

Measuring R&D remains important for at least three very powerful reason.

 

1.      The first critical measures is the impact of R&D in economic growth.

2.      One needs to know the magnitude of the inputs to R&D i.e personnel and expenditure as their focus in various sectors, industries, scientific fields and other categories in order to monitor and plan this activity.

3.      R&D statistics provide one type of indicator of technological change and are therefore important information for governments concerned with economic growth and productivity

4.      Advisors on science policy, industrial policy and even general economic and social policies use them extensively. R&D statistics are now an essential background element for many government programs and provide an important tool for evaluating them

5.      SECOND REASON for measuring R&D is an indirect one. The survey brings government closer to the other actors in the innovation system, specifically the business sector.

6.      The third is also indirect benefit in that the act of measuring R&D may encourage the surveyed organizations to improve their management of R&D.

 

What to expect from the R&D survey 2015.

 

From the R&D survey 2015, we expect to get some data that can be used to produce internationally comparable Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) indicators for planning, benchmarking and evidence-based policy making processes.

 

Namibia envisions to transform from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy and science, technology and innovation (STI) activities are becoming increasingly important for social, economic and sustainable development. Nations that achieved this shift were able to do so by having advanced innovation systems.  Research and development plays an important role in the innovation system through investment in technology and future capabilities which are transformed into new products, processes and services. A robust research, Science, technology and innovation system requires sound and effective STI policy frameworks for research and innovation to drive economic development. The type of policies that could be development to stimulate research and technology development are for instance tax credits for specified innovation technologies. 

 

Many countries in the world and international organizations have been paying more attention to S&T indicators and using them as the basic tools of scientific decision making and policy analysis and  many countries at this point in time are offering tax incentives to encourage research and development efforts leading to increased domestic business growth.

 

The R&D survey, what is involved

 

Collecting of data on Science and Technology has been taking place over the past 60 years and as result international approved standards and guidelines has been developed called the Frascati Manual which has become standard for R&D survey worldwide. The manual outlines the methodology to measures R&D and defines which activities should be considered R&D and which should not. African Intergovernmental Committee on STI Indicators adopted the Frascati manuals for use in surveying R&D activities in Africa.

 

According to Frascati manual, R&D is performed in four sectors: government, business enterprises, and higher education and not-for-profit organizations and is funded by the four performing sectors plus Abroad (foreign funds).

 

The main categories of data that will be collected is on

ü  Financial resources invested in R&D

ü  Human resources devoted to R&D

ü  Main indicator the Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD)

 

What NCRST has done so far?

NCRST has started the ground works on compiling Research and development indicators for 2015. Training workshops were conducted in August and December 2014 in collaboration with NEPAD/ the African Union for Science and Technology Initiative (ASTII) whose goal is to contribute to improving the quality of STI policies at national, regional and continental levels by strengthening Africa’s capacity to develop and use STI indicator.

 

The aim of the workshops were to impart skills for conducting R & D and Innovation surveys among government officials dealing with scientific research and innovation programmatic activities and experts who are actively involved in STI matters and national surveys (National Statistical Agency and other National Statistical Organisations) in Namibia. NCRST has also started the process of stakeholders mapping to establish a national register of R&D performing units in Namibia.

 

The R&D survey is a joint collaboration between NCRST and the National Statistic Agencies(NSA) and a memoraduim of undertanding was signed between the two institutions, where both parties recognised the importance of understanding Research &development and Innovation surveys to produce the data needed to compile indicators on the status of science Technology and innovation in Namibia.

 

Planned activities

In order to effectively collect qualitative and quality data to measure R&D status in Namibia, a number of stakeholder workshops are planned for early March and April 2015. The workshop aimed to train interviewees (R&D performing units in organisation/institutions/offices/ministries or agencies (MOAs)) who will participate in the survey on the survey instruments, procedures and type of data to be collects for R&D indicators.  

 

The NCRST envisage to release a National report on STI statistics/indicators in September 2015